Bosnia’s staples are meat, cigarettes, and coffee.
Before my first visit, Emina told me I had to try ćevapi.
While I was there, Jasmin offered me ćevapi.
I declined, “Ja sam vegetarijanka.”
To which he responded, “Ti si bolesna.”
To him, being vegetarian is an illness.
In Bosnia, my hair smelled like an ashtray.
Dunja told me that she can be completely alone,
Yet if she holds a cigarette between her thin fingers,
She is with a friend.
The Turkish coffee is strong and bitter.
It’s served after every meal
And accompanies each meeting of friends.
The average drinking time per cup of coffee is two hours.
I don’t eat meat.
I don’t smoke cigarettes.
I don’t drink coffee.
I don’t fit in, in Bosnia.
And yet there is no expectation
That I would or should fit in.
I don’t come from Bosnia.
My family doesn’t come from Bosnia.
My closest friend doesn’t come from Bosnia.
I spent my elementary school years
I never felt completely at home
In any of those places.
I needed different accessories
And different activities.
Even when I made new friends
I still felt the absence of nearby family.
Although I don’t fit in, in Bosnia,
I belong there.