It was rainy and cold in eastern Bosnia, much colder than the previous days spent in Sarajevo. After being bundled into a stuffy bus for a few hours, though, the slight drizzle felt refreshing. We had stopped at a rural gas station for a restroom break, no more than an hour from the border with Serbia. We waited under the pavilion for the bus to depart, passing around a fifty-cent chocolate bar from the store inside. The flavor was thick and sweet, what felt like a much-needed indulgence in preparation for what was to come.
Continue reading “An Answer for Srebrenica”
The weather app on my phone isn’t working, though maybe working incorrectly is the best way to put it. By most indications, everything is perfectly normal; backgrounded by a slowly shifting vista of blue-grey clouds, a rounded, minimalistic font reads cloudy and fifty-one degrees. But, if the raindrop impacts on my window are any indication, its prediction is incorrect.
Continue reading “Seeking Out Schrödinger’s Cat”
An abandoned school lies among the neighborhoods dotting the outskirts of Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital city. Forgotten by some and removed from the public eye, the school is unimposing, yet instantly recognizable. Jutting out amongst the winding alleyways, the building’s unmistakeable silhouette rises above the surrounding homes. The home is now abandoned, its fire-blackened walls crumbling into the hallways. There are few indications that it used to be a place of learning; looking from the outside, it appeared to simply be a burned-out shell of a building. Yet the piles of desks and faded chalkboards at the head of several rooms made the building’s former purpose clear.
Continue reading “Remembering the Underground Schools of Kosovo”
Every time I travel outside the U.S., I bring a book of photos back with me. In part, it stems from a need to remember wherever I have been. But it also lends me new artistic perspectives, allowing me to both better my photography and understand how the country’s artists have imagined their surroundings.
Continue reading “Reclaiming Identity in Srebrenica”
It was Sarajevo that originally brought me to the Western Balkans. A novel about the Bosnian city, of all things. In high school, I had read Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo, the story of four characters living through the four-year siege of the city. It may have been fictional, but Galloway’s retelling left its mark. When I first searched the name of my study abroad program, it was The Cellist that was on my mind. It was The Cellist that informed my decision to sign up, and The Cellist that colored my initial expectations of the region.
Continue reading “A Rose in a City Square”
It was a chilly afternoon in Belgrade, and my group and I had already seen a lot. For the past few hours we had toured much of the city, stopping at places like the grave of Josip Broz Tito and the National Assembly building. All of the locations we had seen were politically significant in some way or another, part of a crash course on recent Serbian history. But what we were about to see was different.
Continue reading “In Wake of the Tomahawk”
On any other day, Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Park would have been relatively peaceful. Usually it would have been filled with people taking walks, groups of tourists and teenagers meeting their friends. Yet today a large crowd of people had gathered at the edge of the park, at an overlook above the Sava river. Just finishing a political tour of the city, my group and I joined them. In the middle of the crowd stood a cluster of soldiers- some in ornamental dress, others in camouflage – and a brass band to their left. To their right stood a group of politicians in dark suits. and in the middle of it all, half a dozen cannon barrels silhouetted against the sunset.
Continue reading “Cannons in a Quiet Park”
The road through Belgrade was quiet at 4 A.M. Besides the occasional whir of another car speeding by, my taxi was largely alone on the road. Through the windshield I could see the last traces of apartment blocks pass by as we left the outskirts of the city. Somewhere beyond the limits of my vision, I knew the airport waited, its converging neon runway lines already lighting up the pre-dawn darkness.
Continue reading “This is a Self-Portrait”