Srecna Nova Godina!
We celebrated New Year’s Eve at a Belgrade club. We hadn’t gone dancing since we arrived, which is a little embarrassing. It’s like coming to New York and skipping Times Square: it may be loud, crowded and a little dirty, but you’d be a fool to miss it.
We met up with Serbian friends and walked to the club. I thought I was a badass for wearing high heels in 18-degree icy weather, but I had nothing on the legions of women in 5-inch stilettos, microskirts and battle makeup. Respect.
Once we were inside, we realized we were the only Americans in the joint, and possibly the only non-Serbians. Our friends spoke English, but most of their friends knew few words. The music was loud and entirely in Italian or Serbian. Does this sound awful? I hope not, because it was awesome. People danced all night. Men and women put their hands in the air, cheered for every song, and belted out the chorus. When was the last time you heard hundreds of people singing in a dance club?
Even better, no one around us seemed to think of our language barrier as an impediment. Between our Serbian, other people’s English, and pulling in an interpreter every now and then, everyone around us made us feel welcome. Even the strangers at the table next to us called Muz their “American brother” and talked about their family in Chicago.
We started ending the evening at 2:30am-early for Serbians-but it took half an hour for us to leave because we had to say goodbye and kiss the cheeks of everyone we had met at the club, men and women. (There’s no slipping out the door in Serbia.) As we left the club, Muz remarked that he’d never been kissed by so many men in his life.
Ringing in 2011 with classic Serbian hospitality was a great way to start the new year. I could celebrate like this all year long. Once I develop the proper stamina, that is.
Gotta learn this. Fortunately, I found a guide.