Saturday, September 14, 2013

Missing Bosnia

    Hello again, I suppose it's been awhile, but I found it fitting.

    Over one year ago, I arrived Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina on the YES Abroad program. Since then I discovered a new culture, tasted different foods, stayed with a family, and lived a completely different life. Those ten months spent in Sarajevo were the best ten months I've ever lived, and I can say that honestly. The Hujdur family was the host family of dreams. They were the kindest people and the funniest and were so easy to love.  The culture was so diverse and unique and I learned so much about it (and yes, I probably annoy people when I spurt out random Bosnian facts). The language was a struggle, but with it I had some of the best (albeit simplest) conversations with people and it was the source of most of my laughter.

    Coming home was fine at first. I talked with all my friends from before and, initially, it felt like nothing changed. For awhile, everything was exactly the same and I fell back into the rhythm of Newberg life.
     And then... reverse culture shock hit. I didn't realize that reverse culture shock worked the exact same way as normal culture shock. A little bit when you first arrived, but not too bad, then things got normal, and then all of a sudden you are desperately wishing and hoping to be back in your host country, talking to your host parents, eating ćevapi in Baščaršija.

     Lately, missing Bosnia is like a rock in my stomach. It's not a new, exciting topic of conversation that I can blabble on about incessantly. It's no longer in the strange dream state where I'm still figuring out if I even did that. I spent my entire Senior year in Bosnia and it was wonderful and I want to not stop talking about it for the rest of my days. However, the fact of the matter is I can't always talk about it. People get bored or they don't care because, to them, they have no point of reference, these aren't their personal experiences. Finding someone who actually seems genuinely interested at this point in mid-September - three months after my exchange finished - is pretty rare, but I take that opportunity. And getting me to stop talking about Bosnia is not an easy feat.

    Now that I'm in college, I find things running very closely alike to my life in Bosnia. My parents aren't always there, I go to coffee shops to work on homework, I have to walk a lot of hills to get places (my campus is built on a hill. Lovely.), I'm making brand new friends, and re-establishing myself. And instead of giving me a brand new sense of adventure, I just feel Bosnia homesick. Skyping Nizama and Esad sure didn't help either. I found myself longing to be back in my cozy room upstairs with the wooden ceiling and the view that overlooked all of Sarajevo. I wanted to sit in their living room and have cake and coffee while we watched Farma and they made me laugh about everything.

    When I first came home, I was surprised how easily I slid back into my American lifestyle. Sure, I mentioned Bosnia quite a bit, but now that I'm more or less "fully" integrated, I just want to go back to being a bosanka (Bosnian).

     What I'm getting at is... I miss Bosnia. I miss everything about it, from my family to my friends to my walks around the city to the view to the bus rides. I miss it and it makes me terribly sad I can't go back this instant.

     Anyway, I know this is a downer post, but the feelings are real and it's all exchange related. Just know that exchange seriously does some stuff to you and it's not always easy to deal with.

    Until more Bosnia/exchange student thoughts,

From the beginning... the end.

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