Ovdje sam. Opet.

So I’m here, in Bosnia, again.  It was a bit of a journey to get here – New York to Amsterdam to Zagreb (via plane) and a 6 hour bus ride from Zagreb to Prijedor.  Crossing the Croatian-Bosnian border was buckets of fun because we had to get off the bus and stand in a line as border patrol checked our IDs in the frigid night air.  But I got here!  I took the one taxi at the Prijedor bus station (a city about 30 minutes from Sanski Most across the entity line in the Republika Srpska) because my friend and CIM’s director, Vahidin, was trapped in his village because of meters of snow!  That slightly scary taxi ride (think dark, snowy, winding roads in an old car without snow tires) came just in time.  Sure, there was snow on the ground in Bosnia when I arrived, but it wasn’t until the day after my arrival that Bosnia got hit hard – just look at these photos from Sarajevo!

I traveled from Amsterdam by plane to Zagreb, Croatia. Then took a bus down into Northwest Bosnia (through Banja Luka, highlighted on this map)

Driving through Bosnia’s villages, it felt like I was coming home but also starting a new journey all at the same time.  In the snow, everything seemed new and exciting and different.  I’ve never visited the country in the winter and it looked foreign and beautiful.  Maybe it was the severe jetlag from traveling through 4 countries in 24 hours, but I got that same fire in my belly that I had the first time I came to the Balkans.  It was exciting to feel both comfortable in the language and culture, but completely unsure of how my life in Bosnia will turn out in the coming weeks, months, and who knows, maybe years.

Sanski Most Kanton (municipality) is in red.

I want to write so much more about my life in Sanski Most right now.  My apartment is beautiful and very close to work.  I will be working with the most incredible peacebuiding organization I’ve ever known, with equally incredible and passionate international volunteers.  Bosnian life feels so familiar – the coffee, the removing of shoes at the door, the call to prayer five times a day.  But I know that really long blogs are hard to read so I’ll just have to stick to regular, shorter entries.  So you’ll just have to come back and see my photos of beautiful Sanski Most in the snow and all the other pieces of my life.   And I have to go study Bosnian language anyway!

Pozdrav iz Serce (Wishes from the heart)

Julia