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Growing up in Europe

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

A very simple and natural lifestyle.


Born in '86.


Grew up in southern-east part of Serbia, a small town called Bosilegrad. My mothers land of birth. A city surrounded by forest, rivers and lakes. Four seasons weather like. Weekends were mostly spent in the country side, hiking to the farm house where grandparents lived. Picking up wild strawberries and mushrooms as walking along the trails.


Life in the country was very abundant and joyful. We had our own crops and farm animals to feed everyone in the family. As writing this, just remembering the mornings smell of freshly baked bread, goat cheese and running for fresh eggs at the chickens nest. If lucky 3-4 would be there. The country side surrounded by mountains, spring waterfalls, high walls of pine trees, nut trees, eagles flying above, wolfs and coyotes stumbling at night. As much as I can remember, we were in harmony with what we had.



Bosilegrad had a strong sense of community, sharing of resources and everyone knowing one another. Music, dancing folklore, summer soccer tournaments and roasting corn in the fall by the keo (river side) has been carried through generations. Folklore was my hobby. I started dancing at the age of seven. Traveled and competed often with a group of dancers in near by cities. In school, I was a rebel. It was very normal to be bullied by some kids and also some teachers. Defiantly did not fear the boys that were lifting my skirt as passing by in the hallway. A punch here and there. Tomboy kind of like. Enjoyed art, music and sports. Track, kickboxing was also something I practiced after school. Very competitive personality as a kid.


Summers and winters were mostly spent in Kosovo, small town called Suva Reka, country side Recane; my dads land of birth.


As the war hit in early 90's on the Balkans, everything shifted. The separation between the countries of Yugoslavia had a huge impact on the Balkan population. There was a lot of grief, sourness and bitterns amongst the different ethnicities. (I can't speak much of this how is today, because I haven't lived there since 2001).


My father was in military up to year of '91. After he resigned from the military, my parents opened up restaurant business and boutique. At the same time my mom was hustling the streets with diesel and cigarettes. Both of the business collapsed in '96, inflation high and simply no prosperity for growth. My parents seemed burned out and fed up with everything. Summer of 96' my father got seriously injured and was under medical care for 6 months. It was time for our family to make some drastic changes and decision was made to move to America.


The idea came because my mother had an uncle and a brother that was already living in Michigan so she was able to get a visa easily. During her childhood she was visiting America with her dad. In order for our family to move permanently to the states, we had to wait for immigration papers to be cleared by the government of United States. This process took about five years. My mom was working in America, 3 jobs, waiting and chasing the system for paperwork, meanwhile my father, brother and I had to live and wait in Serbia.


This transition and my mother making sacrifices for our family made me understand some things in depth once I hit my 30’s - simply to never give up on life. We were promised this summer, that winter, this fall, that spring... and the time drags when you are just waiting for something. She had no control over the paperwork when it was going to be released from the government. Patients, trust and faith was something we developed as a family.


(I'll be writing more in depth about this in my future novel).


Green light came in summer of 2001. September 11th, early morning we were getting ready to leave to the airport from Beograd, English Belgrade (capital of Serbia). However, because of the tragic (9/11) event happening in New York, all scheduled incoming flights to NY were cancelled. Our flight was rescheduled for October 13th, and we arrived at JF Kennedy, NY airport late at night. This was our layover on the way to Michigan.


What a city of dreams NY is. To be continued...


Much love,


Gasija

Journal 004





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