First impressions…I don’t think it’s possible to have a first impression that doesn’t involve the beauty of the city. Just flying into the airport gave an amazing scene of green hills and quaint homes. Even a few days in, as I look out the window and see the hillsides, I am still blown away by the look of Sarajevo. My favorite experiences thus far have been walking around and looking up. If the capital city is this beautiful, I can’t wait to get into the country itself to see more of the Bosnian landscape.
Not knowing the language hasn’t been as bad as I thought. While it would be nice to have conversations with more people (I would love to speak with the market vendors rather than just point), everyone is understanding and will help as best they can to ensure a smooth interaction. And speaking of the market, the food has been amazing. I knew it would be good, but the food has definitely exceeded my expectations. The simple salatas and bread/cheese combinations are delicious and refreshing and I plan on getting my fill in the coming weeks.
What has been most overwhelming as far as first impressions going is thinking about the books we’ve read and movies we’ve seen as we walk around the city. So much time was spent studying the siege and learning about the torrid history, that being in the midst of Sarajevo roses and bullet-ridden buildings is surreal. As I walk through intersections or alongside buildings, I am struck with the notions that I would either need to be running or feeling a reprieve of safety.
I am looking forward to the next eight weeks as we explore the city and the culture even more, as I know my first impressions will stay strong and I will build a more introspective appreciation for Bosnia, its people, and its history.