I Never Missed My Home Town Until I Stayed Away Too Long

1st April 2015

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I was born in Bosnia (it was known as Yugoslavia back then) and though I only lived there for 7 years, the little hill where half of my family lives will always be my home home. Most of the time the hill is deserted as a lot of its inhabitants are scattered over Europe and America, but in the summer holidays everyone returns and we all have the best six weeks ever. It’s strange to explain to people about the sometimes surreal life on the hill and how you miss the weird things that always bring a smile to your face:

the times you want to learn some of your aunts recipes but she doesn’t do measurements ‘ah! az much az ju veal, Tea!’

Grandma’s latest gossip that makes Hello/National Enquirer look polite

telling the neighbour you really aren’t hungry but having to eat since they already slaughted a chicken for you

A place where the people haven’t and will never learn the difference between yelling and using your inside voice

you might have fed a neighbour’s cat once in a while, but the equivalent here is watching and milking the neighbours cow.

not being the only one who has 15 consonants and 3 vowels in your last name for a change

having the village women talk about you because you are in your early 20s and not married

your cousins who try to seduce every Western guy that passes through the area

actually getting yourself ready and wearing matching and shoes to go to the big city

waiting for the bus but having no idea what time it arrived since there is not such thing as timetable

missing the bus but thank God there’s always a relative nearby with a car to take you instead

your address is: just a two minute walk after the third house on the right

finding a copy of Frozen next to a copy of the Porn Identity on a black market stall – we’re not in Netflix country anymore…

”I’ll be there in five minutes” is more like an hour or so, if you’re lucky. Essentially throw away that watch or turn off the clock function on your phone.

trying to get past the fiercely excited Miki the watch dog when you get back home in the middle of the night

walking up/down/left/right and twisting arms at all angles on the hill to find reception to upload that one amazing shot

sleeping in a house without water and electricity

everyone comes over every day uninvited for coffee – put down that book – it isn’t getting read!

seeing the sun set and realising that life takes a different pace here.

Now I’m curious, what do you know about Bosnia or the Balkan?

24 thoughts on “I Never Missed My Home Town Until I Stayed Away Too Long

  1. Melanie

    Hello you,

    first of all, thank you for this post. As I travel a lot and as I live far from my home town because of my University, I can see now what I liked so much there : my family, the routine, the green landscapes with the cows and so on … So quiet and peaceful but at the same time so inconvenient for the life we live today in our modern societies. So even if I enjoy my new life in a “big” city (Geneva), I missed my home town sometimes.

    About Bosnia … Well, my grandfathers was living in Bosnia like other members of my family so I know many things about this country, even if I don’t speak the language. It’s been a while since I haven’t returned there but I am planning to go back this summer with my mom. But I remember I liked this country a lot because of the little beautiful things of life … As you mentioned the sunset for instance. The time goes on and you can see it clearly there; you live in this time, enjoying the simple things.

    Reply
  2. Lizet

    Dit klinkt heel fijn en mooi! Maar vooral voor eventjes πŸ˜‰ Ik weet eigenlijk helemaal niks van BosniΓ« en heb ook weinig van Oost-Europa gezien. Zou ik snel moeten doen. πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Kathi

    Nice πŸ™‚
    After having spent three months in Kosovo two years ago and learning more about the entire region I can’t wait to finally make it to Bosnia too!

    Reply
  4. Isabel

    I got married to an ex-yugoslavian (he is slovenian) and from what I know of Bosnia is that is beautiful, the people are super nice and the food is great! i really want to visit it soon, it’s so close!

    Reply
  5. Lauren

    I know next to nothing about Bosnia but it is somewhere I’ve wanted to explore for a while! One day I’ll get there, it looks beautiful πŸ™‚

    Reply
  6. Anna

    Well being from Greece, a lot of the things you describe remind me of how a village is in Greek! I was born and brought up in Athens, but my grandfather came from a village in Northern Greece, which has very few inhabitants during wintertime, but becomes lively in July and August. Thank fully, no gossip there!!

