Hello all, my faithful readers. As you’ve noticed, I haven’t been writing like I used to. The writing used to pour out of me almost uncontrollably, every day in Belgrade. Every day I needed to get my thoughts down on paper so that I could record them and move on to the next adventure without fear that that precious memory would be lost. I was devouring experiences, racing from one place to the next, all too aware that my time to leave would come much too soon. It did come too soon, and as you read, I was forced to return home. Home: to regular life, bills, responsibilities, routine, normalcy, mind numbing trivial duties, and the ever approaching career identity crisis that I’d been ignoring before my Belgrade trip for several months. How much easier it would have been to stay and live out my alter-life, putting my old one on hold for a while as I got to learn new things every day, challenging myself mentally, making new friends around every corner, travelling and exploring, and loving every minute of it. But real life was calling and so I had to return home.
A few people wanted to know when I came back to California, “Did you learn more about your husband when you were over there” As you know, my husband is from Belgrade, grew up there till the ripe young age of 26 before immigrating to the US and starting life over from scratch. I went without him to Belgrade for 1 month, setting up everything on my own and trying to make some headway learning the language at my Serbian Intensive course. After some thought on this question, I can seriously answer it “No.”
No, I did not learn much more about my husband from travelling to his homeland. This is not because I wasn’t trying to, or because I was closed-minded. Quite the opposite, I was trying to learn everything I could, from cultural nuances, to geography, to the fine points of Serbian grammar, and all with a very open mind. But I can safely say that before going to his homeland, I knew him amazingly well already, including his Serbian roots, from having listened for years already about the mass exodus or brain drain in the 90s, his struggles immigrating, the desperation of many Serbs throughout history and modern times, the complex and heartbreaking history of the region, and every little old wives tale, conspiracy theory, or culinary preference. Yes, I’d heard it all. I had read books on Serbs, saw hundreds of photos, and was surrounded by them at parties, social events, and family holidays. I listen to my husband speak the language every single day at our home in his loud, dynamic, perfectly Serbian voice. Yes, I felt quite prepared when going to Belgrade, and rather than learn about him, I ended up learning more about myself.
Why is it that I can be myself most when I’m far, far, away?
My trip to Belgrade ended up being a journey of self discovery. And in the end, when I think back on it, I was just learning what I already knew. That I was adventurous, independent, strong, and smart. that I was daring, mischievous, intellectual, and artistic. That I was curious, committed, complex, and passionate. That I was funny, quirky, competent, and brave. That I was soulful, a dreamer and a doer, interested, and therefore interesting. I learned that though I’m American through and through, and I’m a Midwesterner as well, that I don’t really fit the profile of the typical American, and I don’t fit the profile of any one single political party, or religion, or type of world view. I’m patriotic to my country, but funnily enough, most comfortable around foreigners. To borrow a phrase my husband loves, “I’m a citizen of the world”.
I learned that I didn’t want to live the way I was living anymore. I didn’t want to waste my valuable life energy on one more person that brought me down, one more minute on pleasing people who I didn’t respect, or one more day not loving life and living it to the fullest. I was reconnecting with myself in a way that I had lost in recent years, having been living in Orange County, working myself to burn out, and being in a serious relationship. Those things can lead oneself away from oneself, and it was in Belgrade, that I found myself again.
So thank you Beograd, for being the perfect foreign city in which to find myself again, and thank you ljubavi, for letting go of me so I could make my own way for a little while again, and therefore find my way back to you, much more “me”, than when I left.
Though there will always be Serbianisms in my life, and a little bit of Belgrade in my heart, I must accept that this blog has run its course, a fantastic log of my adventures, a chart of my personal growth, and a very therapeutic way for me to voice my thoughts, when I somehow couldn’t say them out loud. I may update it from time to time if I have a particularly inspiring Serbianism in my life. But for now its time to embrace the next big adventure of mine, moving to Los Angeles. So my journey doesn’t stop here, I have so many new places to go, people to meet, and adventures to be had as I discover and fall in love with the sights and sounds of my new city, Los Angeles. Please continue on with me on my journey, its been the support of readers, the comments, and the over 10,000 clicks I’ve had on my blog, each one from you, the reader, that have encouraged me and given me confidence to keep writing about life, day by day. Thank You and lets keep going by visiting me at my new blog about my new life after moving to Los Angeles at:
Hvala Puno Dobri Ljudi!