Monday, March 25, 2013


    Again, this month contains very few posts. Not many crazy adventures, exciting experiences, or new people. In fact, life here in Bosnia has just become that.
    Regular, routine life.
    I don't take a double glance at the different types of building, the patchy roads, the signs in a different language. Talking to my host family is usually random, pointless conversation that we just feel like talking about. I go to school, I have coffee with my friends, I go shopping (so much so that a worker at one of my top choice stores knows who I am and we actually have conversations when I go there. Well.), I go to church. All very typical, day-to-day things that I've experienced everywhere that I've lived. Sometimes I re-realize that I'm living in Bosnia and the view from my house is something I'm unlikely to see again and it's just kind of a "Whooaaaaa..." moment.

    But then there's the even weirder moment when you think of going back to 'Murica. I got my return date and it's the weirdest thing ever. SO, Newberg! I'll be home at 9:30pm on June 11th, 2013. Upon receiving my online ticket, I stared at it for what felt like an hour. There it was, solidified, the day I go home. And I hate thinking about it because then I get in this inner conflict of, "Yay! I miss everyone so much and I'm excited to see them and go do this and eat this food!" versus "But I'm probably not going to come back here for a very long time and I'm going to miss all my friends and family here and what about doing this or eating this food that I will never be able to make as well as my host mom." Honestly, though, I'm in a very good position. I've absolutely loved every second of this exchange and I'm sad to leave, but I am excited to go home. I guess you could say I've got the best of both worlds (Hannah Montana, FTdubs).

    Yesterday, I went to Gorožde with my host family and it was nice. Simple, but nice. The weather was around 10ºC and it was a bit windy, but the sun was nice. Gorožde was a beautiful town, mostly there for farming and chilling at cafes. Not much else to do, but that. However, the entire ride there, my host family made fun of my Bosnian (I spent six months saying, "Jesam idela" thinking it meant "I went" when the proper past tense way is "Jesam išla." and nobody corrected me. Nizama was just proud that I was trying to speak Bosnian at all, so she didn't care if it was correct or not, as long as she understood me. Thanks guys) and Irfan and I tried to teach Esad and Nizama English. Selo is village and grad is city. Ta-da! Learning!

    We also stopped at two of Esad's relatives house for coffee and food, the second house just because we were passing through. A little bit of Bosnian culture for you: it doesn't matter if you show up out of the blue, uninvited. You want to have coffee with some distant relatives, they will welcome you in with open arms and start making a fresh pot of coffee right away. *Sigh* How I love it here. Irfan also started calling me Princess and also promised me he'd buy me a tiara when I mentioned how much I love Disney movies and how I want a poofy, tulle skirt. So, all-in-all, that day was pretty great. Well. Minus playing Angry Birds. I seriously could not get the hang of that game.

    Then today after History class, SHAKE went out for coffee where we've had some of the most interesting conversations ever. I don't even know where they come from, but they're definitely border line 'interesting' and 'weird'.
Great Expecations and a smiling cappuccino. I love Bombon.
    Now I sit at home where I was originally enjoying the sun, but now it's snowing like crazy. Why can the weather not stay sunny and pretty? I AM SO DONE WITH SNOW.

    Moving along, I graduate in less than three months and my mom comes in four weeks and I'm just really excited for all of that.

    Anyway, time to go do some more Government homework and remember to follow me on Twitter @KateWells7 !

    Until life gets busy or the weather decides to make up it's mind,
-Katie (Keti)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Living Life

   If you've been stalking my Facebook or reading my tweets, you know by now that

  1. These past few days have been absolutely AMAZING and...
  2. I am now, officially, EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE.

   But before I begin in all of that, I just want to make a quick apology for not writing at all last month. Nothing really happened, so honestly, you didn't miss out on much. Just me going to school and trying to accomplish something in my online courses.
   Moving along!

    SHAKE went bowling on February 22 (Emma's birthday!) and that was fun! I, yet again, owned everyone else's lives which is strange because I typically fail at anything that isn't writing or pinning things on Pinterest. So pretty much, if someone says we're going bowling, I am totally in.

Me and Savannah!
As you can see... I kind of won.
    Last Sunday (February 24) my family back in America Skyped me to wish me a happy early birthday and have my Sunday birthday dinner, a long standing tradition. I was in my pajamas and I had no idea that there was an entire crowd over at my house, but they all sang happy birthday and then sat me down at the table in my usual spot as they ate and, once again, it felt like I never left. Something I was kind of, really happy about.

