What It's Like Being From Two Different Countries
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Politics and Activism

What It's Like Being From Two Different Countries

A first-generation citizen balancing two lives

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What It's Like Being From Two Different Countries
Emily Rizvic

Since I was a little girl, I remember counting down the days—days until I would be boarding flights to go back to my second home–Bosnia. My parents came to the United States in their early 20's as refugees after the Bosnian Genocide.

We always rushed to our next connecting flight. Des Moines to Chicago, Chicago to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Zagreb.

It always took a full day of traveling, but even when flying didn’t come with luxury pastimes like movies and video games—all from the comfort of your seat—this proved to be the easiest part of going to Bosnia.

Out of any task I've ever had to perform, saying goodbye always came first in being the hardest. Plane rides back were always silent, aside from my mother and I's occasional sniffling. We tried to comfort ourselves through the pictures we took while we were visiting, but it only made it harder.

Although I understood the complexity, and how it wasn't easy to drop everything and come to the State, I always found myself looking amongst the crowds of people at concerts and shows, scanning through faces, and hoping I would find them.

Regardless, it was enough to know that, no matter how great the distance, they always had a place in my heart, and I in theirs. I looked at the sky, and I found comfort in knowing, despite when the sun rose or set, we were under the same sky.


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