07.02.2009 - 07.30.2009
This trip has been less about sight-seeing and more about catching up with friends before I start law school and am shoved so far into debt that travel will be rendered next to impossible. I'm happy that I managed to save enough money to travel for 2 months and hang out with people who I might not see again for years.
I'm a major proponent of travel - specifically travel that takes you outside of the bounds of well-traversed cities and countries and forces you to interact with locals in ways that aren't explicitly tourist-business related. Such travel has been incredibly rewarding to me and has provided me with some very good friends in Serbia.
On of my favorite things about the trip was how hospitable the average Serb was to me. Mateja, Andreja and their parents Bratislav and Mirjana did everything in their power to show me the best possible time. I met a great number of new friends. I visited places and experienced things that the average tourist to Serbia would never get the chance to do, let alone the average tourist (who doesn't typically visit Serbia). My experience with Slavic hospitality is highlighted by the fact that when we drove to Subotica in the northern province of Vojvodina we were put up by a girl who had only met us the previous day in Belgrade. Additionally, her boyfriend Vladimir (who had been an exchange student in Ohio the previous year) spent the following day showing us around. Slavic hospitality cannot be overstated. I was laughed at for offering to help pay for things and had I the gall to do so I'm sure that most of my friends would have given me the shirt off their back had I asked for it (which in the case of Dusan would have been quite the feat). It's very hard to pay back such kindness. I'm hoping that the people who gave me so much in Serbia will have the chance to visit America one day where I will do my best to return the favor.
So, for now - a very heart-felt thank-you to the Stankovic family, the Kitanovic family, the Kostadinovic family, Maja, Milica, Vladimir, Milan and so many others. I wish you all the best and hope that one day I can show you around my country.