Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Skewed perceptions

Bosnia was never on my list of places I had planned on visiting.  Really... never.
Croatia?  Yes.
Slovenia?  Sure!
Montenegro?  Love to.
But Bosnia?  No way.

Since the end of the Yugoslav wars, Bosnia has been out of the spotlight.  Of course time heals all wounds and life goes on, but for an outsider who's last image of the country is one of little children playing in landmines, knowing exactly where not to step... it turns into the first image that comes to mind when the country is mentioned. All you're left with is heartache for the people, along with a hesitance to even visit... because for all you know, maybe no progress was made at all in the past 15 years. But that last thought is irrational. Logically life doesn't stand still, even for war ravaged countries.

Even with its history, I jumped at the opportunity for a long weekend Bosnian getaway when my friend Jeannine asked if I wanted to join her at some point during her own Balkan vacation.

I was called crazy.  I was given odd looks.  I was asked why I was even going.

I had no answer.  I didn't know myself, besides the fact that I had the opportunity.

Looking back on it, I've realized I went for the same reason I went to Mali (plus my most recent trip to Israel and Jordan)... to create a new image, a correct image- devoid of stigmas, of what the country holds. I didn't want the image of little children playing in landmines to be the only one that comes to mind when thinking of Bosnia.  Because, truly, it is so much more than the horrible 3 and a half year war.

1 comment:

Jeannine said...

So happy we saw it together!!! Remember, I would have been curled up in a miserable lonely ball in the middle of a snow covered street without you!