Recently, my best friend, Ruthie and I saw Les Miserables in Kalamazoo.
First of all, let me just say, O. M. G.
it was amazing. From the casting to the staging, the choreography, the everything. It felt like a modern take on a story that I saw in theaters for the first time 10 years ago when we saw the 25th anniversary with Nick Jonas and the movie version.
But I think the best part of the whole experience is the fact that two of the actors from the show both liked and commented my post on Instagram.
I completely forgot all the emotion that encompasses this musical.
Many find it strange when I tell them that Easter is my favorite holiday. To me, Easter embodies my culture. I remember going to church on Palm Sunday and all the palms my mom would collect in the back window of the car. I remember wearing those white little heeled Easter shoes on Easter Sunday. I remember all the games played inside the house and the egg hunts in the yard. But all of those moments do not come close to the real reason Easter is my favorite.
When I was nine years old, my mother and I went back to Bosnia for Spring Break. I saw my aunt, my uncle [who was basically like my older brother], my cousin [who was basically my brother] my grandpa [and grandma] for the first time in 5 years. We spent the entire week in the village, visiting family and friends and eating smoked meat and eggs like it was a job. The amount of egg games my cousin, uncle and I played, will stay with me forever. It was basically an egg fighting game if your egg cracked on both sides, you had to forfeit it to the one who had the strong egg. The detailing on the eggs was beautiful, it almost broke my heart to even start the game. But in the end, we needed to eat.
That year was the first time that I realized my grandma had actually been dead. See, she died when I was 3, I did not really understand this concept, so when we visited her grave when I was younger it was referred to as “Baba’s house.” And to this day continues to be. I remember going to the flower shop and getting the saint candles to light at her house and all the colorful fake flowers money could buy. The drive from the flower shop to the cemetery is a bit of a blur, but I remember walking to the headstone. No emotion, not yet. It was not until my mom asked me to stand next to her and take a picture. This was the first picture in 5 years. It was in that moment that I lost all control. I could not contain my tears, I had finally realized that my grandma was gone. I never got to make pita/burek with her, never got to make palcinke, never got to have an Easter meal with her, never got to play the egg game. I lost my grandma and there was nothing I could do to get her back.
But I did still have my grandpa. This was one of the three times that I would spend with him after leaving home. One of the two Easters I got to spend with him. He is the reason why Easter is my favorite holiday. He has always been my cheerleader. For years he had this painting in his house [one that I would like to one day own] that had a little blonde girl holding a puppy. Whenever he passed this painting, he told everyone that this was his “Pejicka,” it was his Matea. I was the first girl born in the family with the family name, so I became my Dido’s Pejicka.
Now, after all these years, I am on my own. My grandpa is no longer with us, and my parents are states away. It makes this day a little harder, because my favorite person is no longer here. I can never spend an Easter with him again. I know he is with me in spirit, but I would give the world to be able to eat smoked meat and play the egg game with him one more time. And this year Easter falls two days before what would have been his 74 birthday. A piece of my heart will always be with you Dido. Volim te do mjesec i nazad.
You may not be there to call my name, But the moon does, I know you’re there, When the moon is full, When it’s barely there, When it plays peak-a-boo with the world, When it tries with all it might to shine at all.
I’m drawn to the outside. Words can’t describe the nights When we just sit there, In each other’s presence. You are forever in my heart, And in my soul. Forever I will be your Pejicka. ♡
For anyone who knows me, you know that I have a very special place in my heart and life for UNICEF. I was fortunate to once again be able to attend the UNICEF USA Student Summit, Annual Meeting and serve as state leader once again for Advocacy Day. This year, not only did we as a group have an incredible turn out for Advocacy Day, but Michigan had a record number of meetings. We met with Senator Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow’s Office along with Representatives Levin, Dingell, Walberg, Slotkin, and left UNICEF materials with Representative Stevens and Lawrence’s offices.
I feel so incredibly honored to be a part of an organization that has taken me in and given me a third family. One that I wouldn’t have if my mom had not made the decision to leave everything to ensure that I would have a better life. My entire life, and accomplishments until now are all due to the people that I have met because of UNICEF’s work 21 years ago.
“Children are 25% of the population, but they are 100% of the future.” – This is why I #unite4children because someone put me first, and all children deserve to be #childrenfirst
If you know me, you know that I say “I love you” a lot. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. The phrase gets a bad rep. If you don’t say it, there’s something wrong with you, if you say it too much something is wrong with you, if you occasionally say it, it’s because you want something. For me, I genuinely mean it, and there is no ulterior motive.
Now I am not saying that I am “in love” with every person that I say “I love you” to, but I mean it in the sense that something happened that reminded me of why you are in my life. If you make me laugh, or create a nice memory, or are simply a big part of my life in some way, shape or form, you will be loved by me.
I feel like, as a society, we do not say “I love you” enough. And it doesn’t matter what your reasoning for not saying it is. My reasons for saying it are often the reasons others do not say it. We are surrounded by so much negative stuff, that being reminded that someone else cares for us, can help us remember why we want to stay.
I know anxiety and depression tell us that no one cares. But if we don’t hear that people care, we will never know.
When I say “I love you,” it’s because I care about you. I want you to know that if you need someone, I am here, and will always be here. I say it because I’ve had experiences when people have said it to me and not meant it. I know how it feels to hear someone who you grow up thinking should love you, say it as if they just ate some food that had gone bad. I say it because you never know what someone is going through, you do not know what is in store for anyone. You don’t know if they will be around to hear the next “I love you.” I use it as my way of saying goodbye, good night and reminding people that I truly do love them.
With Valentine’s Day being today, and my step dad’s anniversary of his second birth* passed, I am reminded that time is valuable. As are our words, and we need to use them to lift each other up, not tear each other down.
*Second Birth refers to his open heart surgery that saved his life, that without it, he probably would not still be with us today without it.
For the past few months, I have been talking and contemplating actually making a website. And now, I officially have! I’m so excited to start sharing my thoughts and experiences with you.
This blog is meant to be a collection of thoughts about everything and anything and the various semi-exciting things I do. To catch you up, I am currently in a paralegal program, work full-time at Windsor Fashions as an assistant manager, have my best friend and fur-babies by my side every step of the way, and continue to volunteer with UNICEF USA.
Now I guess to explain my choice in name. My life has not been a typical path, whether someone else thinks it’s typical or even what I imagine myself as a 4th grader. While I wish I were on the path I created back in elementary school, but here I am, going down a path that is not the most conventional. But then again, neither am I. 😀
Here’s to going through the ups and the downs, the exciting moments and the chill nights, the international travels, the domestic travels and the staycations. It’ll be a fun ride.