Although my journey coming over to Sarajevo was testing to say the least, with one of my planes turning back to the States after a bathroom riot on the plane and the other leaving me stuck in Munich for 24 hours, finally I arrived in Bosnia, more exhausted than I ever thought possible. But I didn’t want my travel plans to ruin my first day in Bosnia, so upon arriving in Sarajevo I took ten minuets to clean myself up and hit the streets of Sarajevo. Despite being in a daydream-like trance the entire first day, I took a walking tour around the city, ate an interesting salad at a local restaurant, and watched the world cup from movie projectors set up both at a hookah bar and the bar everyone seems to know around here, Cheers.
For our first blog entry we’re supposed to discuss our first impressions of Bosnia, Sarajevo in particular. However, I find this extremely hard to do as I have been here a mere 24 hours. For me this is the very first time I have gone to a foreign country without being accompanied by a local. Therefore, I am slowly, cautiously taking in my new surroundings, trying to observe as much as I can before I make any impressions. I want to take as much of Bosnia in as I can before deciding what I think. A slow process, but full proof. What I can say, is in the roughly 24 hours I have been here, I have felt a certain energy radiating from the streets of Sarajevo. The people seem so hungry for life, so loving and full of energy. On the car ride from the airport, I overheard a conversation that seemed to define this energy, as someone from my group discussed with the driver how Bosnia as a whole has undergone a lot of pain and hardship, how Bosnia still has many problems to overcome, but the problems are what make the people so passionate in how they live.
Even though I haven’t really formed impressions of Sarajevo yet, the entire city seems to be full of emotion, especially through some of the stories I heard on our city tour. The story that impacted me the most was about citizens who during the siege would walk several kilometers to a brewery (below) in order to get fresh water. The brewery became a symbol of life as it sustained those trapped in the city by the danger of the hills, but also of death, as many were killed by snipers and grenades on their trek to simply get fresh water.
Overall, I don’t believe I am ready to delve into my impressions of Bosnia, because I simply am not ready yet. The only real immediate impression I have had is wow, Bosnians dress extremely well and feeling very out of place in my lulu lemon work out pants. But I am very excited to continue to explore Bosnia and form relationships that will help me better understand the vibrant culture that exists here. Internships formally start tomorrow, so it looks like I will be able to dive right into first-hand experiences.