Greetings from Sarajevo! I apologize, I’ve taken very few photos since I’ve been here but hope to remedy that by the end of the day. So far my time here has been spent doing things like unpacking, going grocery shopping, and meeting my coworkers, none of which I felt like documenting at the time. Something I’ve already noticed here: nobody just sits around with their phone out all the time. I plan to behave the same way.
So my flight from Munich to Sarajevo was uneventful, in fact I fell asleep for the whole trip. We landed at the SJJ airport, where I was met by a local Embassy employee (holding a sign with my name on it, that’s like my favorite sight in the whole world for some reason), and he whisked me through the Diplomatic passport line where I gathered my first stamp on the thing (no visa required by the way, come visit!), and we gathered up my many pieces of luggage. (1 massive overweight suitcase, another large suitcase, one carry-on and one backpack full of my electronics and important documents…and peanut butter M&Ms.) I was glad to have help dragging this stuff around, I walked all of those pieces into the airport in DC and it was comical to say the least.
We went out into the lobby where I met my boss, who was easy to spot in his Hawaiian shirt (a Friday tradition.) He drove me to my new apartment and showed me all of the different features. I am 100% pleased with the place, it’s considerably larger than my apt back home, and while the couches aren’t my particular taste (green and gold jacquard!) I am not in the business of complaining about free things. Free things are awesome because they are free, if I get tired of looking at them I will cover them up. Boom.
You are probably wanting to see pictures of my apartment, and I promise to post a few, but I am NOT posting any that will give away my specific location, or the specific security features of my apartment. No pictures of doors, windows, alarm systems, furniture, etc. So that really limits what you will see here, but that’s just what will make me more comfortable. And keep me out of trouble.
On Saturday morning, my social sponsor took me grocery shopping to Mercator, a nearby superstore of sorts. I stocked up on a new hair dryer (110v appliances can sometimes be converted to work on 220v, but hairdryers just seem to turn into flamethrowers. I’d rather just buy a new one), cleaning supplies, and groceries, though I got home and realized I forgot to get a ton of things. My first grocery trip was mildly stressful, as I forgot to bring my dictionary/phrasebook and wasn’t able to look up what certain words meant. Overall I did ok, only because many of the labels were in German and I could figure it out. I also learned the process to get receipts stamped/signed in order to reclaim my VAT (value added taxes) once I get my Diplomatic ID card.
That evening, my sponsor and I went to a BBQ at my boss’s house. He fried up some wings (SO GOOD), smoked tons of chicken, ribs, and pulled pork, and I tried some local beer called Sarajevsko and a strong local liquor named rakija (tasted like moonshine, this one was pear flavored). I met a bunch of my new coworkers (all of them super friendly and gave me great advice on what things to see in/around Sarajevo), and I received my first Hawaiian shirt, so I can join in on Aloha Fridays at the office.
Got home and promptly slept for 11 hours…I haven’t quite beat this jet lag yet but I’m getting close. Today I’m off to go wander around Bašcaršija, the old part of town that’s right near my apartment. If only I knew how to pronounce it. So far so good!