I recall that morning in May with a smile, that, as it seems now, came faster than any other before. All the space in Belgrade airport was not enough for the most diverse of emotions. Happiness, uncertainty, impatience, smiles, tears, and a small fear of the unknown times the kilometers between the US and Serbia.
Keeping in mind that all this takes place at an airport, it seems like a very ordinary situation. However, there were tons of students brought together by a single wish interpreted in many different ways.
Although strangers, at that moment, we were only passengers travelling in the same direction, exchanging looks, completely understanding each other, but not uttering a single word.
It was the language of enthusiasm, wishing and wanting something new, an adventure that we craved for, although a little afraid. Having hugged people who sent us off, we, travelling in the same direction, left to live the famous American dream.
With the first steps into the unknown, something we have not experienced before, I felt fulfilled. Every moment was a string of experiences, no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to verbalize how huge it had all been. Having realized my own abilities in situations that until now we were not able to imagine, faced with obligations, responsibility, being on our own, with new ideas, with bigger ambitions and stronger will, to expand the borders of the things that are possible.
As it will turn out, a very important element that gives special significance to everything, an element without which this would be just another story from across the pond appeared.
I would say, after everything that happened, that you need a strong will for everything you experience, a will that made me leave for the US.
However, a person already close to me in Serbia became even closer after couple of thousands of miles. In the street I left that morning in May, lived someone I barely knew, and he became a part of the story I would call movie-like. And really, we have never met before, but we lived for years in the same street. Separated by only one building. A street was very small, hidden from the downtown chaos, one of the streets, someone would say, where everyone knew everyone.
I never imagined that I would be drinking coffee in the streets of New York and pass by the White House every day on my way to work, that I would experience everything that I have experienced. Just the same, I never imagined that I would meet a person in the USA, across the world, who lived in the same street as me and that such a reality would culminate in the moment I fell in love.
It is possible, I finally realize that. Everyone who went there knows that there was crying and laughing, joy, weaknesses, enthusiasm, missing someone… Experience, simply, consists of good and bad things, events, people. And I found support in him when I had a hard time, when I was happy, when I needed advice and a hug.
Somebody would call this faith, but someone else would say that this was all just a concidence. I do not know. But I know that, the moment you decide to step out of your everyday comfort zone, the possibilities for experiencing new things, meeting new people, new adventures and falling in love begin.
At the end of September, time to go home came faster than we could have imagined. We dragged our suitcases hastily, hugging people that we will not see anymore but that were a huge part of things we went through during our time in the United States.
We came back to the same street. And today together recall all the moments on the program. I do not ask myself anymore why we have not met before. It was just too simple. But we learned that we can achieve more than that. And if I was to turn back time, I would more carefully look around the street on my way to the local supermarket. I believe that the most beautiful things happen when we least expect them.
Written by: Katarina Kolašinac (who also made all these years special)
Mar 31, 2017