When it comes to perspectives I sometimes feel that mine is split. It is split as an American and as a Latina, being bicultural may be different but to me, more often than not, they go together quite well. It is not something that I felt made me anything special due the fact that I don’t think of myself as any different from any other American. When I came to Bosnia, my perspectives have been certainly widened. I suddenly became almost a representative of America and not only that but of my own Panamanian heritage. Yet, I did come to Bosnia with an american mindset and lens and I just try to absorb everything I can and get everything done. I feel the lens is dissolving the more I stay. The values of social relationships are far greater than getting everything done at once, much like the values I grew up with at home. It was pointed out to me at my internship that I made a comment of not wanting to appear lazy and I was told that is not a good mindset. It is a mindset of not really enjoying life. This made me reflect that I came in as an outsider looking into the pool and jumping in without knowing how deep it was. Rather than kicking and panicking I need to learn to relax and everything will be just fine.
My previous perspective and expectations of Bosnia are quite different from the reality of living here in this beautiful city. No amount of preparation and reading could ever really ever prepare you for the immediately welcome and the joy the people share and the beauty that surrounds when you walk out the door. After talking to people, I realized there is still a sadness that is subtle. It can almost be felt but it is mixed with hope of the future. There is also the unexpected curiosity as I talk to people mainly due to the fact that I am from Colorado, I am not the stereotypical american face and my name is Sasha not Alexandra. I realize that to many Bosnians I am a mix that is not seen everyday. My name is Russian, my roots are latin american, my middle name is french and I am American. If I were in their shoes I would be curious too. When I became an english teacher, a first in my life, I am now very much aware of how I speak and the speed of which I tell a story or explain something. It is almost like learning english all over again. You are never aware of how confusing something is until you have to explain it. I have also learned the Bosnia that was not in history books and the current events not covered. The more I stay the more perspectives I will gain and the more I will learn not only about Bosnia and its people but also myself.