The honeymoon week has concluded and I find myself settling into new roles, a new place and a heavily new understanding of the world. A new understanding of myself is brewing in the meanwhile and I am working on honoring that state. As a first time traveler this place is everything all at once. I feel overwhelmed with awe and wonder while simultaneously being hit between the eyes with the history and trauma of the past. I’ve learned valuable lessons in the past 7 days, for example:
- Children here are used as bait for pickpocketing and begging (something that as a child social worker I find impossible to ignore)
- Just because someone tells you they have a villa in Montenegro does not mean they have a villa in Montenegro
- A new adventure is behind each corner, and the corner is worth exploring
- The street dogs make my day although the recent “dogocide” has me saddened that I do not get to experience as many as there once was.
- Sometimes people will tell you they don’t understand you simply because they choose not to
- Bosnian coffee is much better than American coffee – along with a long list of other things I have discovered here
There are more lessons but articulating them is still something I am working on. I love this country and this city in ways I did not imagine possible in such a short time. There are so many places and people I urge to see and meet, and I am grateful this opportunity. The people (for the most part) are genuinely lovely humans and their resilience amazes me. The food is great, but I am choosing to ease into that slowly. Navigating a new place has never been so easy and natural. The mountains are stunning and their beauty puts me at ease. I love old town and hearing the call to prayer. I feel more Americans should experience Bosnia for themselves in order to adopt a more open minded perspective on Islam and the people who live here and the community we are so enveloped in.