Trunk Full Of Treasures

Columns | Vienna Review | September 2010

A culture is like a steamer trunk filled with treasure – with beliefs, moral values, with dilemmas and anxieties, traditions and symbolism. It is the way of perceiving all these in a way particularly unique to the place of origin of the society. Still, it seems none is perfect, at least not to me. I have visited various places, from Australia to the far America… and whenever I encounter something new and strange, I try to keep it all in perspective.

Like an investigator. I wander around the towns and villages, among people different to me. That’s how I overcome stereotypes – by trying to look into the deepest secrets of a place, the non-verbal ones, and allowing a perhaps more innocent picture to form, that might break the boundaries of cultural diversity.

In the privacy of our own worlds, we chose which society we belong to, and whether we distinguish ourselves through belonging or not. How unique is each of these? Is it just another copy like so many others in our today’s world? All societies seem to have things in common, yet they also differ one from another. And it is this assumption of similarity that sounds the false note.

It is really a strange feeling when the place of someone’s birth no longer feels like home. Not because I am not satisfied with it; in fact, I love it.  But there is no warmth anymore, at least not enough. And the process repeats itself all over each time I a new place. Wherever I go, I feel a bit at home, and at the same time not. Every new encounter creates one more criteria by which I discover where I come from.

It is an empty, at the same time fulfilled, expression of being home anywhere and nowhere. From darkness, to grayness, to cheerfulness, at the end rainbow, but still far away – that is where a place waits. Right now, it’s time to investigate and experiment. Perhaps I’ll try Djibouti next…

- Bojana Simeunovic

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