The Costco Kid Does Bosnia


I’m not doing my best coordinating this morning.  First, it is Tuesday morning and I am just sitting down to try and coalesce my thoughts this past week, also still in my pjs.  Second, I am feeling a little punky (not sure if anyone is familiar with this term, a good friend of our family shared it with me when talking about feeling not quite yourself—could be sad, tired, disappointed, physically ill, etc.)


Oddly, I’ve been acutely aware recently of our groups’ relationships with their families.  Some sound super frustrated or pissed when talking to their families.  Some get serenaded with sweet songs from their families.  Others don’t have much interaction with their families.  Some laugh heartily with their families when on Skype.  And last night I saw Kareem suck his teeth and roll his eyes like a young child at something Naiad had said.  Maybe family dynamics have some universal component or common language we can all speak.


This is especially salient for me right now because the Costco kid and Aunt Sharon are in Bosnia right now.  I am doing my best to be open, allow them to experience the country and people in their own way, not set unrealistic and unfair expectations for the way they engage and listen to Ann when she says, “CALM DOWN MAM”.  I try, but am terrible at it.  Right now I’m frustrated, intolerant, and veering toward apathy.


I’ve come to realize that the Costco Kid can only do what he is capable of.  He can buy wine for Sunday dinner; he can put 100 km in the donation jar; he can take people out for dinner.  Most of the time I am completely ok with that, that’s the nature of our relationship.  However, there are those times in my life when I experience things deeply, when I need more than a new pair of shoes or a magnanimous gesture.  I need to engage and not talk about how hard the wood of the trees are or what the trash dumpsters are made of.


Maybe it’s just that I miss my mom.  My mom would have loved Bosnia.  This place and these people would have affected her deeply.  It seemed like a cruel irony that on the fourth anniversary of her death last week, when the Costco Kid and Aunt Sharon arrived, I was introducing them to the Bosnians we met as “moj tata” and “moj mama” (my father and my mother) because I couldn’t think of a way to explain girlfriend or stepmother in Bosnian.


The one thing I find great solace in is that all of our families are who are responsible for each individual on this trip.  No matter how you define family, biological family or family of choice, those are the people who have created the 14 unbelievable individuals I’ve come to know the past few weeks.  What a gift every one of you is to me.  I am overwhelmingly grateful for your families, for without them we all might never have found our way here and have all been on the dance floor last Friday night singing and shakin’ it, creating our own little Sarajevo family.


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