Monday, April 27, 2015

Throwback Thursday

    Oi, it's been awhile. Happy 2015, I guess? Pretty much I'm writing because once again I was reconnected with the lovely people of YES Abroad and it's always so important to me to write about it. Somewhere... anywhere... so here we go!

    Three weeks ago, I was in Chevy Chase, Maryland for the In-Person Selection Event (IPSE), only this time, I was working as a shadower, experienced alumna, and hopeful interviewer. The last time I was at IPSE was three years ago. Three. I watched excited and nervous students come through the doors, making friends with all the other hopefuls, and was instantly sent back into a weird sense of déja vu. Had it really been three whole years since was that student? Three years since I was meeting up with other kids wanting to be youth ambassadors and seeing my Facebook friends in person and hanging off the words of each alum at my IPSE.

     As the weekend progressed, I was constantly thrown into memory lane, as I always find myself on any YES Abroad related event. The Alumni Association event in September was probably the worst of them all, especially having Emma from the year after me – who stayed with Nizama and Esad – be there. We bonded and were nostalgic together, craving all the little things Bosnia-Herzegovina had to offer. During a free moment of the conference, Emma and I escaped to Skype our host family and catch up on life. I sat there listening to Emma and the Hujdurs talk freely in Bosnian and I realized how much and how quickly my Bosnian had disintegrated into nearly nothing. I could barely muster out a "Jesam dobro, školi je dobro takoder," before I felt overwhelmed with how much of the language I had forgotten.

    It was interesting to be on the other side of the table during the interviews. I could feel a student's passion or nervousness as tangibly as if it was my own. I knew what they were going through. Yet, there I was, sitting in on interviews and learning what it truly took to be a YES Abroad student. It made me wonder what they thought during my interview. Which then naturally threw me back in to a whirlwind of emotions about missing Bosnia all over again.

    I've been home for nearly two years and I was expecting that by this point in life, I wouldn't be thinking this much about Bosna i Hercegovina. I thought that I'd look back on it as a happy memory and be able to move on with my life. However, I've realized that the farther away I get from BiH, the more I want to be there. Already the fourth generation of YES Abroad BiH students have been chosen and I'm sitting here like the kooky grandma telling them all about this fabulous country. Three out of the five SHAKE girls have already returned to Bosnia since we left and I'm waiting for the day that I get to do the same. I'm at the point where I could live there all over again. Bosnia-Herzegovina isn't just a place to me anymore. It is in my heart and a part of my being and I will do anything I can to return to that country soon.

    Anyway, I hope this post wasn't too terribly sad.

    Until I can return,
- Katie

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