The Eternal Search for Change

We are all settling into our rhythms here (when the shower is free, the ins and outs of each of our individual internships, which places have free, unlimited wi-fi). There continues to be one cultural difference that continues to confound me: Change. The judging looks one receives when trying to break the large bills (coincidently the only size that bills come out of the ATM) is of the quality that I only hope to one day achieve. It does not entirely matter when one is at the time of breaking the bill: a busy restaurant, a grocery store, or even smaller bill (say a ten) for a delicious 2KM coffee at one of the myriad of coffee shops in Sarajevo. When you are not asked if you have change, the disappointment is still incredibly visible.

I lucked out my first day here, as I was easily able to change my bill at the bank (apparently this phenomenon normally takes two or three bank visits). Where this comes from is unknown. I have spent a possibly inordinate amount of time trying to figure out why this is while simultaneously accepting of reality of the situation. I have run the gambit: “well, maybe it is because I am not a bank customer” or “well, it is relatively early in the day. I know that when I worked retail/food service our tills were never that full at that time a day.” No matter how I look at it, I am still unable to figure it out. It is something that happens whenever. While I no longer care about the looks or the question: “do you have anything smaller?”, I still wonder why the ATM doesn’t spit out smaller bills if breaking 50KM or 100KM is so tasking.

Knowing my stubbornness, I will continue to try to figure this out over the next couple of weeks fully well aware that it probably unanswerable. I will continue to embrace this small difference. However, in the back of my mind I will always wonder how this came to be as I am digging through my purse in the futile attempt to pull together small 1KM coins.

Author’s Note: I realize that this is a little trivial and light-hearted, but seeing as next week I will getting ready to participate for the Peace March, I wanted to write something light.

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