The question “Where are you from?” is not an easy one for me to answer.
The easy answer would be “Europe”. Though, I doubt you will ever find anyone in this part of the world who would consider themselves “just European”.
The first indication of where in Europe someone could be from, are their looks or their name.
For many people I am a bit of a mystery.
My name, Andrea, is common in many countries (though, pronounced differently).
My dark features could indicate that I am from the South or East, but my pale skin color would tell you something very different.
How about the surname then?
Are you curious about my surname? Click here to see my Amazon ebook and you will find out! And while you’re there, get yourself a children’s book full of fun doodles, won’t you ?
Not many people would guess that the name originates from Hungary.
Unfortunately, this country is hardly ever considered significant enough to be interesting.
It recently frustrated me when the newspapers spoke about youngsters not knowing much about the WW2.
But how many are able to say anything about WW1?
The WW1 was initiated due to the assassination of Austro-Hungarian heir Franz Ferdinant.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was huge between 1867-1918.
This assassination took place in the city where I happened to be born, a few decades later: Sarajevo, now the capital city of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Bosnia didn’t officially exist until somewhere in the early 90’s, during the Yugoslavian war.
The history of Yugoslavia is very complicated and will also differ in details depending on who you ask.
But it boils down to this:
Yugoslavia used to be good and civilized country to live in, but quite frankly, some higher up people fucked up when they decided to have this stupid war and split it up into now 7 tiny countries.
These countries are: Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Kosovo.
Out of these countries, I think it is fair to say that Bosnia is the most complicated.
First of all, it is officially called Bosnia & Hercegovina.
But believe it or not, it actually consists of 3 regions: Bosnia, Hercegovina and the Serbian Republic.
Now, I know all of you politically correct people will say that religion has no significance.
In this part of the world, it does because it will indicate which of these 3 ethnicities you are part of.
Bosnians were part of the Ottoman Empire, and are therefore are Muslims.
Hercegovina is connected to Croatia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and therefore are Catholics.
The Serbian Republic is connected to Serbia, which was part of the Russian Empire and therefore are Christian Orthodox.
The complicated part is that I was born in the Bosnian part of Bosnia, but my family is Catholic.
Solution? People like me are called Bosnian-Croats.
Next complication is the language I am speaking.
Officially it is called Serbo-Croatian. Which means that I use Serbian words, but pronounce them in the Croatian way.
The two languages are nearly identical, but different enough to not be a dialect. If I am not sure, I’d just ask them to translate the word “milk” or “train” and I’ll know 😀
As far as I am aware, Bosnian is not an official language.
Another interesting fact is Bosnia’s political system.
Every half a year they rotate presidents, so that all ethnicities get a chance on the throne.
I doubt it is effective, but you can’t help but to admire them for trying to be fair.
My family fled the war in the early 90s, so I grew up in a few Western European countries. But my parents did raise me up with the Yugoslavian traditions, food, music and language. And therefore, whatever my next destination is, Bosnia and Croatia will always remain a big part of me.
ANYHOW…… Enough talking, though I hope you have enjoyed a small history lesson!
And otherwise, you might enjoy what my blog is dedicated to!
In the B&H doodle you will find:
- A map of the different regions of the country.
- Vucko, the little wolf, which was the mascot of the ’84 Olympic games in Sarajevo
- The traditional Balkan coffee
- The Bosnian flag.
The triangle represents the approximate shape of B&H and the 3 points represent the 3 ethnic groups within the country.
The blue background and white stars is a wink to Europe. But despite that, they have not yet made it into the EU.
In the Croatia doodle, you will find:
- The red and white shield with the ancient arms of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istia and Slavonia.
- Did anyone say Dalmatia? Where else did you think the Dalmatian dog was from 😉
- And he is wearing a sailor cap. Croatia is surrounded by the beautiful Adriatic coast.
- And then there is that business suit item (kravat) which originates from Croatia as well.