Happy third of January

Well… there you have it. The end of another year that plagued on those at the forefront of the public eye (which was the least of the world’s problems) and gave onto us atrocities in multiple cities across the globe. 2016 was not a great year for us, as a global community.
That being said, I hope that we all gained something from our year, and have the sense to bring that lesson with you into a new one.
The good year’s are the ones where you learn from you mistakes, and push on. At least they are in my experience. So maybe we can take that, leave last year in the past, and make 2017 a notch on the calendar to be proud of.

After a lovely Christmas weekend down in one of the villages that surround Sarajevo, I am now back on the frosty streets of Brčko. No snow arrived whilst I was away but has now arrived in full force just after the New Year. It’s a third of January miracle! If you do not know me, please know this; I fucking love snow. Snow is one of the best things about the winter holidays. Snowmen, sledding, snowball fights. That is all kids really give a shit about in December right? Nothing else this month seems as important as the first snowfall to children, no?
Oh yeah, presents and shit. The madness of using coloured paper to wrap something up only to have it torn up and thrown away. Waste is fun to a kid (and now it’s a horror to me as an adult). Seeing your older cousins and bonding with them by wrecking up the place.  Taking it in turns to throw yourselves down your grandparents’ staircase in a giant cardboard box one of the presents’ came in. Not a single concerned adult interfering with you as you hurl your sister down two flights of stairs to then crash into the hallway wardrobe… Yeah. That’s right Grandpa, fuck you.

Kids didn’t seem too fussed here when I asked about the lack of snow, and even less now that it is here. The only people on the streets are grocery shoppers and beat-cops. I asked a kid at the centre last week why he wasn’t interested in snowfall, to wit he replied that “It’s already cold”. Fair enough. That was the best answer I could muster through my broken local and his broken English (which is better than some native English speakers I’ve met, might I add). It is cold enough as it is without the added madness of snow, regardless how much this selfish Brit wants it…but this selfish bastard had his wish granted.
     Let it snow, let it snow, etc etc…

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So. Cool shit that has happened since being back;
1. spent New Year’s Eve in a local pub,
2. my visa has been finalised and now resides inside my passport,
3. received a package from home,
4. and I am participating in Veganuary.

(lots of cool stuff to get through… think I may focus on one event per post, as this is long enough already, SOZ)


New Year’s Eve was off the chain yo!!!
No, but really. It was a very enjoyable night spent with some friends, some strangers, and a brass quartet roaming the streets playing anywhere they could get in from the cold. I’d never experienced a night outside of the U.K. for an NYE celebration, so this one was rather special to me. In respects to madness and alcohol, it did not disappoint. One of our party of six had spent most of the day in the betting shops of Brčko and won a fair amount of marks. All of which were all used as tequila tokens for the entire night.
We drank, we smoked, shouted at each other over the sounds of a Balkan hootenanny being played in the background on some far off telly; you all know how new year’s eve goes, you all had one.
… And then it happened. As Dimitrije and I were talking about Nektar, a refreshing Banja Lukan beer, a lone trumpeter walked into the bar and mustered all of his might into a deafening G#. Two other brass players entered behind him with an elderly looking man brandishing a snare drum brought up the rear.
The television was turned on to mute and a silence fell amongst the drunkards.

Jedan! Dva! Tri! Četiri!

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The pub lit up with the flash of smart phones, taking videos and pictures of these wild horn blowers. Blaring down the ears of barfly’s as they passed through the crowd. Thankfully, I grabbed a [crappy] recording of their last song. In the recording, if you listen carefully enough, you can hear Dimitrije, Maja and I discuss Banja Lukan ‘Nektar’ and whether or not I was digging the vibe of the place, post-brass invasion. [FULL DISCLAIMER; I DO NOT OWN THE WORDPRESS PLAN THAT ALLOWS YOU TO INSERT AUDIO FILES INTO YOUR BLOG. SORRY FOLKS. LOVE YOU]

Unfortunately, the quartet left as quickly as they had arrived. Leaving the audience begging for more but having to make do of the televised hootenanny instead. We continued drinking and shouting at one another. Maja was the only person in the place who noticed that the countdown to midnight had started on the television. Spied it through a comically giant mirror, clever sod.
Thankfully there was time to gather everyone’s attention in the bar to at least hit the counts of dva and jedan. ‘Sretna nova godina’ thundered through the joint, sang by every last person but one. One lone voice in the back of the pub, through all the love and chaos, could be heard singing Auld Lang Syne to those close by…

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