Happy anniversary to me
Should I have set out on this long journey? I went almost unthinkingly, without any special desire or need, for the sake of another. And perhaps I’d gain from seeing this strange Frankish world. I say perhaps, because I didn’t believe it. Apart from merchants, traveling was only for those disturbed people unable to remain alone with themselves, who chased after the new sights that an unknown world offered to their eyes while their hearts remained empty.
-Meša Selimović, The Fortress.
I’ve always loved this quote, but I find it especially fitting today. I arrived in Belgrade one year ago. When we landed I was tired, confused, and practically ignorant about this part of the world. I moved here for the sake of another, but also because I hoped to gain a greater understanding about the world and even my own country. But let’s be honest, too–I also hoped to see new sights.
I’ve accomplished some of these goals, but the “must-see, must-do, must-read” list goes on and on. Maybe that’s the way it should be. Or maybe I’m one of the “disturbed” people Selimovic talks about. That’s ok. I’ve been called worse. Should I have set out on this long journey? Sigorno. With certainty.
Check out the works of Selimović and other Balkan (and Portugese) authors this year at the Belgrade Book Fair–it continues until Sunday.