Why do birds sing?

Why do crows caw early in the morning?

Why leaves fall off every Autumn, only to grow back in Spring?

Why does Mom’s pie taste better than my own?

Why are colours put together white?

Why does absence fill you with grief?

Why does everything exist?


Scented September

As far as my memory can reach, it has always had a deligthful and luscious scent.
The scent of new, untouched school books and blank papers.
The scent of new beginnings, new friendships, changes.
The scent of rain, which gently washes out deep green colours, leaving us the perfect scale of red.
The scent of a recently mowed lawn, bathing in the sun.
The scent of sour apples and red grapes.
The scent of night creeping up on us sooner every day … until it finally beats the day.
The scent of just blown out candles on my birthday cake.
I am in love with summer, but I love September. It’s my favourite time of the year!



Obstacles of A Love That Never Was

He was like an odd Japanese gadget, with an attractive design and many fun features, smart applications, widgets and inviting buttons. But it was all in vain to her. She felt incompetent to use it to her advantage. The instructions manual did not come with the package, and above all there was this huge language barrier. And while he was born for adventures and challenges, she was in a place in life, where she yearned for something familiar and simple. And the simplest and most familiar thing for her on this new Japanese gadget was the off-button.



Three Words

Today I met a girl, only some three years older than me. The whole meeting could be described in these words: kindness, compassion and positivity.

This was actually the reason why we’ve met for a cup of coffee. She brought me some materials, which I am (on my own random-acts-of-kindness initiative) collecting for the biggest children’s festival in Slovenia (Pikin festival in Velenje). So, it was a kind gesture from a kind person.

We met for the first time, yet we’ve developed a conversation as though we knew each other for years. Looking a bit reserved at the beginning, she proved to be quite the opposite. She opened up very quickly. And her story made me think just how lucky I am … and how unselfish the person sitting next to me is. It also left me feeling helpless. That annoying feeling when you would like to say something to a person that would lift them up … But you just can’t find the right words, because there aren’t any. Any superfluous word could trigger an avalanche of tears, which were already building up in her eyes.

Despite the hardships she is going through, I felt a pleasant, positive vibe around her. I enjoyed her company. The past couple of years could have made her bitter – instead she breaths, thinks and speaks positivity. It made me think how sometimes the most easygoing people carry the heaviest burdens. And sometimes a total stranger can help unload some of it. It only takes some kindness, compassion and positivity.


Sarajevo from Ramazan to Bajram


This week the most important holiday of the Islamic calendar, Eid, which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, was celebrated.

During Ramadan Sarajevo had a very particular atmosphere, pleasant in a different way. During the day the city was a bit quieter than usual. Many people were fasting, and other who didn’t, nevertheless restrained themselves from sitting in the cafés and restaurants. But as the night came it regained its buzz, as the Sarajevans went out to enjoy the cool Summer nights. Indeed, after a hot day, usually with temperatures above 30ºC, which makes fasting particularly challenging, in Sarajevo the night always comes as a liberation, as the fresh air from the mountains descends into the city. Many restaurants had special menus for Iftar, which compensated for the lower movement during lunch time, and in the streets ice cream parlours and vendors of grilled and boiled corn had…

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Mafeesh Mushkella

Mafeesh Mushkella
When I travel, I always try to learn as much words and phrases of the local language as possible in that short period of time. And there are always some phrases that keep repeating in conversations. And when you recognize their meaning it almost feels like you have a special talent … As if you have somehow become a part of that little world. Same was with this Egyptian/Arabic phrase “mafeesh mushkella”. Egyptian version of “hakuna matata” meaning “no problem, no worries”. It popped up in every situation and opened many doors to us. Everything is “mafeesh mushkella” in Egypt. To me it was a symbol of people’s laid back mentality there. It is also the best phrase to describe our 2-weeks’ stay in April in this history-rich country. Despite the country’s political unrest, with media covering only bad news, we literally had “mafeesh mushkella” – no problems.
Welcome Back!
The uprising and political instability, but more than that, the media portrayal of the Egypt has had a devastating impact on Egypt’s tourism. This is concerning, since tourism is one of the nation’s most important sectors in economy. It offers jobs to almost 12% of the population. And while Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh somehow managed to retain the label of “safe” destinations, bad news we hear and read every day discourage tourists from coming to Egypt’s most interesting parts: Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Sinai. Prior to coming to Egypt, some people also tried to discourage me from travelling there. I remember one friend saying: “But, you know there is a war there?” Luckily, I was assured by my Egyptian friend, our host, that it is quite safe, despite some turmoil after the death sentence of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Afterall, I thought to myself, he should know, he lives there, drives to work to Cairo downtown every day and he is still very much alive and kicking. Image
I guess, majority of tourists worldwide were not given the same assurance. The number of tourists we had come across during our stay in Egypt could hardly fill one big hotel. Sadly, because Egyptians were so happy to see us, greeting us with pristine smiles and shouts: “Welcome back! Welcome to Egypt!”
No Rush
Tourists now have a unique opportunity to enjoy cultural heritage, museums, the pyramids, temples and mosques with nobody rushing them out. Since there is literally no crowd at the main sights, you can take all the time you want to explore the magnificent monuments and take pictures with no one ruining the background.Image
The best portrayal of the extent to which the tourism has shrunk is the main attraction: the Cheops pyramid in Giza. Before the revolution tourists had to wait in line for hours if they wanted to step inside the biggest, most magnificent pyramid. Because of the large numbers of tourists wanting to get in, they had to limit the number of people to maximum 300 tourists a day. And if you wanted to be among those 300, you had to buy tickets at least a day or two in advance. Now there is no need for that. You buy the tickets at the sight and simply walk to the entrance. No line, no waiting. 

