There are many different cultures in the world and all of them rich with their own language, customs, traditions, and way of life. Throwing myself in an unfamiliar setting with different people allowed me to not only broaden my cross cultural awareness, but also come to a better understanding of where I came from. I took upon the opportunity to learn about a friends’ foreign culture, and from her hospitality, had the chance to break my comfort zone and learn about the diverse lives others lead. My friend comes from the city of Sarajevo, filled with exciting history and the herring in Bosnian culture.
It is located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, and takes in culture from its neighbors of Croatia and Serbia. My friend kindly invited me to her home where she lives with her mother, father and brother. They told me the story of immigrating to America from their home only a few years back, and of the culture shock they experienced having to learn a new language, new customs, and an overall new way of life. Basic Bosnian words were taught to me during dinner as we ate one of the most popular and traditional meals called ‘Coeval’.
It Is a national dish In Bosnia consisting of grilled minced meat, and served on a plate with chopped onions and sour cream on a flattered. I found It Interesting to compare something to our American national dish which Is cheeseburgers, or hot dogs, and found out that Icecaps are everywhere in cafes, restaurants, on the street and a regular staple in the home. Dessert was just as fulfilling, eating Baklava and sipping on espresso from tiny cups her mother made. Growing up locally in Bellevue, events that I usually attended were concerts, or dance classes like ballet or hip hop in the usual leggings and leotard.
I learned that the activities best known to the Bosnian culture is its regional folk costumes and dances. Youth frequently attend folklore festivals that are commonly spread throughout the year, and I found it interesting to find out we hold these huge festivals locally here In Seattle and also In Boise, Idaho. My friend dances In one of the dance groups, and took me to one of her dance practices In Tequila. Dances are performed In separate groups of men, women and children, and the participants are linked by holding hands and waving colorful handkerchiefs. The music consisted of
Slavic music and traditional instruments too with drums, violins, and flutes. All the women looked beautiful in their folk costumes with silk pants consisting of colors such as red, gold and white, and a head dressing called a ‘ducat’ made of old coins with pearls to show feminism. The shirts worn by women are cotton and very loose, covered by a dark vest in black and purple, and the entire outfit is stitched in gold thread. I learned that Bosnian women pride themselves in wearing gold Jewelry as opposed to silver because it radiates warmth and feminism. When It came to Bosnian pop culture, my friend played her favorite songs by Leap
Brenna, which sounds Like a Bosnian version of our Brittany Spears. Hip hop music recently started to thrive In Sarajevo with familiar beats and popular songs by the rapper Eddo Make. In our American society, one of the most popular comedic shows Is Sniffed. My friend and I watched a short episode of “Loud Stunned Normal” which plot and characters and found humor in the show. Also, in American society we have superstitions such as black cats give bad luck, thirteen is an unlucky number, and breaking a mirror will give you bad luck for the time of seven years.
Bosnian are more superstitious than the American culture, as I have learned from my experience. Nile my friend was driving us to her dance class… She asked me to punch her in the nose and I had no idea why she would ask me. I did as she asked me, and informed me that an itchy nose will cause anger and a bad mood. Other commonly believed superstitions are that if your right ear itches, then someone is thinking of you, and if [Our left ear does, then someone is talking very badly of you. Our world is based on a mixture of different groups of people, attitudes, customs ND values that are learned from one another.
All of our different cultures blend into our society and impact the way we relate and understand each other. By immersing myself in my friends’ foreign culture, and learning about her Bosnian customs and Nay of life, I learned that although our cultures are different, we are marked by a similarity. We might speak different languages, yet we express the same feelings and have similar values. Through this experience I enjoyed very much to learn about a different cultural perception and way of life as I began to recognize mine in the process.