Arriving home has been a strange adjustment. I have been trouble explaining everything I experienced and saw during my time in Bosnia. There are just so many descriptions and details I want to tell. I wish I could sit down with every person I’ve encountered and tell them what I experienced day by day, but that is not realistic. So, I settled on explaining my souvenirs and went from there. Some of the most frequent questions I received pertained to the Peace March. It is such a strange feeling thinking back to the end of June/July and the life changing experience I had the ability to participate in. The Peace March is something I cannot explain. Small memories are all I can speak on because there were so many internal battles and epiphanies I experiences in just three days.
The other activities were amazing in their own way! Having the opportunity to travel as a cohort was also an awesome experience. Getting to explore Bosnia and have guides or individuals who live their daily lives in Bosnia, explain things during the excursions, made the activities more personal. The activities we did as a cohort were not just touristic things that any person could do. The activities we did were unique and allowed, at least myself, to be put into another’s shoes. Listening to first hand stories of daily life during and after the war was unexpected but extremely treasured.
Life changing is something that frequently comes into my mind when I think about this past summer. Every adventure I had the privilege to participate in was so impact in its own unique way. I made friendships with not only my cohort members but also with individuals that have experienced loss and tragedy. I got to see with my own eyes the steps that individuals take to deal with their own trauma as well as not let that trauma define them. They are more than a war. They are people who love and hurt. I experienced a sense of hospitality that I never have before in my life. Even thinking back now I cannot put into words the experience I had.
Without this experience, I do not know how I would be looking at my future career. It definitely made me more confused on my future just through the activities we participated in, but I would not change it for the world. Being home I feel extremely privileged, in every way. I think that is why explaining everything I did has been so difficult. I was able to walk into a world that is so different than mine and then I got to come home. I heard stories that made me angry and devastated but they did not truly happen to me. The privilege I possess is something that I have to use as a resource. I cannot ignore the way life is and the injustices within the world but I can use every platform I possess to speak out on these injustices.
When I remember this summer, I will remember all the emotions I experienced every day. I will remember the relationships Ann has developed which allowed us to do all of these activities. I will remember the University of Denver because without being here, I would never have gone to Bosnia or anything like this trip. I will remember the love I felt there and the love I have for my family and friends at home. This summer was an experience I cannot put into words because it was extremely monumental in my life. I am incredibly thankful to Ann and every person who we met along the way who made this summer so unforgettable.