Day 1: First Impressions

Even though I just bought my plane ticket to Bosnia in January, I feel like I’ve really been planning this trip for over a year. I’m sure I’ve annoyed Ann many times by asking her when we’d be getting started with the logistics and recruiting students starting in the fall quarter. I rarely do things that are going to cost me much in terms of time and money, and this trip is the opposite of who I was for the first year and a half I spent in grad school: responsible (at least fiscally), independent, and very safe. I feel like after I bought my ticket to Bosnia, I became a whole different person.

When we landed in Sarajevo, I had been sleeping pretty hard for the short plane ride over, and I really didn’t feel with it or prepared. The woman next to me began talking to me and asking about our trip, and I feel like I didn’t do it any kind of justice. Plus she was from Bosnia and had been a journalism correspondent during the war, and I barely asked her any questions! She did pass along her phone number in case something didn’t work out (she probably thought I was just going to wander the city for two weeks because I was so out of it).

Luckily I haven’t just been wandering around (although some of the time!) but I do expect to later in the trip. One of the students from last year talked about exploring the city on his own sometimes, and I’ll definitely want to do that at some point to reflect. Right now I’m just having a lot of fun hanging out with people and getting to know the group. It’s sometimes tough to think about one of the biggest reasons we’re even here.

Sarajevo is everything and nothing like what I expected. Everything is so beautiful, and it’s hard to think of words to describe the history here without using the word heavy. It almost just hangs in the air, not in a sad way, just in a way that has weight. (On a side note, you’d think a former English major would have better words to describe this, but I don’t yet. Maybe soon). I never expected to be here, and it still just feels a little unreal. I am so envious and curious about everyone who speaks this language and just belongs to this city where so much has happened and so much is still happening.


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