By YES alumnus, Haris Jasarevic (2013-2014)
To countdown that first half of this January was pretty much the most difficult part of this whole experience. It’s been around seven months since I wave goodbye to my host parents, Lisa and Scott Norby on the MPS in Minneapolis and now I’m standing on the other side of a story, on International Airport Sarajevo, waiting for their plane to land and to finally host my parents, here in the country I was telling them a stories about, months ago. And the moment finally came. I saw them walking towards me and all good times spent with them flashed in my memory. And one man that enriched our story was my host brother who also came for visit, Daniel Castillo, their first host son from Colombia, and my good friend that I had chance to meet in person for the first time. It seemed like finally everything is in its place and all those months of waiting are finally worth it. We were ready to start our adventure.
In the beginning, neither my guests nor I had any plans how to spend those two weeks they are supposed to be here. We were just so fond of reunion and that was the only thing at least I could think of. We all needed one day to organize, them to take some rest and me to think what to do next. As of next day, we visited some of my family, some places in my hometown Visoko and generally just spending those first days catching up with each other.
Later, we decided to visit some of the places that are historically and culturally related to Bosnia, since my host parents wanted to know as much as possible about it. We went to visit Franciscan school/monastery and museum within, in Visoko where one lovely professor spent almost two hours giving us private tour and revealing some very interesting stories and facts that were unknown even to me. We also visited monastery in Fojnica, spent the day in Travnik, visited fortress over there and some more museums. We spent two days in Sarajevo, trying to see and experience as much as possible but still, Sarajevo is one incomprehensible beauty, you just can’t get enough of it, and my guests found this true. Spending the day on Bascarsija, eating cevapi, drinking from Gazi Husrev Bey’s mosque fountain after tour in mosque itself, experiencing the welcoming of Bosnian people we were meeting along the way, all of it were, even for me, (a true Bosnian guy) pretty exciting. We also visited Tunnel of Life, only life line for people in Sarajevo during war 1992-1995, and had a tour there and some pretty sad moments experiencing at least trough story and pictures the tough life our Bosnian had to go through.
The day after we went for a little trip in Mostar, Blagaj and Jablanica and it was fantastic day! We had so much fun that day and I’m pretty sure the city itself was much more then they all were expecting.
In the meantime, between those visits to different cities we were visiting some more cousins of mine, went to see my high school where they give a short speech to students and spent some time with them, discussing a life of a host parents and exchange students, spent some time with my English professor. In In all those small trips and visits we were doing, there were so many small moments, happened in between running for experiencing as much as possible, just regular things such as chatting in a car, hanging in a living room before sleeping, reviewing the day, making plans for tomorrow and that kind of round off whole this experience. And those were moments when I felt like nothing has changed. I was again physically part of this lovely family, enjoying every single moment with them and just being happy for a fact that I have such a nice people in my life.
After twelve awesome days we spent together, it was time to say goodbye, once more, but not the last time, definitely. It was unspeakably good to see them again, to enjoy their presence here and to make some new, excitement plans for next reunion. It was hard to say goodbye, but waving them with hope and intention to see them soon again bring the peace and happiness. After all, this was great way to start this year.