Thursday, 15 April 2010

Goodbye Bosnia and Herzegovina...

The past three weeks I was in Bosnia and Herzegovina. First I was 8 days in Kljuc for a Partner Building Activity, then I spent 10 days in Mostar for a youth exchange. Both places will always have a special place in my heart.

In Kljuc there were participants from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia among others. The group bonded almost immediately. Over music. We had a musician amongst us and we would grab any free moment to sing our hearts out. "Zombie" from The Cranberries became our signature tune. Oh, and besides all the singing, we also tried to do some partner building :)

The NGO from Bosnia liked me so much that they invited me to join the youth exchange on "One Europe but Different Families" in Mostar. So, I did. I have no words to describe Mostar, but I'll give it a go. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

- I felt like I walked into a fairytale. The Old Bridge and the smaragd green river...simply magical.

The method used in this exchange was theatre and the play central to this exchange was Antigone. All week, we discussed about the differences in families in countries such as Bosnia, Croatia, Germany, Montenegro and Serbia. Although I am far from an actor (heck, the thought of being on stage in front of people, scares me more than spiders do and believe me spiders scare me A WHOLE LOT) I decided to give it my all. We actually performed our final play outside. IN PUBLIC! Near the Old Bridge...The passers by looked confused. Who were all these strangely dressed people speaking in English running around, dancing, jumping, falling down and yelling all over Mostar? But, hey I had the time of my life. I forgot about all my inhibitions and just let it go...But thank god, there is no video footage of it - even though I am not ashamed of what I did, I think some things better remain unseen.

- What happened in Mostar, stays in Mostar ;)

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Meet me at the Horse*

*The Horse at Trg Republike in Belgrade

- If I would get a Dinar (well, let’s make it an Euro :) ) each time someone’s said that to me, I’d be pretty filthy rich by now :)

Yeah, it’s THE meeting spot here in Belgrade. Everyone meets at the Horse and once you know where it is, you’re no longer an outsider. You can consider yourself part of the Belgrade community. I found out about the Horse during my second week in the city. I was meeting acquaintances and strangers mostly, because, well, how many real friends can you make in one week’s time?

You can imagine with the Horse being THE meeting spot, it gets kinda crowded around there. Therefore, I came up with the genius idea to add to the sentence: “Meet me at the Horse… UNDER THE CLOCK”. However, it didn’t appear to be less crowded over there, so perhaps not so genius after all. Right now I usually say: “Meet me at the Horse… AT OUR SPOT”. Now I am not going to tell you where that spot exactly is, because I don’t want others finding out and taking it :)

Since that second week I have been seeing and meeting the Horse regularly (let’s say about 4 times/week), so you could say that I have become pretty familiar with the place. Although most people use the place as a meeting spot and a waiting room, where they meet and move on

- I consider it much more than just a transitory space.

When I meet with people, I usually turn up early (I know there’s just some things about my character I cannot change – ‘Balkan style’ (arriving at least 15 minute late) is really just not my style) but I do it on purpose. You see, I like to sit at the square and watch all these people. Like me they are waiting, for their friends, girl/boy friends, colleagues, classmates, who knows who they are waiting for. Whether it’s day or night, there’s always people there. There’s always something going on. And that’s what I love about this place. I see the Horse as a platform. A platform where life unfolds right in front of me. Who needs TV, when they can have front seats at TR (Trg Republic)?

- It’s the best show on Earth and it’s live.

I especially love it when ’strangers’ meet one another for the first time. You can really distinguish the ones who are meeting someone they’ve not met before to those who are meeting someone they already know. The first group is walking around nervously, with their eyes fixed on the clock as well as at everyone who ‘enters the square’. When they finally meet the ones they are waiting for, it’s all joy though. I love watching those happy reunions and awkward first time meetings. Especially since I have had many of these myself.

The Horse holds a very special place in my heart. I couldn’t imagine the city without the Horse and vice versa. I will always think of it with fond memories. It is there where I met strangers. It is there where friendships started.

- It is there where my life in Belgrade began.

Related Posts with Thumbnails