Friday, 28 August 2009

Summer Visitors

In the last month or so Tuzla has been inundated with foreigners. In a car park the other day, I had a quick look around and realised that of the 15 or so cars parked under the trees, only one had a Bosnian licence plate. The rest were from Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Sweden and the like.

These are not your normal holidaymakers. Love Tuzla as I do, I'd never call it a general holiday destination. You would only really come here if you have a reason. No, by and large these people are the diaspora, those who left Bosnia and now come 'home' once a year, usually during the ever so nice summer months. They come back for a holiday, to see family and friends, gorge themselves on the Bosnian specialities, hold barbecue after barbecue, sun themselves at the lake and generally have a fine old time.

Those who live here full time view them with mixed feelings. Many people grumble that they only come back to show off their big fancy cars and how much money they have. They definitely bring with them a holiday vibe and race around doing things they probably wouldn't do at home (stop racing about on your scooter without your helmet young man, believe it or not, there are laws here, and they don't include behaving like an idiot). But some of the resident Bosnians are jealous. Jealous of the money the diaspora appear to have, the lifestyle that they appear to represent. The diaspora certainly bring money with them; one village I know is hoping to rebuild their mosque based on donations from the diaspora returning this summer.

Irrespective of any jealous moments, everyone is delighted to see family again, and it is heart warming to see the grandmothers thrilled to be playing with their grandchildren, adult brothers and sisters hanging out together over a coffee or three. But their delight is tempered with a tinge of regret, a recognition, indeed acknowledgement that this level of displacement in a society is a sad reflection of the country's recent history.

12 comments:

Guillermo - CEO Localyte.com said...
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Michelloui said...

This is really interesting--one of those bits of info one can only get from someone living in a place. If I was a tourist there i would have just assumed it was popular with tourists! It helps me get a bitter picture of the culture in Tuzla. Will these people ever return 'home' do you think?

Nicola said...

So interesting. And so perceptive of you. Makes me feel sympathy for the residents - I hope that is isn't a situation (of feeling almost 2nd class/the poorer relative) that lasts forever.

nappy valley girl said...

Interesting observation. Is it possible that as the country recovers and grows richer some of those diaspora might come home for good?

Tuzlanka said...

What a great eye you have!
Most of those people plan to return once they get retired. Pension money from e.g. Germany in Bosnia is something that everyone dreams of :)
And in the end, their bones will stay near their beloved ones.

uSvijetu said...

You have excellent eye for the details. I really enjoy reading your blog / A Bosnian girl in diaspora

Potty Mummy said...

Hi there Brit, great post, as ever. Have put you up as Blogger of the week on BMB. Have a good Sunday! PM x

The Green Stone Woman said...

Hi, I came here as a result of Potty Mummy's recommendation. I enjoyed my time here and will be back every time you post.

Antonia said...

Dear I-know-who-you-are:
Thanks for the posts. Since we left you and Tuzla we have been keeping up with events via your blog. Identified with the mother feelings about the boys and school antics. Can picture them riding their scooters around your corner. - TR

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

MichelleOui - difficult to say. Some will, some won't. All depends on their situation I guess.

Nicola - The residents have mixed feelings about the diaspora. Almost every young person here wants to leave. Such a shame.

Tuzlanka - A German pension here would go a long way indeed! And I do appreciate how important it is here for people to be buried near to their relatives and at home.

uSvijetu - I'm glad you enjoy reading it. Whereabouts are you based?

Potty - Thanks ever so much, I'm chuffed to bits!

GSW - Thanks for coming over, look forward to seeing you again!

Antonia - I know who you are too! The boys do love riding their scooters around the corner, but I'm not brave enough with that hill. It is definitely a Daddy activity that one! I take them to scoot somewhere far more sedentary. Love to you both. x

cartside said...

Brilliant post. I witnessed on the Azores the diaspora (mainly Canadian) coming home to the opposite situation, with the Azores having recently become rich thanks to European funding. So it was those who had stayed who were now showing off fancy cars.

Muddling Along Mummy said...

Its interesting to hear about the other side of the summer expat exodus - strange how there is a natural tension between delight and regret but wonder if that does fuel some of the energy that makes the summer trips more memorable