I’m an outsider in my own country…

Language Isolation

This following post needs some explanation, it’s controversial I agree, and I have considered taking it down many times. However, in order for this blog to be decent, it needs to be true. It needs to be real, and uncensored, and it shows the good, the bad, and the ugly. This posting is not at all me stereotyping the Serbs. Every single thing I wrote on this post happened to me, from Serbs living in California. It is not a generalization, its me reporting my experiences. Each line item on here happened to me. It’s not something I made up. Everything on that post I experienced from a Serb here in California. Thats why I wrote it, because that was how I was being treated in America from the Serbian community. I’ve been with my husband, who is from Belgrade, for 3.5 years now, and the Serbian community here has completely ostracized me and pretty much made me feel awful from day 1. So at one point, I was so frustrated I wrote this post. I felt it was important to leave it up, so that people could see what kind of experiences an American was having at the hands of Serbs in California. I actually feel most of the time like an outsider in my own country when I’m hanging around the Serbian community here in California. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at an event where every single person in the group speaks Serbian and English except me, and yet, they still insist on speaking Serbian in front of me, telling jokes without translation, and generally isolating me. And this is coming from an American that that was trying SO SO HARD, to embrace the Serbian culture. I had serbian songs at my wedding, both during the ceremony and after the ceremony, we danced the Kolo, we had sarma, I even begged my florist to put rosemary in our flower arrangements, and said a few words in Serbian at my wedding in California. And this was all My doing, not my Serbian husbands. I also took a Serbo-Croation language class and worked as well from a self study book to learn the language. Yes, I did all this to show the Serbs that I respect my Serbian husband’s roots, his past, and that I love the Serbs in general and want to learn more about their culture and way of life. However, I was still treated with cold shoulders and a lot of disrespect pretty much the entire time here in California. So after all this, I wrote the post. I hope this explains more where I’m coming from…. I hope that people who are offended by this will also take the time to read my positive postings on Serbia and Belgrade, especially the post entitled “I Heart Beograd”, and also, “Belgrade is Alive” As you can see from the entire blog, my overall experience in Serbia itself was extremely positive, and I really loved almost everything there, however it is important to let readers feel my frustration and the hurtful actions I experienced from the Serbian community in the U.S.

And here is the original post:

The Serbs will yell at you for not wearing closed toed shoes below 80 degrees, they will look down on you for not wearing a winter coat at a night club, but they wouldn’t think to offer you their own coat when you are cold.

On your wedding day, they will cat call your groom, show up late, and wear white at your ceremony.

They will not care where you are from, what you have done, or who you are, but they will instead, demand on knowing where your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandfather is from, and it is from this that they will judge you.

The women will send naked photos of other women to your man, and then be shocked that you are offended.

They will tell you to quit your job.

They’ll force you to eat their oily peppers and their cured meats and their greasy pastries, and then they’ll judge you when you are not stick thin.

They will tell you to hurry up and have babies. Boy babies.

They will talk Serbian in front of you when you can’t understand and use you as the brunt of their jokes.

They will tell you that the joke they are all laughing at is not translatable in your language, but it is pretty damn funny.

They will talk for hours about how the other ethnic groups are destroying their monasteries, they will diligently celebrate the religious patron saint of their family every year, and they will give money to the orthodox church, but they don’t Actually believe in God. And when you say that you do, they will say that in many years, you will outgrow that, if only you could open your mind to the true understanding of the metaphysical universe.

Well damn it, get over it! I’m sick of eating your disgusting cevapcici, which by the way, is nothing more than a glorified sausage.


10 thoughts on “I’m an outsider in my own country…

    • Yes, this was way before I reached Belgrade. And hopefully I will not feel the same when I return, though I’m not sure if its about the culture or the people. If its the later, there’s not much I can do, I suppose.

      • I’m 23 year old Serb from Belgrade, I’ve read your articles, and this one also.
        I understand your frustrations, you did everything (much much more than normal, i would not allow my family to do such a things, girl and guy have to make decision alone) to please them, they were awful and i feel so bad cause somebody who is one of Serbs did such a things and expect such a thing from you!
        You saw Belgrade so i don’t have to tell you that people in Belgrade are not like them.
        You have to know the most of immigrants form Serbia (and all old Yugoslavia) before ’90 are not so openminded and most of them are from rural parts. After ’90 ussually young people (with college degree) from Beglrade, Novi Sad, Sarajevo, Zagreb immigranted in USA,Canada, Australia.
        So you have that old closed immigrants and young immigrants with modern values.
        Girls from different countries visited me here in Belgrade and i said you don’t have to spend time with my parents, they doen’t expect it from you. (my mom and dad say it’s your thing you will live with her (if you married here) not we, so our opinion is not important, the most importat thing is that you like her and she likes you and you have good relationship without problems and arguing).Of course that met them and that’s all.

        • Thanks for your comment Pjer, you’re very thoughtful. Luckily, I met many wonderful Serbs in Belgrade when i was there in March. I think many Serbs that have left their country hang on so tightly to their Serbian roots, that they take it too far, and end up being isolationists, too critical of anyone or thing that is nonSerb.
          Thanks for Reading 🙂

  1. Hehe nice post! I stumbled upon your blog through rose mary bailey browns blog, an other fun expat blog added to my daily reading list :))) Keep up the good work and check out my experiences as a Canadian Living in Serbia.

    Cheers 😀

  2. You have to realize one thing. Serbian community in any foreign country is only held together by their heritage. All immigrants are missing something from their own country and are therefore looking for Serbian friends. But being Serbian does not necessarily mean they are of same “kind”. While I lived in The USA, many Serbians I spent time with would never be my friends in my home town of Belgrade. Maybe that is the case with the Serbians in LA ,you and your husband are spending time with? All those things you mentioned above sound very mean to me, coming from Serbian or not.

  3. “They will not care where you are from, what you have done, or who you are, but they will instead, demand on knowing where your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandfather is from, and it is from this that they will judge you.”

    That is typical for whole Balkan area.

  4. Serbians communities in US (New York) are horrible, people are horrible, they treat outsiders like dirt, does not matter how much you try. You may have a bit better attitude if you are Russian (I guess their provincial mentality respects a big empire, without even thinking that Russia has many problems and culture is violent).
    Serbian men are proud of being Balkan and “we beat women”.
    I think your husband is an exception – everyone else I met should be at very least prosecuted for sexism, racism and domestic violence

    • This comment gives me pause because it is not the first time I have heard the theme of domestic abuse correlated with the Serbian culture, which of course, I find abhorrent. I have nothing in my experience to substantiate this claim, either personal or through any friends stories of friends of friends, so I wonder how true it is. Thanks for reading.

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