The Choice is Yours
Even the coast (well, I can only speek for Hurghada) is not crowded right now. Mainly locals (Egyptians) are staying in hotels. And some Russians, too. The time is right for you to get a good deal, since most hotels are not fully booked. With a bit of luck, you can get a very good price for a top-notch 5-stars hotel and thus the best for your money. While the entrance fees and tickets for main sights went slightly up (they have to make up for smaller number of tourists), you can almost always negotiate the prices for tours and adventures. Just be persistant and smile … Show your interest in the person who is trying to sell you the package. Personal questions break the ice with the locals. When you open up to them, they kindly embrace you and you have yourself a new friend. And a special price (just for friends). And if you are really lucky (as we were) you get a boat taking you on a snorkelling trip with only 6 tourists on board. Your own private boat for the same amount of money. Even the coral reefs are best when less crowded. The fish seem just as curious about you as you are about them. 
However, sometimes you have to forget politeness. As tourists are rare, the locals who sell souveniers struggle for your attention. Once they spot a tourist, they glue themselves to you and follow you around, trying to sell you anything: from cheap stone carvings to a botlle of Coca Cola. The best advice our brilliant tour guide Manal Salem gave us was: ignore them. (Unless you really want to buy that Indiana Jones hat.) This is hard, especially for someone who is genuinely nice to people and finds it hard to look away when someone speaks to them. Looking at the bright side – you get free life lessons on how to say “no” to people. Because if you don’t master it then and there, you will be surrounded by a crowd of salesmen everywhere you go. The fact is: once you start talking to them, you will end up buying something you actually do not have the need or desire of buying. Besides, negotiating and convincing them that you don’t need another statue of sphynx will usurp much of your precious energy and time. 
It’s the People
In general, people will not give you a hard time there. On contrary. If an Egyptian friend invites you to his/her home, it is not just a polite gesture. And you will not regret saying “yes”. You will be treated as a part of the family, and they will make sure you try all their national dishes and leave with a smile on your face. And if you judge a country by its youth, then Egypt is open, curious and accepting. Even veiled women do not conceal their interest in you. Go to Egypt with an open mind and heart and expect the best. 


To me, travelling is not (only) about visiting the places you once read about in school books or admired in the movies. It is more about meeting people, feeling their culture, exploring their way of life, experiencing new things and finally – making memories. It is like having a platonic love affair with the country you visit. If it ends with “mafeesh mushkella” you can be sure that it will stay in your heart forever as a beautiful memory. And it will leave you wanting more. 
My Egyptian friends, I’ll be back! 
Insha’Allah. 😉


Take me anywhere

This question caught my attention today: “Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets. You can only afford one. Which of these do you buy, and why?”


My choice would definitely be “anywhere doors”. If I had them right now, I would open them and find myself on a beautiful island somewhere in Indonesia or the Pacific Ocean, or maybe in Cairo at my friend’s house, or in Bosnia helping people clean their homes after the floods. And when I would feel like escaping this world, the doors would take me to a dreamland, like Narnia. As a child, I wanted to have a closet just like Lucy …

I don’t need the time machine, because I think the past must remain in the past, and the future will come eventually. The past helped me become a person I am today. Sure, it would be nice to visit the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, or to return to your childhood. However, you have to learn how to live and enjoy the present moment.

Why not the invisible helmet? Though it sounds tempting, it could actually make you feel bad and complicate your life. Do you really want to see what someone is doing behind your back? It could only hurt you, and what do you make of that information? Learn how to recognize the good people in your life and let go of the bad ones. Sure, it would be fun to sneak into some places you have no access to now, but frankly, I am not interested in other people’s lives. The only purpose I see in having an invisible helmet would be to help reveal the secrets corporations, governments and politicians are covering up to people. If the helmet would help me change some things in that respect, to make a better future for all of us, then I’d consider it. But actually, you would need the anywhere door to make it. 😉