Monday, February 11, 2008

Coming to America

It's turned cold again in Sarajevo. That's what happens: you get a week of 50 degree temps, and then it gets cold and makes the 30s feel like the teens because you're now used to 50.

This is my last week in Sarajevo. Of course, being at the end of one journey calls for reflection before starting anew.

Regarding the blogosphere, I have accomplished what I set out to do: bring family, friends and even some strangers with me in this experience living abroad. I met some people over here who stumbled upon my blog, and I believe we'll be friends for quite awhile after we all come home and continue in our separate journeys. I hope that people know more about this city, as well as this country, by visiting my blog, and that I planted a seed that they may search for even more information, or even plan a trip over here.

I met some people on the blogosphere that I haven't liked - after all, it's easy to be a naysayer about something and someone when you don't personally know a blogger - but they remind me that not everyone deserves my time. Sometimes it's hard to let it go, but I try, and eventually succeed.

There are things that I find a little irritating or sad, like full trams, fussy ovens, bad air, the fact that everyone smokes and no one cares that they smell like smoke or that their lungs are curdling up in their bodies, beggars knocking on my door that is supposed to be somewhat secured by a guard and a key to gain access to the building, and that some people don't really understand how to stand in line and wait your turn, especially at the post office.

There are things that I find very enjoyable, such as roses being planted all over the city; the sweet shops galore that let me fill my sweet tooth and then some; how nice people can be; the scenery; Mercator, the grocery store where I can find lots of good food; cab drivers (most are very accommodating and I really love sitting in the back of the car while they zoom around cars and make it feel like I'm on a speedway); the relaxing days (the past-time is drinking coffee and talking with friends); the urban feel of the city, especially walking along Ferhadija; the way mosques and churches are lit at night (we really need to learn how to do this back home); Vrelo Bosne; living along the river; meeting new people; going to new cities rather cheaply; the fruit that is always available and cheap; and being a stranger in a foreign land.

What have I learned? A few things:

- Not everything will go my way, but that's ok. It'll get done, whatever it is.
- I can't live without the internet. No, I'm really serious about this one.
- When the dollar is weak, it really puts a damper on your spending OUS.
- I can live without lots of clothes.
- I can even live without any type of fast-food (likely because of all those sweet shops). *sniffs* Goodbye, Wendy's.
- Bosnians are interested in American politics, and they genuinely seem to like Americans (thank goodness).
- The language is hard. It'll take real studying on my part to get any sort of grasp on it. I'm jealous of those like Wiley who can speak it and understand it. I can pronounce it, but that's as far as I've gotten. With seven cases, it's a bit daunting.
- I have a deviated septum. It only acts up in Bosnia.
- There is such a thing as a bed that's too hard.
- I can handle living with Wiley (this is our first time living together).
- Paint comes off the walls easily.
- Heat that rises from the floor seems to be a more efficient way to heat an apartment - it stays warm in here - I can wear shorts, and it's 25 degrees outside!
- Full-sized sheets and comforters on a queen-sized bed are a recipe for nightly wrestling with a loved one (even though it's warm, I still have to be covered).
- Apartments are well-made here.
- I take good pictures of the scenery.
- I can bake here, even though measurements are metric and I have no typical cookie sheet (well, I thought this until I cut into my carrot cake and realized the middle was still on the raw side, though the top and sides were done).
- I can adapt!

All in all, I'm very happy with my time here. I'm less than thrilled at having sinus issues the first month I was here. I didn't really like the fog that settled in and became our neighbor for two months. But besides those two things, and in general, things have gone very well for my first time living abroad. I look forward to doing it again. Anybody up for visiting Austria someday?

So Dear Reader, I thank you for stopping in on my blog and sharing my experiences with me. The blog will still be up and running, as Wiley will still be here (and he promised to update and take pictures, though he won't blog as much as me because he's, well, um, busy), and I will continue to blog sporadically upon my return home. Even though I know you'll be thrilled about my moving adventures and job quest, I can't imagine blogging too much until I get settled wherever my feathers land. But you never know. I like writing.


meesha.v said...

good luck

logtar said...

Look forward to the next chapter, even though I am one of the late comers to this party :) I enjoyed this post a lot.

Thanks for letting me into your experience.

Melinda said...

Meesha: thanks. You're not one for long comments.

Logtar: you're welcome. I'm glad you came over for a looksie. I hope to not disappoint in the future.