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Published Jun 17, 2015 Print

A Short Story

The repeatedly loud buzzer for the baggage claim startles us again.

It’s our third and final layover on this trip, but the BUZZ still gives us a mini-heart attack. We don’t travel overseas often, so we’re not used to the sounds of a typical airport. After all, for a family of four, the airline ticket prices add up quite fast and fairly significantly.

After nearly an hour is spent at the baggage claim, I look up at the airport signage in an attempt to figure out where to go next. My parents are well ahead of me, like one would expect. The words on the signs are in our native language and impatiently waiting for us are our closest family members that we’ve recently only seen over a computer screen. It’s time to step aside, Skype. It’s time to for us to embrace reality.

After the hugging, kissing, and typical airport movie scene concludes, the bipolar combination of hills and valleys in Bosnia gives us a sneak peak of beauty that the entire country possesses. The ride home consists of tears, laughter, and a seemingly endless supply of hugs from the family member that is sitting right next to you. By now, they’ve probably loudly exclaimed how they still “can’t believe you’ve grown to be this big.”

By the time you arrive home, the entire neighborhood is expecting your arrival. It is easy to see the smiles of young and old faces, smell the well-known Bosnian coffee, hear the beautiful call-to-prayer echoing from multiple loud speakers, and crave the delicious and meticulously presented Ćevapi from the amazing restaurant right down the street.

The next couple of weeks seem like the same, but they’re all different. We get to revisit family, but they’re different family everyday. We get to laugh and we get to cry, but the emotions change constantly. We get to go different places, but we always feel like we’re at home. By the time we leave again, we feel like we’re completely different people.

The Bosnian nightlife is unmatched; you get dressed up, take a gentle walk around town, eat some popcorn or ice cream from the street vendors, hop into a bar where a famous singer is every weekend, and wake up the neighbors in the middle of the night from your loud and obnoxious laughing… only to be up at 7 am to make sure the coffee is made and the table is set for a large breakfast.

However, what most people forget is that the Bosnian day-life, too, cannot be beat. Days are often spent making food together, enjoying the Bosnian nature, getting great life advice from the elderly Bosnian neighbors, and talking about the guy who surprised everyone at the latest American Idol-like singing competition from the Balkans.

Memories were shared, pictures were taken, new people were met, and new lessons were learned. Before we know it, the time to return home has come.

The kissing, hugging, and classic movie scene from an airport returns to the story. As we go through the security checkpoint, we turn around and wave goodbye to our loved ones. Just as we turn to begin to walk away…

BUZZ. BUZZ.

From a distance, the repeatedly loud buzzer for the baggage claim startles us again, as another family commences their summer vacation in Bosnia.

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