I’ve had some erratic food patterns in the past, to say the least, including a few month stint as a vegan for a project in high school, and spent years as a pescetarian. further, if we are friends IRL (in real life…) then you are likely aware of my other food habits (if you don’t know then either contact me or stay blissfully unaware!).
I’ve never been a huge fan of red meat, although I did love my father’s home made blue cheese hamburgers and the occasional steak. however, before heading to Bosnia for the summer (where it’s nearly impossible to survive without red meat) I realized that I should at least test my body with some red meat. so, while home in delightful Portland, Oregon, I asked my dad to prepare his daughter some meat! he took me to the nearby meat store (butcher shop?) and the meal he prepared (steak salad with mixed greens and gorgonzola) was totally delicious.
a few weeks ago my dad emailed me an article stating that the meat market/restaurant we went to is ranked in the top 10 nation wide for best new restaurants! the Laurelhurst Market is a mere 5 blocks from my parents home. score for NE Portland! definitely made me feel happier about the choice I made to finally start eating beef again.
on my trek to work every morning, I pass an elderly woman sitting on the corner of a driveway with her hand out. she never says anything to anyone, and I won’t assume she’s homeless, although she is likely to be unemployed (observed by the fact that she is begging for money, and that the unemployment rate in Bosnia is between 40-60%). I realized today that I have walked past her everyday (minus the one day she wasn’t there and I sort of freaked out, only to see her perched half a block up the road) and I’ve never given her money. I think I’ve given money to a handful of “beggars” (I use that term loosely. not sure what to categorize people who are asking for money) in my lifetime. it’s more of a guilt thing… I feel strange giving money to some people and not others. on what basis do I give money? if I have it in my pocket? if I feel sympathy for their situation? right place/right time? if they don’t “look” like they are drug addicts? who I am to judge. so thus, I don’t have a standard; I typically don’t give.
but today I gave that woman 5 marks, which is the equivalent of $3.31 US dollars. what can 5 marks buy? 5 scoops of gelato, 1.5 kilos of chicken, 3 bottles of wine, 8 loaves of bread, an entire huge basket full of fruits/veggies (a kilo of potatoes is .5 marks, a kilo of nectarines is 1 mark). in the past 3 days I don’t think I’ve even spent 5 marks. sidenote, I am living meagerly since I’ve been here, due to some extreme complications with my student loans. so yes, 5 marks is meaningful.
and in all reality, those 5 marks could have made a bigger impact on someone’s life than my 6 weeks of volunteering at this NGO. you never know.
my definition of beauty has changed since arriving in Sarajevo on Saturday.
these scars on the ground, created by mortar, are filled with red plaster, to represent love, blood, death, and beauty. I have seen damaged cities. but Sarajevo is different. the destruction is from a war. every building is damaged. the city is now beautiful, cosmopolitan, and peaceful. but the scars are the building are a constant reminder of what can happen. and what did happen. many Sarajevans dont speak about the war, especially what they saw and experienced during it. Ive heard a few extremely graphic stories that only make me sad.
I have been in Europe just over a week now. I am adjusted. I continue to question whether or not I am an experienced traveler, or if I am just mellowing out over time. nothing here stresses me out. I found my internship after my 90 minute commute and didnt miss a step. maybe its Sarajevo. maybe its me. but everything makes sense here, even if its not ideal. the keyboards are strange (where is that apostrophe key?!), the conversion rate keeps messing me up, and I have been sick since arriving in Budapest. but overall, life is fine. more than fine. maybe I wanted to do HIV/AIDS work in India. and maybe it will be difficult to explain my experiences to those in my program, due to the fact that half of us are in the same country and it will not seem as “interesting”. but this is my summer. and I am not here for me. I am here for everyone else.
I can learn from the Bosnians.