No curve was too sharp for them and their bicycle. No puddle was deep enough to stop them. -- Friends by Helme Hein

31 May, 2008

thoughts on leaving, part dva

It's easy to wax poetic when you are leaving a place. You begin to see the beauty in everything without regard for reality. "Wow, look at the way that trash spilled over in an artistic way!" or "I love how that VW Golf is blowing exhaust in my face. It's just so retro." But, as the temperature scales 90 degrees in my classroom and I have 9 kids who want to do anything but what I am trying to get them to do , I'm instantly brought back to reality.

Here are some things I won't miss about living here:
  • Monthly water outages in Vogosca. 95 degree days, with nary an air conditioner in sight, and the water goes out. For 3 hours. No bathrooms, no drinking water, 150 students. Wouldn't school be canceled at home? And, this is a monthly or so occurrence.
  • Exhaust smoke. Every third car spits copious amounts of exhaust. I'm sure it is a contributing factor to this cough I have had for weeks.
  • Silly Bosnian wives tales. This can be the most humorous and frustrating at times. Just a sampling of the things that many Bosnians still practice (and their doctors are still telling them): 1) Having 2 windows open in a room creates a cross breeze that is unhealthy and will get you sick. This causes many arguments at school and on the buses. 2) Going outside on the day that you wash your hair will get you sick. 3) Wearing shoes that expose the top of your foot before it reaches 90 degrees will get you sick (I've noticed most women wear nylons under their jeans & with heels to prevent this from happening). 4) Immediately after birth, a baby must stay in the house for 40 days. No one should visit and it should not leave for fear of getting sick. Once you do leave the house, the baby must be bundled in double hats, gloves, pants and socks. This will prevent sickness. 5) Pregnancy is to be treated like a disease. Lay down, eat what makes you feel good. 6) Feed your children A LOT of food--skinniness is not good.
I wonder if that last one is a hold over from the war, when food was scarce? On an ironic point, Bosnians smoke like chimneys with all windows up. Children, even babies, flail around cars without seatbelts in the front and back seats. Of course this list is biased by my American viewpoints, but that's half the fun.

If I had compiled this list in the thick of the winter fog, I probably would have found many more things that I dislike, but the sun is shining today and there are good things to be had in Sarajevo.

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