It is hard to believe that today marks a week since I arrived in Serbia. As I write this post, it still seems very surreal.
Upon my arrival in Belgrade, the charismatic Zarko picked me up from the airport and drove me to my hotel. As we drove into the city, it seemed more familiar than I imagined it would after three years. My first evening was full of good conversation, Serbian food and a trip to the opening of The Barbers. I proceeded to Niš the following day via a car and driver provided by the U.S. Embassy. Apparently more jet lagged than I thought, I fought to keep my eyes open during the ride and eventually succumbed to sleep for most of the 2 1/2 drive. I awoke shortly before we approached Niš, as I looked onto the city, I began imagining what my next 10 months would be like here.
After check-in at the ArtLoft hotel (if you are ever in Niš, I highly recommend it), I met Kelsey and her husband Micha for lunch. Kelsey is the former Fulbright ETA and is enrolling in a masters program at the university. Kelsey and Micha have been outstanding guides to the city and are kindly hosting me until my apartment is ready for move in. I couldn’t be more thankful for their hospitality (which has included delicious food, new friends and of course, their cat, Bruce).
Niš is wonderful. I am struck by the kindness of the people in this city, from the faculty at the university to the fruit/vegetable vendors in the market. Everyone I have met has been so welcoming. I know this next year is going to be filled with unforgettable moments and I can’t wait to see what comes next.