By Aleksandra Atanasovski
Where is Serbia?
Today, for all you lucky readers, I’ve decided to write a scab about the country that I hold closest to my heart. Where my family comes from. The proud nation of Serbia.
How can I explain to my family, that the first conversation I ever had with my boyfriend was about where Serbia is on the map? He had no idea. Slightly embarrassing but I’m used to it to be honest. Not many people have even heard of Serbia so at least he knew that much. And if they have heard of it, it’s because it’s where the First World War started. Great.
I’ll quickly dispel some common misconceptions about Serbia though.
No it’s not Siberia. No it’s not next to Russia. It’s a country surrounded by Hungary, Romania and Croatia.
It’s really convenient to speak Serbian because it means I can read Russian, kind of understand Bulgarian, Polish, and fully understand Bosnian, Croatian and Macedonian.
I’m a walking United Nations.
Are you still following? Good because we’re going to get into some serious Serbian culture now.
The north of my beautiful country Serbia is dedicated to skiing. The tracks are just incredible.
The south, where I come from, is the place where people usually find the best landscapes. If you want to lose yourself in nature or in the gorgeous countryside, in the middle of absolutely nowhere and eat like a Serbian piggy, then go to VRANJE.
If you want to party, get no sleep and drink like a horse, then you have to go to BELGRADE, the capital city.
To be fair, it’s a very greedy and thirsty country. That’s right. I said thirsty. They love alcohol and meat. What did you think I meant? Anyway, most of the dishes are grilled meat. Our dishes are for the most part like those of Turkey. Burek, Baklava and Sarma.
Even though I was born in France and surrounded by French people, my family just can’t seem to accept the fact that they’ve living in France and sometimes they don’t even realise it. My dad constantly talked to me in Serbian, watches Serbian tv in the living room, listens to Serbian radio and destroys Serbian meat like a wild animal.
It’s actually weird because he owns a construction company with my mom, and most of the time he doesn’t even try to speak French correctly. He always gets me to write messages for his French clients. But when I write it, his clients are always incredibly surprised by the way he talks when they finally meet him and realise he can barely speak French. But it doesn’t matter, I think they’ve just stopped caring.
With my Holidays, I have a strict obligation to go to Serbia every year. If I decide to spend a summer without seeing my grandmother it becomes a serious crime. She would even get ready to pay for my 400€ plane ticket on her bloody pension.
It’s is a poor country. Very poor. With an average salary of 300€ per month. But I never felt any feeling of misery while being there. Because we just don’t feel it. People are always smiling and very welcoming. They are smiling even if the country’s politics is picking up. Even if there are no job opportunities. Everyone gets together and eats together. When the meal is ready, everybody is invited to come and sit around the table (there is no way anyone’s eating alone in their room). You have to be there.
And it’s exactly what I miss the most in England, spending time around the table with my family and all of us just talking about everything. A family moment that we never skip, and brings us closer together every time.