On Saturday night I was sitting with a few girls from the program, sharing a beer tower and huddling under blankets at a sidewalk cafe, as one does in Bosnia when it is 50 degrees at the end of June. We talked for a minute with the director of one of the NGOs that our group is interning with, and he asked how we were liking Sarajevo. I answered immediately that I loved it, and he immediately asked me why.
If I had thought about it a little more, I could have listed some tangible reasons why I love Sarajevo – I love the food I’ve eaten here, and I love the work I’m doing at my internship, and the hills are beautiful, and the people I’m with are wonderful. But what I really love most about Sarajevo is the way I feel when I’m here.
One of the things I’m most thankful for in my life to date is the opportunity I’ve had to travel. I’ve visited a lot of places, and I’m always eager to talk about those places when people ask me about them. I always stumble over my answer for what I love about a place. I loved Florence because of the meal we ate our first night, the first time I ever ate eggplant parmesan. I loved Berlin because of the friends I made there. I hated Vienna because it rained the whole time. I loved Albuquerque because the sky looked like an inverted bowl.
When I think about a place I’ve visited, these first impressions are what stick out in my memory. They color my whole experience. As I’m starting to process my memories of my first weeks in Sarajevo, I focus on the little things that make up a life – the call to prayer from the mosque across from my office, Turkish delight with my coffee, beer at the Goldfish, laughing and laughing with everyone in the evenings. These are the things I’ll remember most vividly when this trip is over and this blog is defunct. These are my favorite things about Sarajevo.