“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go?” - "Alice" “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” - "Cheshire Cat" This blog started of as a documentation of a personal journey as I moved to Sarajevo from Berlin in June 2012 because I fell in love with the city. And now that I am here, I want to share this experience with you. See you in Sarajevo!

 

It has been since quite some time that I have posted on tumblr. I do apologize for this! Before I start writing about my now life I will write two pieces about the near past. One will be about fasting during Ramadan and the other one about working for the Sarajevo Talent Campus. I think these two chapters were the most important ones this past summer. 
Until then, enjoy this lovely photo from Jajce! 

It has been since quite some time that I have posted on tumblr. I do apologize for this! Before I start writing about my now life I will write two pieces about the near past. One will be about fasting during Ramadan and the other one about working for the Sarajevo Talent Campus. I think these two chapters were the most important ones this past summer. 

Until then, enjoy this lovely photo from Jajce! 

Juliet my friend/ neighbor/ entrepreneur at her #laundry lounge in #sarajevo  #instawork #instafriends

Juliet my friend/ neighbor/ entrepreneur at her #laundry lounge in #sarajevo #instawork #instafriends

The second day of Ramadan here in Sarajevo is slowly finishing. My neighbors and friends decided to celebrate Iftar together after fasting all day. I originally wanted to make a peach-raspberry pie but after I failed to buy these two main ingredients I decided to bake this cherry-banana pie instead. (In Berlin I would sometimes drink KiBa which is a banana and cherry juice so I figured that it would make a delicious as a cake.) We also have some traditional dates and figs to break the fast with. And the flowers are from our amazing landlord. 
Juliet is going to serve fresh lemonade and mint tea, Boris made millet and swiss chard, while Kristen and Mary are just preparing vegetarian pasta. 
While we are all eagerly waiting to break the fast, Juliet’s cat Miska is acting (as usual) like she hasn’t eaten all day. Gotta love the starving cat act! 

The second day of Ramadan here in Sarajevo is slowly finishing. My neighbors and friends decided to celebrate Iftar together after fasting all day. I originally wanted to make a peach-raspberry pie but after I failed to buy these two main ingredients I decided to bake this cherry-banana pie instead. (In Berlin I would sometimes drink KiBa which is a banana and cherry juice so I figured that it would make a delicious as a cake.) We also have some traditional dates and figs to break the fast with. And the flowers are from our amazing landlord. 

Juliet is going to serve fresh lemonade and mint tea, Boris made millet and swiss chard, while Kristen and Mary are just preparing vegetarian pasta. 

While we are all eagerly waiting to break the fast, Juliet’s cat Miska is acting (as usual) like she hasn’t eaten all day. Gotta love the starving cat act! 

The storm this evening took me by surprise. Clouds above, around and about Sarajevo. #sarajevo #rain #whathappenedtomysummer

The storm this evening took me by surprise. Clouds above, around and about Sarajevo. #sarajevo #rain #whathappenedtomysummer

And I am back. I thought after months of neglect, the day before Ramadan is a good time to start blogging and sharing again. I took this photo of Sarajevo last night from a friend’s balcony, the view is simply amazing.  

And I am back. I thought after months of neglect, the day before Ramadan is a good time to start blogging and sharing again. I took this photo of Sarajevo last night from a friend’s balcony, the view is simply amazing.  

"This is not a job. It’s a lifestyle." (Faris Dobraca)

I was thinking about this particular quote from Faris, the focus puller from the set, as I got back to my Sarajevo home way past midnight, just in time to get ready, pack and 6 hours later catch a (few) flight(s) back to Budapest.

For the last 10 days, I have had the opportunity of being part of the Sarajevo City of Film team, which is part of the industry section from Sarajevo Film Festival. Sarajevo City of Film funds short film projects on a micro budget, with the aim not only of encouraging cooperation between the different South-Eastern European countries but also to showcase the young film talents from the region. The three selected this year were: Morning Prayers (Greece/Serbia), Holiday at the Seaside (Hungary/Romania) and MY! MY! MY Little Room! (Croatia). Different crew, different nationalities, different stories but the common denominator is their participation a the Sarajevo Talent Campus.