   My actual birthday (February 27) was uneventful, especially when I woke up super sick with one of the worst colds I'd ever had (four cups of tea in a day and three rolls of toilet paper because I didn't have tissues. That's the way to role on your eighteenth.) and I received an e-mail from my History teacher saying that class was cancelled, aka, my only class of the day. So I stayed home, barely talked to anyone except my own family and my best friend for a happy birthday Skype dates.
    However! One very, very good thing came out of my birthday. My mom bought her tickets to visit at the end of April! So, as of today, I will be seeing my mom in seven weeks and three days (she just counted) and I am so excited! I've been wanting to show somebody what I've learned and where I've lived, and now I finally get to! SEE YOU SOON, MOM!

    Then came Friday, March 1. We didn't have any school because it was Bosnian Independence Day, so instead my church was holding a teen event all day with some friends from Switzerland. Originally we were planning on going to Jajce for my birthday, but some things came up so we had to cancel. I headed over a bit early as the sun was shining and the weather was pleasant and arrived to see some of my favorite faces. The few people who were there early as well sang me a quick happy birthday and I was happy that that happened. It was the first real happy birthday I got.
   Slowly, more people started arriving until the Swiss kids came! Everyone at first mainly stuck to the groups they knew, when the groups started to meld together as we started playing card games. We ended up having a giant game of European UNO and, for those of you who are thinking, "European UNO? How is that even different?" All I can say is that it involved lots of slapping cards and beating people to the figurative punch. Nevertheless, I failed at it and was the key source of laughter. As in I was being made fun of.
    On the bright side of things, I met a French girl and her friend who were both speaking in French! And you can guess my glee when I was able to speak a foreign language and not cower back in fear. They understood me, I understood them, we got along nicely. I just have really missed speaking a language that I speak well.
    Once everyone had arrived, we ate some pizza and then took off to Baščaršija. Selma and I started being a little ridiculous on the way down and it was just fun. I haven't really been my weird, outgoing self here, mainly because most of these people I haven't quite clicked with. But the girls at church and I work well and I have loved the freedom of acting however I want because I know that we're friends because of that. In the past few months I've attended church and known them, I feel like they have learned my little quirks faster than the majority of my friends at school. And I love them for it.
    We then arrived down in Baščaršija, with the sun blinding all of us as we posed for a picture by the Sebilj.

As you can see by my squinted eyes... blinding sun.
Selma and I on the top of the hill.
   After our picture, we headed up a hill (an agonizingly steep hill) where we were offered an absolutely gorgeous view of Sarajevo. It wasn't quite the tallest hill, but it still offered a nice view. However, despite the tall climb, it was fun! I found myself laughing harder at really random things with the girls who were speaking French and some of my older church buddies. Yes, I still complained about going up a hill, but the fact that I was climbing with a bunch of my friends made it okay.

   Once we took our pictures and sang, yet again, happy birthday to one of the Swiss boys (in English, German, French, and Bosnian. How's that for a day of culture?), we headed back down to Baščaršija to walk around freely. Selma and Nadja became my buddies as we linked arms and traipsed down Old Town, giggling at the randomest things, and eventually ended up at BBI. By the time Selma and I got to our first store, my other friend, Rebecca, called me saying that we had to go back to Baščaršija or else we'd be late to meet the group at 6:30.
    So we booked it.
l-r David, Selma, Rahel, me, Jovana, Daniel, and Nadja
 BEFORE we had to run back to the Sebilj.
    We sped walked the entire way there, me losing my breath because I started showing them the "proper" way to speed walk with you elbows up and out and your feet walking in a straight line which caused all of us to lose it. By the time we arrived at the Sebilj, all of us were out of breath from laughing so hard. And early.

