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

23 May, 2008

thoughts on leaving

Yogi Gnomovic--Part Bosnian/Part Japanese, his solar powered mushroom lights the way.

Leaving Sarajevo in July will be one of the toughest moves I've done yet. When I left Oregon, I knew the connection would always be there--it's my home. When I left TASIS, I said goodbye to many dear friends and the most beautiful setting on earth, but, everyone was leaving at the same time. We were all transients and somehow that made it easier. Now, facing leaving Sarajevo in a month is more difficult.

I'm much more attached to the ins and outs of Sarajevo daily life. I'll miss the incredible changing view from my apartment. The easy walk to my pilates classes. A lazy weekend involving no more plans than what I'll cook for dinner. The morning buba commute to Vogosca. Flat bread and Trattoria Uno. The sound of the call to prayer waking me up in the morning. I've even become somewhat of a celebrity in my apartment building. People I've never seen before say hello in English and the children go out of their way to practice their English with me. I guess everyone knows about the American woman living in their building. Just now, a doctor came to my apartment to prescribe medicine for my cough--only 50KM for a house visit? Unheard of anywhere else.

Of course, I'll miss my friends and students, too. I think the difficulty in saying goodbye to Bosnian friends is compounded by the fact that they aren't able to travel as easily as we can. For the local people who work in international settings, people come and go out of their lives. They remain the same. Change in scenery or work isn't an option. Our friends here have taken us in and made us welcome. They have fed us, made us appointments, translated and interpreted the Bosnian way. Would we be so helpful to a stranger at home? When I told my students this week that I'll be moving to Japan, one of the most heartfelt responses was, "ok, just please don't die in an earthquake over there." Children are so honest. I will be very sad to say goodbye to everyone. It's not as easy this time to just say, "you are always welcome to visit," and leave it at that.

I've learned that you can be happy anywhere, you just have to make your happiness. For now, when I think of Japan, all that comes to mind is this video from youtube.

I know that I will make my happiness in Japan, too. It just won't be from riding the trains...


YourFrenz said...

That is the best!We have got to go there. I'll bet you're going to see a lot more stuff like that , it'll blow your mind.

Just had some sushi and thought of you. Sapporo beer is good.

Sandra said...

You know you really hit it on the head. For me it was hardest leaving Amra. She is truly one of the most amazing people I have ever met. Everything you said put it very eloquently. I can hardly believe it has been a year since we have returned. Sometimes I think that whole place, and that whole time was nothing but a dream. It was so surreal, and so different from Asia or Canada.
I miss the weekends the way they were then. Now it seems like there is always something to do. The place of live in Bosnia, is despite some of the post war stresses, is surprisingly slow and relaxed. All the best to you. Can't wait to visit you in Japan.