I was assisting both the costume and set department and I tried to make myself as useful as possible. I must admit my curiosity got the better of me at times because I found myself asking all sorts of questions to whoever happened to be standing next to me. So I got some great insights from actors, producers, assistant directors, costume designers…the list goes on. While their roles were very different, their common ground was not only making these three short movies happen but that they seemed so passionate about what they do. There is a really easy way to find out if someone enjoys what they are doing. Get them them to talk about it. If they start coming alive, that’s a tale-tell sign of it. As this quote by E.M. Forster, the English novelist so aptly puts it: “One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.”  And here I was amongst a whole group of passionate people! For someone who is not quite sure what they are passionate about, this is like a 24-hour, ‘all you can eat’ candy store which offers home delivery. Free of charge. Because you have to really love this line of work. Let’s face it. The hours are long, the work is intense and they pay is sometimes good, sometimes bad.

While my film set experience was up to this point rather limited (or non-existant as some might say), I soon started drawing parallels between my previous experiences and working on a set. Just like having a startup business, you work long hours, sleep little but the people love what they do. Just like in a design thinking project, you create a POW (sets) for your personas (characters) which deeply reflect and encompasses their personalities. Just like organizing an event, you need to make sure that all the bits and pieces are ready when it’s show time. 

And while this experience was educational on many levels, the most important lesson,  once again, as always, is the importance of team work. Coming from a business/ marketing and design thinking background, team work for me has been and always will be the most important element when it comes to achieving a goal together. This is why it is so crucial that you treat the people you work with as your biggest assets and with a lot of respect, regardless of what industry you are in. Film, startups, fortune 500, it doesn’t matter. Because they are the ones who will stay after-hours to work with you. Of course, friction is unavoidable and arguments always surface. And that’s normal. Because if you find yourself in a room where everyone always agrees with you then you have to take a look around because there is a big problem. The question always is how you deal with these situations and how to bring out the best of it. 

I have so many funny memories from all these shoots, like watching Amila and Neira from costume department fight over who gets to cut the fur of the cute rat they were making out of earmuffs, or decorating Sloga Club’s bathroom with wet towels and beer bottles while writing with markers on the wall to make it look filthy, or putting back someone’s apartment into the pre-shooting state which was simply a miracle. And I finally managed to have the B/C/S word: ODMAH! (Now!) being engraved into my memory thanks to it being repeatedly shouted again and again.  

I would like to finish off this post by saying thank you to everyone on the team. They were all really patient and super nice to me and I learned a lot from them. And special thanks to my departments, Amila, Neira, Dragan and Guma. It was a real pleasure working with you all, you are all such professionals and always smiling, I want you all on my next projects, whatever that may be. And who knows? Maybe I am going to choose a lifestyle over a job as well. 

Last weekend I impromptu joined my neighbour Boris in his hiking journey to Trebević. I have never been to the Olympic bobsleigh before and I was curious to see it. It is was a good hike, although Boris and I had to turned back we reach the peak because at times my legs were engulfed by the snow till my knee. 

We decided to walk from Alifakovac up to the bobsleigh and then continue from there. Despite the fact that it is a touristic attraction, there were no signs on the roads so I suppose most people take a taxi to the parking lot above it and then walk down. Maybe it is better this way. If you are not accustomed to several dogs barking at you, you must just turn back.

On the way to the bobsleigh we encountered beautiful patches of green, without trash.  I do wonder why no one is going there for picnics. The area was de-mined five or six years back! 

The bobsleigh and luge track was an important part of the 1984 Winter Olympics. However once the war broke out, it become a battleground, and you can witness the scars inflicted on the massive constructions. Chunks of it is covered by graffiti and you can see how it is disintegrating slowly. Nature is making her claim. 

On the way back we stopped by Biban, where we a hearty mezzo as our reward. The view is breathtaking, if you come in the summer you can enjoy it from the terrace. 

Spring.
We are waiting for you. We hope you will grace us with your presence in Sarajevo soon. And if you could bring an avocado with you, that would be superb. 

Spring.

We are waiting for you. We hope you will grace us with your presence in Sarajevo soon. And if you could bring an avocado with you, that would be superb. 

So it seems that someone drove into the Eternal Flame (a memorial for the victims of the Second World War) and then abandoned the car. I know there are not so many parking places around the city but come on! I am curious to find out why this person was driving in the pedestrian zone in the middle of the city centre. Thanks for the pic Kristen! 

