I am maneuvering, tip toeing, sidestepping these days around the cobwebs that this blog has gathered recently. It seems my last post was (gasp!) over three weeks ago. Obviously, this summer has not been a good time for my blog. I’ve been completely taken over with responsibilities from my job, to the point that I (gasp gasp!) haven’t had time for personal blogging.
So, for those out there who still read this blog (that is, my mom and that one other friend who has me in their Google Reader), here’s a little update on what I’ve been doing lately:
I think I’ve written briefly about her before, but you can get a sneak peek at what I’m working on at www.missirby.com. Miss Adeline Irby was a missionary who can to Bosnia over 100 years ago and became a national figure of hope and progress during a time of civil unrest and upheaval. I’m in charge of developing a website to go with the release of a book about her life. Don’t worry — I didn’t write the book!
This is a site that you can’t yet get a sneak peek at, but I’m working on it too. It should be up some time in September, and it will be the central web home for the organization I work with here in Bosnia.
I’ve been working on finding office space for our organization here in Sarajevo, and (yay! I’m just into parenthesis for this post) I was able to find us a space and negotiate a contract for us this past week. So, the next several weeks will be filled with moving in and decorating our new physical home here in the city.
Going Out Of Town
I’m going out of town today with my wife to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Besides this quick trip, we were just out of town last week for several days, and we’ll be going out of town on business next week for 3 days. So, I’ve been doing all this, while also being absent half the time.
Thanks for taking time to catch up. That’s about all I have time for today. Take care, faithful reader.
Today, a student from Sarajevo took me and a friend up to Barice, which is above Zmajavac, to enjoy the panoramic view of Sarajevo for a few minutes. It was a great excursion, and a great opportunity to get to know someone as they showed us pieces of the beautiful lands that surround Sarajevo. The panorama above is a shot from Zmajavac, where a graveyard (and now also a busy cafe bar) overlooks the city. It was great.
This is Memorial Day weekend in America, one of the biggest weekends for travel in America, and also a special weekend to remember those who gave their lives in defense of the United States and for the cause of freedom around the world. It is most interesting that, on this most sacred of American holidays, a country on the other side of the world is now finally putting to rest a haunting chapter of their own history, as they bring to justice a man who has harmed the freedom of many in this region.
Yesterday the Serbian government announced that they have finally captured and extradited General Ratko Mladic, the general of the Bosnian Serb forces during the 4-year Bosnian War, the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War 2. It was surprisingly convenient, of course, that Mladic happened to be found this week, hours before the visit of the European Union’s Foreign Policy Cheif, Catherine Ashton. Now the last remaining obstacle for Serbia to become a candidate for EU membership – capturing Mladic – has been removed and Serbia is free to seek the EU’s embrace. The general had been in hiding in Serbia since the end of the war in 1996.
I have to say, though, learning the language has made the situation a hundred times more fascinating and real. Now it is possible to go back and listen to old interviews of Mladic and understand him as he speaks of the war from his perspective. It helps a once-naive American to further realize that there are often no easy answers in the world of war and politics.
The videos below all have English subtitles.
This is Mladic upon entering Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia:
This is an interview with Mladic about the situation in Bosnia in 1995.
Yesterday, my family and I made a day trip to the Bosnian city of Jajce, northwest of Sarajevo, near Banja Luka. The drive took about three hours, and afforded views of some of the most beautiful countryside in Eastern Europe. Jajce was wonderful: the city is complete with a medieval fortress, fortified walls surrounding the old town, and several huge stone gates guarding the historic entrances to the city. In addition to the ancient feats of construction, there are several beautiful waterfalls and lakes in the town’s vicinity, making it great fodder for a day-long escape from the requirements of the big city.
“For next week,” my professor announced, “your homework will be to write a short essay — just one page, Jonathan, nothing too long — about your latest project.” As the words flowed from her mouth, I immediately thought of my involvement in a project to help in the publishing of a book about the life of one Miss Adeline Paulina Irby. I am currently reviewing a book that has yet to be published about her life and travels in and around Bosnia during the late 19th century. It has brought me such great pleasure to be involved in such a project, because of its potential to bring people together and celebrate one woman who meant so much to this land, one century ago. » Read the rest of this entry «
“When in Rome,” some have said, “do as the Romans do.” One thing this blog has revealed (to even my own surprise) is my own penchant for pithy sayings and proverbs. It is always easier to write when you have some wise statement from which to draw. When you come to Bosnia, unless your life is an unfortunate cycle of going from the office to bed, and then back again, you will inevitably “do as the Bosnians do,” which means that you will spend countless hours “on coffee”. » Read the rest of this entry «
Skakavac was incredible! If you read yesterday’s post, you know that my wife and son and I were planning to go out to Skakavac, a waterfall about “5 miles” outside of Sarajevo. The short version of the story is that we went, and it was great, and we didn’t even get to see the waterfall! » Read the rest of this entry «
Today we are taking a short trip to Skakavac, a waterfall about 5 miles outside of Sarajevo. Like most European cities, Sarajevo is very densely populated near the center, but sparse around the edges. So you don’t have to go very far to feel like you’ve made a real trek.
Thinking about what our family could do together this weekend made me think about my own experiences as a child, growing up in America. My family took many trips on weekends over the years to try to give my sister and I an idea of the beauty and history that surrounded us. » Read the rest of this entry «
Today I received word that our visa (“Boravak”, in Bosnian) has been finished, and the papers are available for me to pick up. Thus ends a long period of waiting and uncertainty. It’s as if part of our stay here in Sarajevo has been validated. We are now legitimate inhabitants of this country, free to do as we please. » Read the rest of this entry «
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Welcome to Language Year
This is a personal blog that I started as a creative and fun way to keep track of what I am doing this year as I learn the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language. I blog once a day to chronicle my experience.