A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I finally made our way back to Serbia! After a year abroad, Subotica, Serbia had become our first European "home," and the sleepy city had found a way into the repertoire of our story. Our time in Serbia changed us so much that it is hard to put the lessons into meaningful words and sentences. I know that we will always remember our time in Serbia with fondness and deep gratitude. Over one too many cups of coffee, our group of friends said goodbye to us by focusing on the memories we had created in Subotica. The year had been full of picnics on Lake Palic, themed dinner parties, football and Frisbee games, sunny bike rides, family Slavas, and cultural home-cooked dinners. When Chris and I moved to Belgium in September of 2012, we promised our Serbian family that we would come back to visit as often as work and money allowed.
The truth is, the first six months in Belgium passed quickly. Transitioning into life in Belgium took longer than I had initially expected, and Chris' job proved very busy. I still feel like I am in a state of transition here, but I'm slowly finding my place and purpose in this new world. Getting back to Serbia was like a breath of fresh air - it felt like I was going home and waiting anxiously at familiar coffee shops for friendly arms to wrap me in a warm embrace. I remembered first stepping foot on the Korzo (main walking street) in Subotica, every face was the face of a stranger and every coffee shop was unfamiliar and new. What a difference one year in a new world can make, and how easily we can adapt if we allow ourselves to live openly and transparently.
So, for a few short days, we were back in Serbia, and it felt so good! We initially planned the trip for work, but after the trip was planned, we had a second reason for returning to our first European "home." I had received an email asking if we were interested in being on an episode of the American hit TV show: House Hunter's International. Initially I thought the email was a scam, but I replied anyway out of curiosity. Long story short, it was not a scam at all! An assistant producer for the TV show found our blog and liked our little story about transition from America to Serbia and then again to Belgium. They wanted to join us in Serbia to film the back story of what our life had been like there for the first year. For an entire day, Chris and I were followed around by a film crew of three. It was so fun because we were able to include our friends in the filming shenanigans. We all felt like movie stars for a day! We drank coffee at our favorite cafes, took casual walks up and down the Korzo and at the end of the day, we all enjoyed a traditional Serbian meal at Dibonis Winery; and the whole while we were being filmed.
We still have to film our main story for the show in Belgium, but our first day of filming in Serbia seemed to go well. Chris and I slowly got over the nervous jitters of being in front of the camera, and we settled into simply enjoying our dear friends from Serbia. My deepest desire is that the American audience will see the beauty of Serbia, the hospitality of her people, and the resilience of the human spirit rather than the broken sidewalks and the crumbling buildings. We truly treasured our time in Serbia, and I hope that the House Hunter's International episode about us highlights those special moments in our Serbian chapter.
Thanks for reading and keeping in touch! Once all of the filming is done, and we know when our episode will be in TV, we will post the details on the blog.
Most of the pictures below are of our filmed dinner at Dibonis Winery in Subotica, Serbia.