"Before the 1990s, we were like drunk Americans!" a friend proclaimed in a Sombor cafe to me as he expounded on the history of the area. "We had good schools, free apartments, cars, we could travel anywhere we wanted ... even the cleaning women had $10,000 a month!"
It's a theme I've heard before many times from my husband's lips, although for him the time was the 1970s that were truly golden in Yugoslavia (before he grew up and had to try to find a job in the 1980s that interested him remotely.) He can speak for hours quite poetically about the free apartments, free healthcare,
I conducted a quick experiment a few days ago. I went to all three of the US presidential candidate's official web sites and searched for any mention of Kosovo or Serbia. Nothing. Next, using their online forms I wrote each a note explaining that I am a blogger covering Serb-American affairs for two blogs and did they have any position on the US recognizing Kosovo's independence that they would like to share with my readers?
Within 24 hours I received form letters, the gist of which was, 'thanks for your interest, but I am too busyto answer your question. Please contribute to my
And now for something completely different from current politics... and yet, sadly, just about as depressing. A few B92 blog readers have emailed me asking if I have any tips on teaching their wives/girlfriends/boyfriends Serbian. Here's what I know - if you have any tips to add please do.
#1. Be nice. Serbian is a very hard language to learn.
In the first throes of love or infatuation, your new partner will inevitably volunteer to learn your language. Then he or she will actually try to learn some. Unless he or she is a language-genius or you live fulltime in Serbia surrounded
Over the past nine months, since I've begun blogging, no fewer than five Western businesses have approached me wondering if I'd like to work for them in their new Serbian office. None of them knew anything about my skills, education, experience, or had even met me in person. They only knew I was an American businesswoman who now lives part of the year in Serbia. They've ranged from bio-tech companies to Internet firms.
Although Western companies do, on occasion, aggressively headhunt top qualified candidates for key positions, pinging random bloggers to see if they want jobs is not
If you yourself are a Serb expatriot (of which I suspect thousands surf B92 weekly) or you are a foreigner married to a Serb, I've started a new Facebook group for us to gather. It's free, but you must be a Facebook member (which is also free.) I've learned though this blog and my own separate blog that I'm not the only non-Serb out there who is in that crazy world of being married to a Serb. So, I figured, let's make company for each other!
#1. If you are not on http://www.facebook.com already, create a free account for yourself. You can create a
Just got back from Nepal, where I got many emails from Belgrade friends saying if we are going to buy in Belgrade, now is the time before prices go insane. Belgrade is cheaper now than Zagreb and Zadar where my husband's parents still live. And what with favorable politics, rich Russians and Kosovo-ites and perhaps loads of East-West spies and diplomats all descending on Belgrade - plus the looming someday maybe of EU membership - I guess we'd be crazy not to buy.
But then I wonder if it's a good investment after all. Prices seem very high in relation to typical salaries. Any
Per our discussion on Serbs in Diaspora that sprang out of comments in my last blog post, I just phoned Ivana Cerovic, who is the Conference Organizer at America's Serbian Unity Congress, for details about the upcoming conference. In case you're interested, here's what I discovered:
* the 17th annual conference is being held in downtown San Francisco
I've been thinking a lot about citizenship recently both because of Serbia's political debate about new citizenship laws, and also because many B92 readers have emailed me letters (thank you!) often mentioning they themselves are citizens of multiple countries. Many members of my extended family including my Father, also have multiple citizenships. I'm not qualified to comment on political debate, but I can extend three practical considerations:
#1. Useful papers vs heartfelt allegiance
I've noticed as people start collecting citizenships, the importance and meaning of
A reader just emailed me to ask about retiring in Serbia. I'm not retired yet, but definitely considering things. Plenty of expat Serbs do retire in Serbia now, and that number will increase phenomenally if/when economic and political stability are on the horizon. Here are my tips and I'd love to hear yours:
o Cheap living -- Belgrade is pretty pricey (although not compared to London, New York or Boston), but other places, such as my part-time hometown of Sombor Serbia are remarkably cheap. You can buy or build a house for very little, perhaps 100k Euros for a nice house in the best
Thanks to the Internet and a forbearing boss, this year I left formal office life behind to live anyplace in the world (with Net access) that my heart desires. My heart, as it turns out, pretty much desires to live wherever my husband is.
That said, although I loved our time this summer and fall in his hometown of Sombor Serbia, when he announced we were moving to Nepal for the winter so he could do some trekking, I was So Not Excited. I bitched, I moaned, I whined, I was not a pleasant person. I never wanted to own hiking boots and 3rd world countries don’t sound enticing