Not a day goes by when I don’t have some memory of Mostar. Or consider some aspect of my life now in the context of my experience in Bosnia and Herzegovina. iI can be in the Starbucks, where I wait in line for a large weak coffee in a paper cup. I think of the many cafes, where the waitstaff bring to each table a tray of coffee in china cups with water in tall glasses, and a bill discreetly laid on the table. Here in the Starbucks, any Starbucks, customers wait in line. A rather democratic process, and one without charm.
It can happen when I am in the store, overwhelmed by the aisles of food and toothpaste. I stopped at a Wal-MArt just a couple of weeks ago. One of those super Wal-Marts that is the size of two city blocks, and I found myself impatient at the thought of walking and walking to the back of the store to find some milk. I found myself thinking with regret of my corner grocery with its limited choices, and 6 aisles of food and goods. I miss the bakeries on every corner, with fresh bread for each meal.
But then again, running on the trail near my house, I recall the daily challenge of dodging cars and dogs in Bosnia on my daily run. Here the air is clean, and the trail full of people exercising and enjoying nature. On the weekends, people gather for picnics, or scout field trips, or to play sports. Dogs are leashed; no stray cats roam through dumpsters. Everything is quite neat, and shiny. ( Except for the litter of casually discarded plastic water bottles that line the trail.)
I wish for more time to reflect on my experience. Should I convert all of what I experienced into a book? Into fiction? Into a non-fiction book? Would anyone read it? But to write honestly about my time in BiH requires time. And in the US, time is the most expensive commodity.