Oh Surprise, you wreckless mule

Blog theme “What surprises you the most?”

Surprise- it can be a loaded word. Sometimes surprises are wonderful, life altering moments that you’ll always remember. Like, “Surprise you won a million dollars!” or “surprise your sister is engaged!”. Those surprises, Im totally good with.  Other surprises, like, “Hey there’s a tarantula crawling up your leg” or “ Surprise you got a parking ticket and the cop is literally walking away now!” those…are not so great. I could do without, and my heart thanks you for listening.

Moving to Sarajevo, I anticipated a smorgasbord of surprises in both contexts. Whenever you visit a new country, it seems that both of the surprise-types are almost inevitable, and in some cases welcome. You kind of want both; to fulfil a sense of adventure and adrenaline, and also to reassess the reality that you’re out of control.


I’ve never lived in a Muslim city before, and as a group we’ve arrived right in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan. I had heard all about the call to prayer that I was to witness, and how the call was fairly majestic. To to be honest, I have only heard that now a handful of times and it’s now been over a week.  So I am not really surprised by it, but rather in a way comforted when I do hear it because it reminds me where I am.

However, what I have learned, and what has truly surprised me these last 10 days, is the remarkable canon shot that goes off at roughly 8:30 PM that marks the end of the day of fasting. I could be sitting in the hostel, attempting to soak up what little internet connectivity I can get my hands on, out at a restaurant, exploring new parts of the city or in the mountains and suddenly this giant BOOM erupts; and I kind of always lose my shit.  I suppose it’s largely that I have not been avoiding food or drink all day (rather quite the opposite) and so therefore I am not counting the seconds until I can indulge in the Iftar- the meal to end fasting- and so the canon shot is entirely unpredictable and I’m not checking my watch.  It’s without a doubt routinely and unequivocally surprising.

I am also surprised, and wonderfully charmed, to see a side of Muslim culture that isn’t being smeared on headlines in some overwhelmingly negative fashion.  My reality of living and working within these communities is nothing but positive. In light of all the recent tragedy in the world that largely frames anyone wearing a head dress as evil, it enlivens my heart to see interactions that are just people living. It’s a beautiful thing, and a gentle reminder that you shouldn’t assume that everything you read is fact.


The world needs more of these types of surprises. To recognize that different does not mean bad, and that maybe being out of your own element, accepting and learning from surprise is actually ok.  So please, world, bring on the surprise.


Just leave out the bugs, those I can do without.



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