mornings in Mostar

The light wakes me up at sunrise.  I turn on the stove to boil water while I put away the bedclothes. Lately I have been sleeping on the pullout sofa in my living –room because the only warm room, the only room with a heater is here,  My stove is small and takes a while to heat up.  I usually make Bosnian coffee.  I have tea kettle but instant is not quite coffee to me. Bosnian coffee takes time and patience.  You boil the cold water and then add just enough coffee. For those who have never had Bosnian coffee, the coffee is ground very fine, almost to a powder.  If you add too much coffee, or it is not boiled enough, then it tastes like chalky mud.  Too little coffee is like drinking muddy water. If I forget the coffeepot is on the stove, then it boils over creating a muddy mess.  You can really make one cup at a time this way because when it is cold or lukewarm, it is unpleasant.

Then I dash to freezing bathroom, and spare room, where my clothes are drying. I put my running clothes on the heater to warm up, before I hurriedly change into them.

While I try to drink a cup of coffee, and check my email on the iffy internet,  my rescue kitten meanwhile insists on lots of playing, dashing from room to room. I can’t find cat toys here so we have ping pong balls, and paper tied to string for fun. Or sometimes, she enjoys attacking my gloves. This kitten has recovered from her trauma of abandonment and now does many a flip and triple twists around the house.

Then, I clean up the kitchen/living room. I sweep the carpet and then vacuum.  This reminds me of my first apartment in Estonia with the television that blew up one day and the vacuum that made noise but never worked.  I have very small shelf space, which means crumbs tend to fly everywhere. A constant battle to keep the floor clean.

After my run, which involves darting around cars, and ignoring people who stare, and inhaling wood smoke, I get home to perhaps put my clothes out on the terrace, if it isn’t raining or windy or I have to get to the university.

 Before I go to work, I go to the grocery store, and fill a bag to take home. Red peppers have disappeared from the shelves.  The produce is limited to local availability.   Eating local produce has spoiled my taste for such things as the bananas that lose their flavor as they trucked in from elsewhere. You have to buy bread fresh each day, because it has no preservatives.  

 On my days off, it is time to do another load of laundry. Thankfully, my landlord just installed a washing machine so my days of hand washing are over.  There was/is something quite pleasant about washing by hand but it does take time when you are washing sheets and towels, which are nearly impossible to wring dry. If you don’t plan ahead and constantly wash, nothing is dry in time. 

It is a labor intensive life I have here.  While I don’t miss the traffic or relentless energy of Northern Virginia, sometimes I miss American coffee.




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