I recently returned from Sarajevo, Bosnia and while it wasn’t the first time I have been there, this time since I went with my hubby and in-laws, all of whom haven’t been back to their motherland in 14 years! Needless to say, this time around was less about visiting museums and historical sites and more about meeting and visiting extended family members and friends. Who knew I was now related to about half of Sarajevo?!
I’ve spoken before about trying to learn the language, and while I’d say my understanding rate is still pretty low, I have certainly mastered the art of hellos and goodbyes, which we’ll consider a small success!
A visit to a Bosnian household is quite a treat. While in America the custom may be (at least in my house), “can I get you anything to drink?”, and when the person responds “no, thanks”, to just leave it at that, this absolutely doesn’t fly in Bosnian hoods (which are referred to as “mahalas”.) Every time we’d visit a house, we were served a huge spread of traditional Bosnian coffee, juice, sparkling and still water, and sweet and savory treats. They wouldn’t take no for an answer, I tell you! And of course it would be considered rudest of rude not to accept. End story: it’s a good thing we came back when we did or we would have been rolled onto the plane!
One of the highlights of the trip was a beautiful dinner arranged by the family where they took my love for the story “The Little Prince” and provided Bosnian versions of the book for all the guests and a Little Prince cake! Completely, completely touched.
Seriously, Sarajevo hospitality just can’t be beat, and I feel really blessed to have such a wonderful culture of people to now call family.
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He’s the inspiration for her first published children’s book, “Park Avenue Pound Puppy.” The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.
Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.
She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York…as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.