Dragana


AUDIO

Dragana Loelke (Gaga to her friends) a physician living currently in Rome, notes, “Journalists are generally the only ones who talk about the conflict. They inevitably ask us if we are Serbian, Croat, or Muslim” (Loelke, audio interview, 2012). She says, there is an expectation that individuals can speak for the whole.

 Loelke describes the result of war as a disruptive force resulting in a situation where friendships and familial relationships where "exploded" across the globe (2012). She says,

We return almost yearly to visit family. My parents are gone now, but we still return to visit. Sarajevo has become a city of old people waiting for younger family to return in the summer. It is stuck with no new ideas or energy to move forward from a sad past. I rarely see my friends on these trips. We keep in touch through email, Facebook and Skype, and we all return to visit our aging family, but our schedules do not coincide. (2012)
 
Dragana

Sasha


AUDIO

Sasha Cvetkovic stated at the beginning of the interview, "you want to know what place I prefer" after I posed the question about negotiating home and homeland (Cvetkovic, audio interview, 2012). In response, he describes his experience of home,

I like to say; I have four lives packed in one. I was born in Zagreb, Yugoslavia and had an enjoyable time growing up. When the war broke out, we eventually moved to Belgrade, which started phase two of my life. Once in Canada, I started phase three. Here, I was able to finish school, and complete a Masters in Architecture. It was important for me to study the threshold where the land meets the sea…. I decided to do my thesis in Montenegro…on the peninsula Luštica.  It is a very special place that made me work 10,000 km away from the site… After I finished the degree, I decided to come back… meaning come back to this region, where I have spent my summers and to my thesis site, to bring it alive. I call this my fourth phase. Now I am starting my fifth phase. I am not sure what this will be, but I recently got married and had a son, he is special. Now, I am the crossroads again. (2012)
 
Sasha

Kristijan


AUDIO

Kristijan Derkovic initially joked, “Give me 20 Euros to tell you about living in Sarajevo during the war, and another 20 Euros to tell you about life in Miami afterwards. I will tell you stories you won’t hear on CNN.” “I’m a 40 Euro baby” (Derkovic, audio interview, 2012).

Networked between his Yugoslavian identity (most immediately evident in the YUGO tattoo in Old English letters embedded in the skin of his left arm), and his American identity within hip-hop culture evident in his choice of clothes, cultural knowledge, and speech. Up on the latest American cultural products from music through to adopting hip-hop language, Kristijan describes his war experience as some of the best years of his life, where he met his first girlfriend, and made good friends.

Yes, we were always scared to get shot. We found ways to have fun. You do what you have to do to get by. It was hard, but my struggles are not any worse than anyone else's (2012).
 
Kristijan

Bojan


AUDIO

Bojan Djuricic, a teacher in Toronto, opened the interview with a political discussion concerning the future of the Balkans if they joined the European Union (Djuricic, audio interview, 2012).

Djuricic's yearly return to the former Yugoslavia includes a trip to his family cottage in a coastal fishing village in Croatia. In this interview, he describes the yearly trip as completely different from his childhood memories. He recalls memories of what he learned and notes that it was a magical place where his grandparents were friends with the local fishermen, bought local wine, food, and enjoyed friendships. After the war, it was not easy to resettle as a summer resident. He says,

The cottage has been in my family since my grandfather’s day. It was ransacked during the war. We restored the building but left the swastika graffiti on the outside wall because it is part of the history of the building. We have break-ins while the house next door that has been empty for 10 years, is left alone. We will never return full time to the Balkans because in another decade we predict there will be fighting again. I do not want my daughter to grow up with war. Knowing that there will be war again, I cannot put my family through it. (2012)
 
Bojan

Dejana


AUDIO

Leading up to the interview, Dejana Erich describes realizing that she has not dealt with issues of displacement caused by the conflict, neither while it was happening or afterwards. She "fully embraced life in Canada," rarely looked back (Erich, audio interview, 2012). She notes that she began to think about the context in which she became a refugee more since returning to Sarajevo in 2011 and in preparing for this research project. She says,

I do not know if I could return permanently. Though I feel torn between these two places, there are few ways to make a living in Montenegro. As warm and vibrant as it is in the summer months, the town of Herceg Novi is small, cold, and empty in the winter. I am not sure there is a future for my children here, and I am not sure there is a place for me to make a living. Still, I am drawn to it – and while I continue to develop projects locally, some aspects of life in Novi and the Balkans in general are difficult to reconcile. As progressive as the younger generations are, unfortunately they are still held back by the legacy of their predecessors – discrimination, nepotism, corruption, and general economic hardship still plague the region.  (2012)
 
Dejana

Adnan



Adnan Saciragic lives most of the time in Prince Edward Island, Canada. He says that he mostly thinks about the past and how it has framed his life and how he sees his future. He escaped the war and ended up living in a small community, but the past influences who he is and has shaped his life.

Sarajevo. It’s been almost three years since I was last in Sarajevo. And, even though I dream about it, and even with my eyes closed still map the route from one grandmother’s house to the other grandmother’s house and along the way, where to get the bread…it just doesn’t seem like an attainable thing at the moment. (2015)
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Adnan

Amra



Amra Ikic was born in 1991 and her family moved to Georgia, USA at the end of the war. Up until recently, she returned each summer to Bosnia and thought she might return permanently. She realizes now that it returning is not so easy, the economy and the culture make it difficult to return. Life here is easier for young people.

When I am in Bosnia, I feel a connection. But, there is a missing piece there because people will view you differently there. ‘You are American. You are not really Bosnian.’ Same thing here. When you are here, you are foreign, and you don’t belong here, either. And, you are thinking, why can’t I join and have both at the same time? (2015)
 
Amra
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