So I haven’t really been great about blogging that much this summer, but felt it necessary to write one final blog to “wrap things up”.
This past summer in Bosnia was absolutely amazing. I had the opportunity to teach, learn, build many valuable relationships, travel and reflect on all of my experiences. The people I shared my experiences with and interacted with regularly made the time there that much more enjoyable. It still hasn’t really hit me that I’m not in Bosnia anymore, but I know I will be back again…hopefully again as a program leader and if not in that capacity then definitely for personal reasons.
At first, it was a shocking adjustment for me to be back in Denver. Now that it has been a month since I’ve been “home” I’m definitely much more used to the pace and rhythm of life here. Nonetheless I miss so many things about being overseas, but not just overseas, particularly being in Bosnia. I miss “Bosnia time”, my family, the PB group (not my personal space tho!), working with a variety of community agencies, walking everywhere, the delicious, fresh food, the call to prayer, late night pekara runs, relaxation, weekends swimming in the Adriatic Sea, among many, many other things. Somehow life felt a lot more relaxed or maybe it’s that I fully embraced the tempo and the Bosnian philosophy (one which is very much a part of me here in the US as well) while I was there. One thing I know is that even though it has been an adjustment being back, if I hadn’t adapted to life in Bosnia or life in the US or life wherever I am, I just wouldn’t be able to survive! It would be very difficult to live in a place and not adapt to the way of life in that community.
These few words are words I will leave you all with. I hope you enjoyed the few entries I’ve contributed to this blog. More importantly, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the blog all together as the other people who have contributed have written some amazing entries. 🙂 Dovidjenja…ciao ciao!
Yesterday I experienced trust like no other…
As I’m sure others have written before, our hostel is located in the center of town in an area called baščaršija. Everyday to go to wherever I need to go I pass by this one particular shoe shop. I glanced through the windows at the beginning of my time here, but then decided to actually go in one day. When I did that I knew it was over. I say this because I saw a pair of shoes that I absolutely loved. I decided to try these shoes on and unfortunately had little luck with them. I thought to myself then “well, I guess it’s best that I tried them on because now I know they don’t fit…” I was wrong because everyday since then I’ve thought about these shoes even more so. Yesterday I decided to go in and give them one more chance. They were a little tight, but nothing unbearable. The store clerk suggested that I take the shoes to the “obućar” (shoe repairman) that they use and see if he’d be able to stretch the leather a bit. The most important piece to this experience is that this woman told me that I can take the shoes without purchasing them and if the obućar says “no” then I return the shoes without being charged and that’s that. Can you believe how gracious the store clerk was and the trust she had in me to let me take an expensive pair of shoes out of the store without paying to make sure that they fit?
At first I didn’t find this to be too unusual, but that may be because I grew up in this culture. Though the more I thought about this gesture I realized that this woman didn’t have to suggest this and that she did sense trustworthiness within me. She said to me, “Naravno. Voljela bih da su ti cipele komotne i da uživaš u cipelama.” Although this woman sensed trust she also wanted me to “be comfortable in these shoes and that I enjoy myself in these shoes…” Where else would something like this happen? U Bosni naravno. 🙂
For those that are curious…see below.
Hello….I am in Bosnia! I can’t believe I’m here. I’ve been here for a little more than a week now and feel so much at home. As I become older I realize how much Bosnian culture is a part of me even though I’ve spent most of my life living in the United States. Sarajevo really is something amazing. The people here are so friendly. This is something both of my parents have told me, especially my father who spent his youth here. It’s amazing to experience the places and the people I have heard so much about as an adult. I have so many thoughts to share, but I don’t know where to begin so I’m going to leave you with a picture of Ann and I from the first day of being here in the center of Baščaršija…