So it seems that someone drove into the Eternal Flame (a memorial for the victims of the Second World War) and then abandoned the car. I know there are not so many parking places around the city but come on! I am curious to find out why this person was driving in the pedestrian zone in the middle of the city centre. Thanks for the pic Kristen! 

Our adventures ended next to the ski slopes at Bjelašnica where we had a last travel lunch and then proceeded to get back home with little enthusiasm.

I would really recommend everyone to visit Montenegro. It is only a few hours away by car from Sarajevo. You will be impressed not only with their recycling bins (a rare sight in the region) but you will also enjoy the picturesque treats nature has to offer and really friendly people. 

We spent the night in Plužine (Montenegro) and experienced first hand Montengrin hospitality. Our friend Zach was raving about about Zvono, which does not only serve excellent food and home-made rakija but also offers top-notch accommodation. We were in this cute wooden hut, just a few minutes walk from the lake Piva. In the summer you can do pretty much swimming, rowing, hiking but due to the weather we were not able to enjoy such pleasures. The owner is super friendly and gave us a goodbye present for the road, an old-school CD filled with jazz music. Our car was also filled with rakija, we decided to purchase a few bottles at Zvono. Luckily the Montenegrin border patrol officers were busy trying out some jet-skis and the stern lady from the BiH side also didn’t ask to see the trunk. Good news for us, great news for our friends!

We were already in Montenegro when we took these beautiful shots. The memorial looked extremely interesting, so we had to stop the car to take some pics. Maybe the architectural style could serve as an inspiration for Game of Thrones, it looks very imposing and impressive.

As we continued to head towards our next stop high up on the windy roads in a huge fog, suddenly a giant wooden log appeared out of nowhere in the middle of our lane. Juliet shouted, Kristen yanked the steering wheel, the car swirled and I?

I just screamed. 

In Trebinje, close to the Montengrin border, we had the chance spend a couple of hours to eat and walk around the city. The main square looked inviting enough with a small market and we could just imagine how much fun it must be to be sitting in one of the outdoor cafés during the summer. We also experienced one of our highlights from that day’s journey, a real cat fight which included a full James Bondesque jump-off-the-cliff session. 

Since Juliet was doing some research about Stećci (medievel tombstones from the 11th until the 15th century scattered around BiH and surrounding countries) our journey took us to a small town called Opličići not far from the Croatian border. We were looking for different patterns across the tombstones, clearly we were in the footsteps of Indiana Jones. Not even breaking into people’s gardens (is it breaking into someone’s garden when there is no fence?) stopped us from fulfilling our mission. It was also a bit like in the Jungle Book. Though we didn’t encounter any black panthers or bears, we had a stand-off (slide-off) with a snake and we faced some goats with attitude.

We found some really great Stećci patterns, but unfortunately some of the Stećcis were overrun by nature or were used as storage place for beer cases. Furthermore, the road to the Stećci biggest collection in the region was under water, as the men from the local café pointed out. As usual, they congratulated Juliet on her remarkable Bosnian and I wondered if I could somehow switch brains with her and how much that would hurt. 

Our first stop was Mostar. So far I have experienced the city only during the scorching summer heat, soI  prefer it during the cool spring time. Juliet’s friend Majda owns a hostel called Majda’s Rooms in Mostar and we stayed with her. I am not a big fan of hostels, I find them to be a bit of a gamble. But I was really impressed with Majda’s. The hostel’s kitchen/eating area looks like a giant living room full with bright colours and comfy cushions. Our lovely host served us and the other guests home-made (thank you Majda’s grandma) delicious jam and kajmak. The bedrooms were spacious and clean, while the huge garden will surely be a hit in the summer. The whole family is in works together in hospitality and tourism, her brother Bata is doing the famous ‘Legendary Tour' all year round in/around Mostar. 

You know when you are in a new city and you don’t really know where to get quality food without being ripped-off… Well, I am proud to say that I finally found an amazing restaurant in Mostar. Hindin Han is in the old town, very close to the bridge. Kristen had grilled mushrooms which tasted scrumptious and the seafood is excellent! All of our meals were superb so if you are in Mostar, check it out.