I’ve spent the summer interning at the Centers for Healthy Aging, which have four locations throughout Sarajevo. I’m not really sure how to sum up my experience here in a blog post so I figured I’d just write about what I did at each center last week since it was the best week that I’ve had here.

Monday: I went to the main center, which just celebrated its 7thanniversary. There is a pretty good Buregzenica nearby so I stopped there to pick up some sirnica after I got off the tram. Once I got to the center, I ate and then went to painting class. The women in the class were so friendly and welcoming. I was in awe of their painting abilities, as their paintings looked just like the pictures that they were inspired by. One lady was painting a Monet and it blew my mind.

Tuesday: I walked to the Titova center after stopping at my favorite Buregzenica along the way to pick up some krompirusha, aka potato pie. After eating, I partook in exercise class, which is one of my favorite things to do at the centers. I oftentimes can’t understand the instructions so I just copy what everyone else does. Afterwards, I played games with some of the members as well as the staff. They have a game that is like shuffleboard but isn’t shuffleboard and it’s fun to see how into it people get.

Wednesday: I went to the center up on the hill in Veleshichi. This center is small but it’s really cozy. There are always fresh flowers and a lot of the members bring food and/or drinks to share. The people at this center are super friendly. I played chess for a long time with one of the members who tried teaching me but who also really wanted to beat me. I gave him a run for his money but he ultimately won every game. We took a break from playing chess for English class and then everyone gathered around to listen to a man play the accordion and sing songs. Some of the women at this center really like to sing and they even danced a bit this time, which was fun to watch. I normally take the exercise class with some of the women but the physical therapist was on vacation this week.

Thursday: I went to the closest center, which is less than a five-minute walk from the hostel. There is a guy at this center that has been helping me improve my chess game but unfortunately, he wasn’t there today. I played chess with some of the other men and actually won my first game without my opponent letting me. I’m so bad that my opponents are usually just playing against themselves. I was so slow during a game that my opponent got distracted by the game taking place next to us and I was able to swoop in with a checkmate. This center is relatively small so I usually exercise with the women, play chess with the men and then call it a day.

Overall, I really enjoyed this week because of all the small human interactions that took place despite the language barrier.


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