in Sarajevo

In BiH, often the most reliable way to send letters or packages is via the intercity bus.  It is normal to see someone come to the bus station to hand the driver a package or to pick up a package or letter. But yesterday, I saw a bus pull up, and the driver unload an entire living room furniture set. You know, just when I think I have witnessed it all. But then again, in Tallinn, I would see people carry some amazing large objects on the tram and bus: cords of wood, trees, and so on. 

In rainy Sarajevo today to give a talk at the University.  How it has changed since I came 4 1/2 years ago on a visit.  ATM machines, a fancy MacDonalds, malls, and so on. But its character remains, even under the shifting cityscape facade, increasingly dominated by glass buildings, shiny signs and so on. 

Four months in Mostar left me a little bewildered. So many people. So much traffic. So many people who speak English!  Sarajevo is truly affected by its international residents.  It is good to get away for a few days and experience life in another place. It is good to see the city in another season.  Although there were few tourists in the old part of the city, I did see the usual sight: excited middle aged American mom with her bored and embarrassed teenage son. ( Am I tourist? I have a residence permit to stay in BiH but I am not from here. I live here but I don’t.) While I expected snow and cold, it has been a very warm winter. I have yet to put my warm new boots to the test. The rhythms of a large city are drastically different. The slowness and smallness of Mostar makes, perhaps, the tension more present. 

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It has taken me four months to adjust to BiH, and in 6 short weeks, I return home, and almost immediately to work. I am not sure how one does that.

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