Bosnia Summer “School Trip”

As weird as it sounds, in the mid of August, 15 of us went to Bosnia, which in essence, really felt like a school trip. Somehow 15 people gathered together, mainly people that know each other from CS, with their friends, +1s.

I don’t even remember how this idea initially came into existence. The first we remembered, was that Melina created the website with detailed itineraries and everyone was onboard. We organized a minivan in the end with a dedicated driver, that drove us from Zagreb via Plitvice, through Northwest of Bosnia, to Sarajevo, stopping at Mostar and down to Dubrovnik. (For reference:

Somehow in this past short 2 years, we got close together as a group, big credit to Billy actually who moved to Helsinki. Some of us helped each other in difficult times, enjoyed the good times, what else do you want more?

Bosnia itself really is a hidden gem. Not many tourists, beautiful landscape and scenery. They have water and mountain just like in Switzerland. When we did the rafting tour in Melina’s hometown, there were only another boat on the river, 1 hour separated from us. (if we didn’t count the arabic group towards the very end)

Sarajevo was actually the most interesting spot. For people like who spent the 90’s in China, has no idea about the war happening in Balkan. With many refugees in Switzerland from that area, it now starts to make sense to me. According to the museum, after the dismantling of Ex-Yugoslavia, several nations came into existence. Serbia, with Milosevic, was on the nationalistic mission to expand their territory. And so war began … . This was also why Tarik’s family fled. He was 5 back then. Billy and Dat are from Laos and Vietnam, but they are second generation who never experienced the hard times. Tarik actually talked about what happened back then. Even though as a child, he does not remember much, the only thing that he knew that he was constantly on the move. And apparently, he would have been on a bus which was scheduled to go to Srebrenica. He was also standing in line to get a cookie from UN. When it was his turn, they told him 6 was too old to receive the cookie, it was only meant for kids under 5.

Srebrenica was the place where invaders committed genocide killing many by digging holes and buried them alive. Numbers are around 9000. The museum in the gallery showed us pictures and told the story about the people back then. It was heartbreaking. All over the world, all the time, same things happen, In NanJing, in Phnom Penh, in Auschwitz and in many other places for sure as well, all just because of the huge empty ego that some people need to fill up. Well, what can you do … . I remember someone like the sentence, don’t hate the players, hate the game. But isn’t the game exactly shaped in the way because of all the people? Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you. All the tic tac toe, ending in the endless cycle of hatred, revenge and (sorry for using this buddhistic word, can’t think of a better one as of now) suffering. Not that I have transcended or something, but wouldn’t it be nice to play a fair game from time to time. (ah this brings us back to the other topic again about game theory, I will stop here)

So I really enjoyed the time in Balkan. Next year, they requested to go to China. Well, why not, it will be a good time. Don’t be so selfish. Melina has set the bar quite high, let’s what I am able to do hahaha.

Now, things seem to start to get busy again. It is so difficult to be rational and use your gut feeling at the same time. So much conflict …