23.8.12

Farewell Subotica, Serbia

After a year, we are packing up our life in Subotica, Serbia. 
This packing disaster looks strangely familiar to me. Exactly one year ago, we were unpacking those very same boxes and beginning to arrange our new life in Subotica, Serbia. Luckily, our Serbian apartment was fully furnished; so only 30 boxes of personal items made the trip across the ocean with us. As Chris worked, I initially filled my days with unpacking and Serbian language studies. I self-taught myself by writing common Serbian phrases on post-it-notes and carrying those little, yellow helpers all over town.

Shortly after we moved, we met Marko, Lela, Sanela, Darko, Zoran, Sladjana, Danijela, and Nikola. They were warm, inviting and interested in our story; because of their acceptance, we started to feel more like friends than foreigners. Eventually, I started teaching private English lessons, and that provided me with some structure as well as flexibility in my schedule. With my first paycheck, I bought a juicer, and that juicer started every day with me. When Chris was able to take time off of work, we traveled! It's our dream to see as much of the world as possible, and we tried to make the most of our first year in Europe.

After a year, we had friends, we could communicate and we were generally comfortable in Subotica, and then - just like that, we were back to square one. Chris' company decided to transfer him to Belgium, so with that decision, our dusty packing boxes found their way out from under our bed. For a month, we sorted and packed and cleaned and said tearful goodbyes over many cups of coffee. As I reflect on our year in Serbia, I have to say that I'm glad it was hard for us to say goodbye; those emotions prove that we deeply invested in Subotica. We were more than two strangers passing through; for a year, we were immersed in the Serbian culture and we fell in love with Her people. This is the adventure that we signed up for, so while we're excited to call another country "home,"we will always have a special place in our heart for our first European home - Subotica, Serbia.

Just a few pictures of our last couple days in Subotica:

My Serbian bike is making the trek to Belgium - numbered and ready to go!
Last dinner with our awesome friends in Subotica (we are missing Danijela).
In front of the Subotica library. 
My last palacinke (crepe) at Boss Caffe. This was my favorite dessert. 
A sweet goodbye gift from our friends.
Wearing our American flare for the final farewell. 
We will miss you so much!! You are all invited to Belgium!
Last glimpse of Subotica's City Hall. 
When we moved to Serbia, we had no idea what to expect. A lot of people grimaced when we mentioned where we were moving, and even more people asked us to point Serbia out on a map. Chris and I moved without any judgements or expectations and we decided to make the most of our time in Serbia. I found a quote by Aldous Huxley that touches a cord in my heart, "To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries." 

Next stop on our little adventure: BELGIUM!!

Thanks for reading!!