Monday, October 8, 2007

Many Different Scribbles

The one thing I really miss about the States is that if you want to do some real shopping, you go to a mall, and everything you could possibly want is right there. That’s not the case here. We’ve had to stop people on the street to ask where things are – the curtain shop, for example, was to our west, in the bottom of a brown 12-story apartment building. We never would’ve found it if we hadn’t asked. When trying to find paper for the printer, the owner of the curtain shop told us to walk to the main street and take a right. So we did, and never found anything. It was only on our way back on the other side of the street that we found it. I have been searching for a purse since the day I got here, to no avail. I wanted a nice little black purse, and I found exactly what I want in a sky blue. The whole reason I left my purse at home was because I thought it was too conspicuous, and then I get here, and the only purse I find that I like comes in blue or canary yellow! Sigh. The leather is good here, but expensive. In the bascarcija, one black purse was 90 KM…I usually don’t pay more than $20 for my purses back home, so I’m really reluctant to part with so much money for something…but the time is growing nearer when I need one. Wiley will only hold my wallet for so long, and when we travel to Austria at the end of the month, I’ll need something to hold my passport. The other thing we have been unsuccessful finding is sofa cushions. Our sofa leans farther back than I’m used to. I found some pillows in the bascarcija one day, but at that time, I didn’t know I’d need them, so I didn’t bother picking any up. But I think they would really help…again, they’d clash, but at this point, I’m ok with clashing. But maybe it’s just something I need to get used to because right now, I’m on the couch and I’m quite comfy sitting here typing and kinda laying down.

And one thing you should all know is that yes, Americans tend to be on the pudgier side than their European counterparts, but I’ve seen more than one woman bigger than me. And they also don’t always dress so well. On the whole, the women (and men) are done up very nicely – they wear a lot of suit jackets – but the whole “only Americans wear white tennis shoes” couldn’t be farther from the truth. I’ve seen lots of Sarajevians with white Nikes or white Skechers on their feet. They do seem to have a lot of shoes, and a lot of women walk around in heels…I don’t know if they’re walking six miles a day, or just around town, or what, but they always match their shoes to their jackets or purses. This morning, a lady with a short-waisted red trench was walking on the sidewalk, and she had red shoes to match. I turned to Wiley, reminded him of the five pairs of shoes I brought (he brought four), and told him I never wanted him to tell me I had too many shoes again. I don’t have hardly any shoes, even at home, compared to what people have here. They also like the skinny jean, which, I’m sorry, but even if you’re a stick, doesn’t look good on you. It reminds me of the 80s, and there really are some things we should leave behind. One thing I do want to get while I’m here is some good mascara. Every single chickie wears it. When I wear it, I call myself “getting whored up” because I usually only wear it when I’m going out to dinner or dancing and I feel a little ridiculous wearing so much makeup during the day. But they wear it here, everyday, all the time, and their lashes are beautiful and long, which mine aren’t. So now I’m whoring it up everyday. Sorry, but every so often, I have to cave to pressure to appear to be alike. My hair gives me away, but I can at least do my makeup the same. I just wonder if it’ll ever fully come off.

One good thing about coming here (there are several, but this one is particularly important to me), is that since I don’t know the language, and I look like a foreigner, a lot of people stare at me (and Wiley, for that matter), and I’m sure they’re judging the way I look, but since I don’t understand what they’re saying, it’s really easy to brush off and not care. I would like to look a bit more European and blend in a bit. It’s not like I stick out like a sore thumb that much…there are other blondes….it’s just that their eyeshadow is sometimes blue and their skin is olive-toned and their black roots show….so in a way, it’s not all that different from living in the States….but since my skin has pink and blue undertones, it could be a bit difficult to blend in completely, even if I colored my hair red or dark brown or black. You might think that you’d be proud to stand out, but there are times when it gets to me, like at the grocery store….I suppose in a small way, it’s like being a celebrity. I luckily still have my privacy at home, but since my hair is short, I walk differently and don’t swivel my hips in a come-hither fashion, and have different clothes, and since I’m next to Wiley, who is not wiry like most men, the stares come. It’s only been a week, so I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but for now, it just makes me a little more nonchalant about what others think about me. I’m not here to impress anyone (at least not until I look for a job!). I’m just here to live. And I’m picking up some words for things, like Koliko costa (koliko koh-shtah), which is, “How much does that cost?” and the words for some fruits, and I don’t care, and No problem. There are beggars here, so I’ve learned to say no. There was a little girl who approached us as we were eating in the bascarcija, and we told her no (though we both felt like heels for doing it), and the shop keeper watched us, and she ran in and he gave her food, and not ten minutes later, one of his employees came in and said she was selling his food down the street. So it’s hard to know when to give in and buy them something or when to just ignore them.

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