Once brothers, always friends

This post was originally written and published for the blog of AIESEC in Serbia and it can be found on this  link (only version in Serbian).

I was born in a completely normal and average family. Therefore it is very hard to use “normal” in the same context that covers all happenings that happened in ex-Yugoslavia in 90s. I can’t say that the models of surviving and life conditions were normal in my family, but the system of values and the way of thinking were definitely. Yet, this story would be much more interesting if I mention that I am a son of a military officer and that I barely knew my father when I was a kid, because he spent more time in the military office than at home.

I am always very affected by the things that are happening around me, and so recent drone at the football game again triggered some reconsiderations and memories of many incidents and bad moments in me. But this story won’t be about politics at all neither about the incident. Nor about who is right. This is actually a story about group of people who grew up in wars, whose fathers grew up together, then fought against each other, then these children grew separately with enough prejudice, so now they would become almost grown people, crazy enough to think they could change the world. In February we were at the AIESEC Global Leaders Summit in China. Some of most impressive memories about that conference are certainly conversations made with Leo (in that moment newly elected president of AIESEC in Croatia) and me. We had long talks about relevance of our projects, which would provide us volunteering experiences for Croatian students in Serbia and vice versa, then we took a look at Bojan (newly elected president of AIESEC in Bosnia and Herzegovina) and had comments about his positively craziness and the way he was looking at the world through eyes of a child. That evening we had some serious discussions, shared some tough childhood stories, far better understood each other, and in the same time pushed every limit of a dark humor. The meeting for regional presidents of AIESEC for Europe and North America in Barcelona was right in front of us, and that brought up a new insane idea – we should rent a car and travel together, Aleksa (in that time current president of AIESEC in Serbia), Marko (in that time current president of AIESEC in Bosnia and Herzegovina), mentioned Bojan, Leo and me, newly elected presidents. From that February till realization of the idea has passed around 2 months. Emre from Turkey, came to us and with some (again crazy) set of circumstances joined us on the first part of our trip (from Belgrade to Milano). We went from Belgrade, Aleksa, Emire, Marko (who was our visitor) and me. We took a trip to Mostar, and there had slept over Bojan and Marko (both from Mostar), then in the morning we took another car, and continued our way to Sarajevo, then Banja Luka after 12 hours of a ride (we were lost in Bosnia already, because of the Android navigation, which doesn’t contain all existing roads), there we had kebabs, of course, and went to Zagreb to pick up Leo. We were driving all night long, and in the morning we were in Milano, where we were welcomed with coffee by our AIESEC members from Italy. We left Emre over there, due to his duties he had to return to Turkey, and we continued our trip with only one car (now in less comfortable environment – five men in one car). Our navigation managed to get us lost in Italy too. Somehow we managed to reach Monte Carlo, then Nice, and then we finally slept at my friend’s place. On our way to Barcelona, the car started to “hiccup” and we had no idea what to do with that automatic, nor where to take it to mechanics on Sunday, by the way it was 1st of May. I could write several pages about our adventures… These adventures would describe how Marko lost his passport on the way back (actually lost his whole backpack at the restaurant in France, and he remembered that at the moment when we reached Italy), then he was waiting in Ljubljana for a couple of days for that backpack, in order to cross the border with Croatia and return home. I would describe as well how we managed to get lost in France (even if there was a highway with clear sings everywhere, we have decided to listen to the navigation which does not work), or how we were competing who knew more cities that start with certain letter, which led us to a new debate whether the villages could take part of that game and what is actually a difference between city and village. I might even say that those guys were there for me when I had the hardest time, waiting for the doctor in Bologna to check my brother’s medical records. Actually, it is more important to mention that we were rushing back from Barcelona and we didn’t come back for this lost backpack that I mentioned, nor we had any rest stop (except for eating) in order to reach Bologna on time for that doctor. We had endlessly interesting conversations, among other things, about politics and whether Croatian or Serbian sportsmen are better and weather population number has the effect on that, and who has more success in which sport. We could not agree on some subjects, and probably we never will. We couldn’t even decide who from three of us would be the president of AIESEC, if the old Yugoslavia remained. But that did not interrupt our friendship, or the fact that I have place where I can feel like at home in Sarajevo, Mostar or Zagreb. One thing is sure – we were watching and reading different news, we experienced the war in a different way, but nonetheless we became true friends, we had an unusual trip in our age, exchanged perspectives and became even more dedicated to stay crazy enough to change the world. I also have a friend in Albania, but I will let you know more about it in some of my future posts.

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