Last week Rasheid drove Dina and me all over the city on Friday for me to get the appropriate documents, stamps, receipts necessary for my white card and visa application. The Office of Security for foreigners was located waay on the other side of town, on the fourth floor in the back of a random building. As we turned off the main road into what appeared to me to be a construction site, than traveled up several flights of stairs, passed a furniture store(?) and into a hallway with a tiny office at the very end of it where a single man sat with a lit cigarette, stacks and stacks of files behind him. I actually thought we had entered the matrix and I had chosen the red pill. It was that kind of journey. Thank goodness for Dina and Rasheid Just the thought of trying to navigate the visa process with extremely limited Bosnian was enough to make me sweat. And Dina agreed, this is not just hard for foreigners to understand. The bureaucracy in Bosnia is a mess. "You must know how to talk to people," Dina told me as we left the last building, "this is not easy."
A bit more about my students. They are 18 19, and perhaps a few of them are 20. Like all students, it is a mix of personalities - some are talkers, some are shy. In general they seem to be a curious, engaged, and thoughtful bunch. The question I posed at our first class "tell me something you did over the summer" proved challenging for many but still I learned that three(!) of them had successfully memorized half of the Qu'ran. The other students were very excited about this news as well. I somewhat stupidly shared with them I once memorized Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven but this really seemed quite insignificant in comparison, although a few of them said they had heard of Edgar Allan Poe...
It's nearly five o'clock here now (these posts take some time often due to slow internet) an the building is almost entirely empty. Oddly, people clear out between 3 and 4 o'clock. I feel like a major work-a-holic for staying until 5. Ha. What a contrast to American workstyles. I also just received a text message that there will be no classes on Monday due to the Muslim New Year. So signing off to start my long weekend.
Vidimo se. (Farewell greeting which literally translates to, " we will see each other.")