My name is Christine and I am a Balkan-freak.
My Serbian professor called me this while I was studying the language in Novi Sad, but I think he meant it in a nice way. A few years ago I fell in love with the culture and history of East Europe, appropriate given my Polish heritage. As an art history major in college, I began to seek out museum exhibitions of East European artists until I eventually realized its the history of the region that I like so much.
After graduating college I packed my bags and moved to Serbia, the capital of the former-Yugoslavia, so that I could take language classes and experience the culture first-hand. Sometimes I couldn’t believe that I was living in a small country that my own bombed only ten years ago, but irregardless of politics, I found Serbs to be the most hospitable and friendly people I have ever met. Novi Sad only had tourists during the infamous EXIT Festival each summer and so it was easy to immerse myself and to meet locals. The best moments were the simple ones- spending time with my new friends sipping strong Turkish coffee and learning about the people of a complicated nation.
Unfortunately, I was not keeping a blog at the time and I am sure that after only one month in the United States, already many details are lost. Now I am about to move to Krakow, Poland to pursue a Master’s degree, and I want to make an effort to record the journey. As a control-freak and compulsive planner, I sometimes focus too much on the future and invariably ignore the present. Now that I have graduated college unsure of where my future leads, I am beginning to appreciate the journey.
This blog will be a place for me to post about Poland and East and Central Europe in general. I am not trying to lump a whole region of diverse countries into broad generalizations but rather to create a place for me to record thoughts and information about this interest of mine. Maybe there are other East-European addicts out there in need of support. Most likely not even my mother will read this blog but at least I will be able to look back on my journey. This is my Journey East.