    Reply
  7. Thyeme Figueiredo

    Such a really nice post! I realized I don’t know anything about Bosnia and this is so sad, I don’t even know where’s it on the world map :/ (I’m Brazillian). I decided to comment because some of the things you put in your “list” are things that happened in my born city too. I’ve been change my home 3 times (ParΓ‘ then SΓ£o Paulo then BrasΓ­lia). Maybe somethings are the same in every part, when we have our family close <3

    *PS: I'm going to searching more about Bosnia haha

    Reply
  8. Marianne

    Thank you so much for this lovely post! I don’t know much, if anything, about the balkans, but I would love to learn more. Perhaps it is because of my urban upbringing, but I always loved escaping to smaller rural villages and getting away from the buzzing, superficial, grey city setting. I’ve always wanted to milk a cow, feed chickens, run in a field, and do all the things you would do in a farm town. Whenever I go to France, the highlight is going to visit my aunt and uncle in their secluded village and breathing the fresh air, laughing, eating dinner under the stars, going for late night walks in the fields… It just makes me feel so at home for some reason!
    Marianne πŸ™‚

    Reply
  9. Julia

    I shamefully know almost nothing about it! I always love hearing about the places where people grew up and spend their summers, especially if it’s so different from my own life (I grew up in Los Angeles, California, literally the polar opposite I could imagine). I am jealous too though in a way, it seems like you just have this sense of community there that I have never really had in any area where I lived. Now living in Paris it’s even more isolated and lonely at times, and spending a summer in a place like this is something I crave. Just a small little change πŸ˜€

    ExploresMore.com

    Reply
  10. Ruurdje

    Two years ago, I was roadtripping with some friends to a festival in Slovenia, through Croatia to Bosnia (unfortunately only Sarejevo). I remember a beautiful blue river next to the road, crazy drivers (horses? not sure about that) and cars so old they wouldn’t be allowed to be driving around in the Netherlands. Also, we were drinking a lot in Sarejevo because it was the first time we would be in a city and it was kinda cheap so we drank a lot. Next day we forgot where we spent all our money. It was nice. Love to go back and explore more rural areas!

    Reply
  11. Eva

    Ik weet beschamend weinig maar ik vind het nu al geweldig. Bizar verschil met hoe het leven hier gaat maar zo’n groot verschil is misschien ook wel eens goed. Komt er meer Tea? Ah toe?

    Reply
  12. Linda

    I don’t know much about Bosnia but I know a lot about Nigeria and your great post just reminded me of the small town I grew up in. I can relate with almost everything! I cracked up a bit when I read the part about everyone coming over every day uninvited for a cup of coffee. That is so true in my case although they come for cups of tea and bread lol

    Reply
  13. Simovic-Vuceljic Natasa

    What a nice post! I’m born in Belgium and lived there until 2012, when I moved to Montenegro. My mother is from here and my father from Serbia, so I have a really strong connection with Balkan πŸ™‚ And oh my god, in every fact you wrote about your hometown in Bosnia, I was like “Oh yes, that’s so true!” “This is so tipical” “Yep that happens to me all the time” etc. So I know exactly what you’re talking about πŸ™‚ When I lived in Belgium, we came every summer to our hometown in Montenegro and I was always super excited! Now I live here, I left a big city in Belgium (Antwerp) to live between mountains, but I can tell you one thing: I don’t regret it πŸ™‚ Because we have our own charm here πŸ™‚ Love! x

    Reply
  14. Anca | Globaloud

    I know a lot about Bosnia, which is normal, regarding the fact I’m from Split, Croatia. In fact, the village you just described sounds like every village in Dalmatian Zagora, but I believe you know that. I just wanted to say hi to someone who is from the same region as I am. I noticed your post with Hajduk graffiti so I had to check the blog πŸ™‚

    Reply

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