Sorry this is a day late, I was spending some time away from beautiful Sarajevo this past weekend while my family came to visit from across the pond. I have to say,it was an un-acknowledged but absolutely necessary break from reality. Some say that in order to gather a better perspective, one must step back and take a look from the outside, which describes what getting away from the city was for me; it was a time to gather perspective in coordination with reality.
Immediately stepping off the plane, having never been to Europe or anywhere for that matter, I found Sarajevo difficult to compare to other experiences. In my day I have been to many places within the United States,48 states to be exact. Upon arriving in Sarajevo, I found myself thinking about how much I had Actually seen. The solemn conclusion I made was ‘wow, I’ve seen a whole bunch of pools,’ as most of my travel has been for swimming. Well that was depressing.
So, when I finally came to Sarajevo, it was one of the first times I had really ever SEEN a place. On a daily basis we are exposed to a cultural portrait made up of an intense multifaceted society, carved out by years upon years or history. Take all that and drape a sheet of white gauze over it representing a layer that covers a beautiful portrait, a layer that is the war. Overbearing the vast array of cultural diffusion and ambiance lies the slightly transparent sheet of the war. Everywhere you look there is an image of war. Whether it be a bullet hole, a Sarajevo rose,a damaged building, or the depth in a pair of eyes disheartened and torn, the war remains prominent.
Now what does this have to do with the first thing? Of course I knew that Sarajevo would be different places, but I did not truly know the extent that the war still had an effect of the persona of a country and it’s patrons, until I was exposed to other parts of such a different world than I have ever seen. I noticed how Sarajevo has a sense of…sadness, looming over like an umbrella covering the sun. The people, so resilient and strong, live day by day as they are constantly exposed to the war and memories of it. While I spent time in Herzegovina, Dubrovnik, and Montenegro I was able to compare the people and atmospheres to that of Sarajevo an there is something truly unique and beautiful significant to Sarajevo that is not anywhere else. I had been feeling down, without knowing exactly why and perhaps it was an untapped understanding of the heavy burden worn by the members of my home for the past month. And I must say, Sarajevo has an atmosphere unlike anywhere else that I feel more prepared to see, relish, ad understand now that I have been able to observe a few other places outside of my home in the United States. Already i have been able to share my experience in Sarajevo with strangers on the bus and as I write this note, the song ‘Home Again’ by Michael Kiwanuka comes on my iPod. All the while I sit and enjoy the Bosnian countryside on the outskirts of Sarajevo, and I know that this wonderful city, culture, and story has already carved an important place in my heart.
Sent from my iPhone