Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New York's Nice, but Belgrade is the Center of the World...

So my husband and I are lazing around our kitchen table in the US one morning when he says it..."Belgrade is the center of the world."

He doesn't mean to say it out loud. He isn't even really aware he has said it out loud; in fact I'm not sure if he knows he consciously thinks it. But there it was.

I was wittering away about some reality TV show on American television that's basically real estate porn for people who love Manhattan. I was saying how we could someday sell our house here, because we are planning on moving to the Balkans full-time in a few years, and buy a flat in New York. The idea being, if you're only going to visit the US intermittently, why bother with the upkeep of a house and garden in a small New England town; instead why not own a flat in New York?

And he looked at me and, nearly under his breath, said, "New York's nice, but Belgrade is the center of the world. If you really want a city apartment, we should get one there instead."

The conversation then quickly devolved into how much we could afford; how big a terrace we could get for that; Novi Beograd versus Zemun versus Starigrad; and Belgrade real estate ideas of what counts as a bedroom (living-rooms) vs American ideas (only actual bedrooms.)

All the while, his little heartfelt but already half forgotten exclamation about the center of the world remained there in front of me. I suddenly thought that when I talked about New York, I could have been talking about Sydney Australia. A big city, A very famous and exciting big city. A big city where there are a bunch of Serbs no less. But really, not exactly in a central location.


Anonymous said...

Serbia is the world, did't you know? :D


Anonymous said...

I've also heard that Vienna is the center of the world, and Ljubljana, and Sarajevo, and even Split (oddly, never Zagreb). Your husband is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

This is directly relevant to the post, but it is a question that I would like to hear you discuss. I (an American woman) am dating a Serbian man, who now lives in the US after growing up in Serbia. When we talk about marriage, the issue of changing names comes up. I am adamant about not changing my name. It is my identity, my professional name, and I do think I should have to change if he doesn't. This BLOWS his mind. He cannot even comprehend what I am thinking. I think of him as an open minded person, but he is SO closed minded on this topic. I chalk it up to the heritage difference. I was hoping you could shed some light on how this is dealt with in Serbia. Perceptions, reactions, any of your thoughts on the issue would be great. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to read a post about Serbian in-laws. Their expectations, your experiences. Etc.

mostovljanin said...

You can keep your surname and add his, too. That's common in Serbia (which I don't like either). Smth like Joanna Smith Pavlovich.

Anonymous said...

You should never, but never ask Serbian man to change his name. It just won't happen. Sorry, it is mentality or cultural differences, call it as you want. It's not like it is rare in Serbia, I think it never have happened here, ever :). Your only options are to stick with your name or add his. Or take his, I bet he would love that :).
Best wishes from Serbia