I can't believe that a year ago, I was in Bosnia, a fact I never fully forget, but don't quite always think about it. I would be at Savannah's host family's house watching music videos with the rest of SHAKE (Savannah, Helena, Anna, myself, and Emma for those who forgot. OR YES Abroad BiH 2012-2013 for those who don't even know) and eating the random food on the table. We all called out "Happy New Year" together and watched fireworks go off through the fog and smoke from wood stoves and it was so strange to have celebrated the old year and a new year in a foreign country.
January: The month that went from zero to a hundred in a few days. First, nothing was happening as I slept in everyday and drank topla čokolada (hot chocolate). Then it was the youth conference in Mostar with some of my best friends and my package came from home and then my wallet got stollen on the tram. After that, January died back down as it slipped into February and into the second semester of school and my exchange.
February: One of the quietest months I had. Conversations with my host mom, a SHAKE birthday party for Emma when we went bowling, and then my own birthday which was spent alone in my room because I was sick and my host family thought it was the next day.
March: Life picked up quickly in March, kicking it off with a big youth group day at my church plus guests from Switzerland! It was one of the most fun days I had while being in Sarajevo and I still remember it so well as we dashed through Old Town, laughing until we cried. The next day was my birthday party with SHAKE as we headed up to the top of the mountain to see the view and have sandwiches and throw rocks as far as we could (Helena's could have gone far if it didn't hit a particular target...). Once we returned home, it was the Fruit Loop Catching Challenge and I won and it was lovely.
April: My spontaneous month, full of impromptu hair cuts (a big deal in girl world, ok?), random photo shoots across Sarajevo, and practically living at my church for a weekend because of concerts and foreigners. SHAKE traveled to Croatia and I went golfing with my friend from church (an interesting experience indeed).
May: My mother came to visit me in Bosnia this month and we traveled with SHAKE to Croatia again, this time Helena's mom joining us for part of the trip. It was wonderful to have her share part of my experience abroad. Once she left, SHAKE began wrapping up the year and it was so incredibly sad to think we were heading home that next month. We had our last cultural excursion, we talked to the American Ambassador, and another exchange student in Bosnia stayed with me for a few days which was so lovely!
June: Probably one of the saddest and happiest months I had this year. I said goodbye to all my friends I made from a year abroad and then said hello to my friends and family waiting for me in America and Canada! My life at that point was just a big, jumbled mess of feelings and I didn't quite know what to make of them.
|Saying goodbye to my host mom, Nizama!|
|SHAKE for the last time.|
|At the ECA for our Bosnia presentation|
|Finally get to hug my brother!|
August: I began my transition into American life again and then into college! My best friend became my roommate and college life vaguely reminded me of Bosnia. It was such a nice, familiar feeling to be meeting so many new people and going to classes again.
September: Reverse culture shock bit me in the butt during this month, but I tried to ward it off by getting a super part-time job and going on late night Mexican food runs with my friends. Nothing too exciting other than my feelings for Bosnia were about to explode and what made it worse was my sister left for India to teach English!
|This is me pretending to hug my sister because she isn't here.|
November: Began the month with the crushing news of the mass grave found in Bosnia, but I think I just made it worse when I went to All-Night Prayer at school and just found myself crying more than I should. But it was still good to be a part of. It was also Thanksgiving where we had the multitudes of foreigners (Brazilians and Canadians, plus an Alaskan who is practically Canadian so...) and it was such a fun weekend, especially when my team won the football game. I scored a touch down even!
And December: This month has been productive, to say the least. School ended and all my friends flew out to their homes (I merely got picked up. Perks of living 45 minutes away) and since then I have been hanging out with my family and local friends, keeping up on my writing and helping around the church and home. Christmas was small because my sister was gone, but then I received news that my French host sister is coming to visit me in July!
Anyway, cheers to the new year!
P.S. Photo cred to the lovely Anna Wright, the wonderful Stephanie, and my own fantastic mother.