48 Ridiculous Things Only Bosnians Will Understand

48 Ridiculous Things Only Bosnians Will Understand

We may come from a small country, but we have big personalities to make up for it.

Before you read this, I just want to say that I freaking love my culture and am proud of where I come from.

I hope that I am not offending any Bosnians out there, this is just poking a little bit of fun at relatable things. And I'm assuming that if you're Bosnian, you can certainly take a joke.

If you're not Bosnian, the following will probably make no sense but you should read it anyway.

1. Your grandma does not understand why you “aren’t hungry anymore” after eating multiple plates of food.

You can’t get mad at her because she’s so sweet but if you hear, “Hajde sine, jedi jos malo,” one more time, you might scream.

2. You’ve always been told that “promaha” will kill you.

In other words, having the window or door open for too long will cause a draft and you’ll pass out. We never questioned it.

3. Every time you leave the house, you’ll hear, “pamet u glavu!”

This literally means don’t do anything stupid aka don’t do anything that will embarrass our family and cause our neighbor Senada to start some unnecessary gossip.

4. You can tell who’s Bosnian a mile away.

You’re at the grocery store and your mom is staring at a man in the check out line next to yours. She tells you he’s definitely Bosnian and you ask her how she knows, he’s a complete stranger. Next thing you know he’s speaking your language to the woman standing next to him. You’re amazed at your mom’s psychic abilities.

5. You have heklanje on the coffee table in your living room.

Actually you probably have it on every table in your house.

6. Your last name probably ends in “ic.”

Unless you’re different from the rest like me and Edin Dzeko.

7. You have cousins you’ve never met before who live in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, etc.

And you probably found each other first on Facebook. Thanks to the war, your whole family is basically scattered all throughout Europe.

8. During the winter, you eat “grah” or “kisela sarma” at least three times a week.

I don’t think any of us will ever forget the moment we asked mom what was for dinner and to our disappointment she answered, “grah.”

9. The same goes for “paprike” in the summer.

Nothing wrong with a little dolma and fried peppers with garlic.

10. Growing up you were taught to eat bread with every meal.

Even eating pita with bread makes sense. I dunno.

11. It’s acceptable to miss school to watch a soccer game but not if you have a migraine.

It's the Bosnian way.

12. Your mom has called you “sine” before even though you’re a girl.

"Sine" technically means "son" but close enough, right?

13. Your dad probably puts salt on his food before he even tastes it.

The saltier, the better.

14. When you see an old friend, you literally ask them where they are even though they're standing right in front of you.

Whenever we greet each other, we say, “Gdje si,” which is the equivalent of a “Hey, what’s up? How’s it going?” but when translated into English, it literally means, “Where are you?”

15. At least one of your cousins drives a BMW.

I'll bet ten marks he has a license plate with the name of the city he's from on the front, too.

16. When your brain doesn't know what language you want to speak.

You'd be lying if you said you didn't mix Bosanski with English.

17. You must bargain at the pijaca or else you’re doing it wrong.

Everything's already cheap, but if you can get it for cheaper then why the hell wouldn't you?

18. Any mention of your small country gets you excited.

Yes, we exist.

19. There's probably a picture of Mostar or Sarajevo hanging in your hodnik.

As if you'll forget where you're from.

20. You've got copper for days.

That's right, all the way from the Bascarsija.

21. Every time you go to Bosnia, older generations will warn you to never forget the language.

"Nemoj zaboraviti jezik" because how else are you going to communicate with Nena?

22. When having conversations with each other, certain points in time are always referenced as "before" and "after" the war.

As you can imagine, things were very different than how they are now. Thanks for nothing, Dayton.

23. Dating advice be like...

No wonder we have no luck.

24. Mom: *doesn't vacuum for a week*

"Our house is so dirty, we can't have guests in here!"

Get ready for a full day of cleaning.

25. Rakija is used to cure all illnesses and celebrate marriages.

Don't tell me your mom didn't soak your feet in socks and rakija when you had a cold.

26. If something doesn't go your way, you say, "Jebi ga," and move on with it.

This has always been the motto.

27. This is one of the hardest decisions you've had to make.

Which is why we just keep both in our pantry.

28. When you meet another Bosnian you don't know, you automatically ask, "Odakle su tvoji?"

"Oh, you're from Zenica, too? How have we not met before?" is a typical conversation. And then you find out they also know Sead, who plays soccer with Mujo, who went out with Lejla once, who happens to also be friends with your cousin Amra. It all makes sense now.

29. We always argue about who is going to pay when eating at a restaurant or cafe.

There is no such thing as "splitting" a meal.

30. Whenever you go to Bosnia, you take an entire suitcase full of gifts.

Not to be confused with the fact that some of your cousins in Bosnia think you are rich just because you live in the United States.

31. You wouldn't be surprised if your luggage got searched when coming home from Bosnia.

No more chocolate for me, I guess.

32. Your weekly Skype calls to family members mostly consist of a lot of yelling and "cujes li me?" the entire time.

And lots of freezing screens and telling stories only to realize they couldn't hear what you were saying.

33. You have this hanging in your car.

Or something similar.

34. When people say they're from Sarajevo but they're really from a small selo nearby.

You don't have to lie, it's okay. We know you wished you were from Sarajevo.

35. When in Bosna, you drink coffee three times a day.

Hearing "Hajmo na kafu" never gets old.

36. When your American friends went in your pantry looking for snacks, they found pasteta and asked why you had so much cat food.

It's not cat food, it just looks like it, I swear.

37. Name a more iconic trio, I'll wait.

Faruk, Izet, and Damir: at least one of them represents a family member of yours.

38. You forget to breathe when watching Bosnia play.

And you probably almost passed out during the World Cup 2014 qualifier.

39. When mama tells you not to eat the keks or kolac you put out on the table because they're for the "gosti."

Even if you're starving.

40. If you can't drink your coffee black every once in awhile, then are you really Bosnian?

You've got to drink it black so you can get your fortune read. Yes, your future lies in the coffee grounds.

41. You know exactly how to pick out a good watermelon.

...and you've gotten some pretty weird looks at the grocey store because of it. Don't mind me, just knocking on my watermelon over here.

42. Ladies, you haven't reached "mlada status" until you've learned how to make coffee and pita.

Gotta start them young.

43. When guests are getting ready to leave your house, you spend another thirty minutes talking at the door.

Typical Bosnian fashion.

44. Vegeta on everything.

Everything tastes better with a little Vegeta.

45. When everyone goes to Sarajevo for the summer and abuses the crap out of the Snapchat geofilter.

You know the one.

46. You've fantasized about watching the sunset atop Zuta Tabija with that special someone.

It's the best view of Sarajevo.

47. This picture makes sense to you.

I don't even know how to explain this one.

48. We make a big deal out of nothing. Always.

But we learn to laugh about it later on because we know life is short.

Cover Image Credit: Lana Karat

Popular Right Now

8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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