Our two week trip has come to an end, and I am sadly back home in the United States, returning to a “normal” schedule according to our standards. However, as I have processed the trip and thought about my time in Bosnia, I have been overwhelmed with my desire to change that schedule. My time in Bosnia taught me so many things. First and foremost, don’t rush! Things take time, and relationships are always going to be more important than trying to get everything on my list checked off. This is definitely not a skill that comes firsthand to me, but it is something I learned in Bosnia that I will treasure forever!
On the plane ride home, I caught myself dreading my return home. Of course there were people I was excited to see, and stories I have been dying to tell! But every minute that I spent getting further and further away from Bosnia, the more I felt as though I was leaving a very important part of myself behind. Bosnia has changed me! Bosnia welcomed me, an “Americanca” into their country, no questions asked, no attitude about my reasons for visiting. Instead, there was excitement! People treated us with such respect, kindness, and graciousness, it was impossible not to fall in love with everything around me! That is perhaps the thing about Bosnia I am going to miss the most! The utmost desire to always treat everyone with kindness. None of this American hustle and bustle that leaves people feeling rejected or unheard. No! Sit down and have a cup of coffee (or in my case, a Coca-Cola). Learn about their stories, develop a relationship, feel a connection… treasure every minute you have with the people you love because you never know when that instant might come that changes everything forever!
At the end of this two weeks, the most important thing I can think of to say is “Thank you Bosnia!” Thank you for creating the space for me to have a personal transformation. Thank you for providing me so many opportunities to travel outside of my comfort zone, and realize that its still quite comfortable! Thank you for allowing me to meet so many amazing people and allowing me the privilege of hearing their stories. Thank you for helping me to create so many more absolutely unforgettable memories, and developing so many more friendships! I went to Bosnia hoping to learn about very specific things … the war, how Bosnia recovered, what still needs to be done. And perhaps teach others a few things by sharing our perspectives with them. But the lessons I learned transcended these initial plans, and it is with appreciation and gratitude that I have to admit … I didn’t teach Bosnia a single thing. They taught me so much more than I could have ever anticipated or predicted!
So with sadness I close and say “Goodbye Bosnia”. But don’t worry, you haven’t seen the last of me! Of that, I am certain!