Monday, November 27, 2006

Free to be me. Coffee and social control.

You know, I've said this before.

But, now, it's really and truly official.

We're leaving Bosnia.

There was a question as to our staying, but the huz didn't get the job we thought he might possibly get. So, that's all folks.

I feel oddly calm, which is very unlike me. It's very possible that I'm in a state of shock and will curl into the fetal position shortly. I'll let you know.

I've been on the fence about the whole staying/going situation. I see pluses and minuses to both. But there are definite benefits to leaving, small though they may seem.

Would it be sadly trivial to say that I'm looking forward to going out to coffee by myself without the staring eyes of the multitude? In Bosnia, it's unusual for people, especially women, to sit down at a cafe. Alone. That pretty much guarantees stares from onlookers. It's unusual, number one. And number two? Bosnian friends often talk about "social control," the idea that you shouldn't stray too far from the herd, that you should be more "like" than "un-like." The tacit understanding that independence should be discouraged and sameness encouraged. It's a difficult thing for an American. I'm kinda accustomed to the notion of radical individualism. (For better or for worse.) In Sarajevo, I often feel that sitting by myself at a cafe is an act of social defiance. It's something I didn't notice in the beginning. Now? I've become too sensitive to cultural expectations. And try though I might to stray from the herd, the herd always leads me back. Those accusing eyes...

So. Yes. I'm looking forward to migrating back to the West. Here's to rampant individualism, independence, and coffee!



Anonymous Jenny said...

Welcome back! We'll have a latte ready for you.

5:19 AM  
Blogger J. said...

Whoops. It would be like me to leave this out...We will be in the UK, not the U.S. and A. But there's latte there, too! (Or so they say...)

7:26 AM  

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