    A half hour later, we were back at the church for dinner and then the Teen Alpha Course, where before it started, they were blasting music from Teenstreet which is this big youth conference in Germany in August that thousands of teens from all over Europe go to (much like YC in Canada and Generation Unleashed in America). I didn't know the songs (even if they were in English) or the dance moves that everyone else seemed to know. A few people were sitting around, me being one of them, but the majority of people were singing and dancing around. I was then convinced to join them and follow the dance moves and, I'm not even kidding, it felt like ZUMBA. Just watch and repeat and hope nobody is looking at you. By the end of our impromptu dance party, everyone was laughing and out of breath and all the windows were open to let in the cool night air.
    We eventually all settled down for the Alpha course, where everyone was split into language groups. Bosnian, German, and English. The lesson was good, even if everyone was confused where we were and didn't necessarily know what was happening.
    The night passed and eventually we were all saying good bye and I knew that for all the Swiss people, that was my first and last time seeing them, so the good bye was pretty solid, even if I had several guys try and convince me to come to the next Teenstreet where I had to inform them that I would be starting college and that wouldn't be happening. When the last few of us were waiting to go, David brought up how a "stupid One Direction song" was stuck in his head. Being me, I asked him which one where he then proceeds to sing the one line that he could remember, "that's what makes you beautiful." My entire face beamed as I turned to Selma who then joined me in singing the entire song at the top of our lungs at 10 at night. Nadja, Jovana, and Kat all joined in and soon we were belting the song, doing our own little ad-libs and even Kat changed the lyrics to Bosnian saying something about how girls should know they're beautiful anyway.
    By the time I came home, I was in a great mood. Hanging out with all my friends that day and making new ones simply made me so happy and I couldn't wait for the next teen group to see most of them again.
    I'm just glad that when I leave, I have so many things to come back for. And that's special to me.

   Now we move to Sunday! Sunday was my birthday party day as SHAKE + Irfan headed up to Zmajevac, a really pretty spot up on the mountain that overlooks all of Sarajevo, but not before Nizama timed out the arrival of the girls so we could have lunch before we headed out. We had pita and hot chocolate (weird... but that's what we ate) and we gathered everything up and headed to the hills.
    The walk to Zmajevac wasn't too bad. Yes, it was mainly up hill and it took about a half hour to get there. But it was still fun hanging out and walking with SHAKE and Irfan. True, Irfan and I complained the majority of the walk, saying we were both tired and didn't want to move, but both of us eventually got there while SHEA was perfectly intact. That's cool, guys.
    The view from Zmajevac was gorgeous as we stopped for a snack break. After awhile, we then began the climb to Barice. Barice would have been a fairly easy and fast climb if we left from our house. But because we decided to go to Zmajevac first, the walk was long. And tremendously uphill. Helena and I at one point ended up singing old songs from musicals, driving Irfan up a wall and we stopped to pet dogs on several occasions.
    What felt like hours later, we arrived at Barice which was at the very top of the mountain. Sadly, we couldn't see all of Sarajevo due to the smog. We settled down for some sandwiches, oranges, and water and just chatted simply as everyone rested.
    Once everyone felt good to go again, we headed down the steep and rocky hill to home. I didn't realize how close Barice was to my house, but it was ridiculously close.
    Upon arrival, Nizama had food ready for us as we set down for dinner of musaka (I am 90% sure that is what it's called...) and we then headed up for a movie.
    Except we didn't exactly watch a movie right away. At first, we were just bumming around my room, talking and eating the American snacks that Emma brought (Goldfish crackers, Froot Loops, and Reese's Mini Peanut Butter cups. THANK YOU EMMA, I LOVE YOU). But then Savannah asked Emma to toss her a Fruit Loop into her mouth and then the game was started! Emma switched places with Anna who threw us Fruit Loops one by one. If you caught the first, another was thrown until you didn't catch it, where the thrower would then move on to the next person. I won with a max of six in a row.
    After presents (a scarf, purse, and ring from my lovely ladies. LOVE YOU ALL! LOVE THE GIFTS!) we then settled on my bed to watch a movie where Emma and Anna fell asleep. When the movie was over, we had a quick piece of cake before they decided it was best that they head off because we had school in the morning.

    All-in-all, these past few days have been awesome. I think I've just had a bad case of winter blues along with a bit of senioritis, but lately, my motivation is up and I've just been in a really good mood.

    Anyway, sorry for the really long post. But that's been my life for the past week and a half.

   Until more sun and happiness,

P.S. This time, last year, I wrote my first blog post. It's weird to see how far I've come from freaking out about the IPSE and NSLI-Y. I mean, now I'm here.
P.P.S. Remember to follow me on Twitter @KateWells7 !