You come from a land far, far away. A place where man purses are acceptable and hairy arms are not. A place where you can stay out 'til 6 a.m. at splavs because there's pretty much the best nightlife in Europe. You've been there every single summer since you were a child and you miss it when you come back.
It's Serbia! The weird little Eastern European country people sometimes mistaken for Siberia. Besides not knowing the actual geographical location, people are also sometimes confused by what Serbia actually is. A prim and proper Western European country like Belgium? A bad ass of a city like Barcelona? Whatever the case, you don't really care to define it — all you know is that it's your hometown, your place of birth, your hood before you lived in [insert Toronto borough]. Here are the struggles of being a Serbian in Toronto.
1. When you're there you adopt your European alter ego.
In Toronto, you're probably a messy bun wearing student who occasionally eats at Fresh and drinks at bars on Ossington. In Serbia, that's totally thrown out the window and you become this completely different Euro chick ready to get her acrylic nails done in the blink of an eye. Club beats? Yes. Tight skirts? Yep. Four packs a day? Obviously. There's really no limit to how far your Euro self will take you.
2. Primary school teachers struggled trying to pronounce your last name.
Vukosavik? Vukolavic? Vukosolovilic? Vukoslkshadasf? Nope, it's actually just Vukosavic, the "ic" is pronounced like "itch." But since it's so hard for you, call me Vee. Irina Vee. Yep, that's fine.
3. Djokovic is life.
Some countries have specific religions they follow, others have public figures that they are really fond of. We're not really into either of those things but we do have Novak Djokovic. The one, the only, undisputed tennis champion of the world. Even if you're not that into tennis, you know that you and your family will be glued to the TV any time he plays an important match. "NOLE ZA PREDSEDNIKA" may be repeated several times in the course of these games.*
*This actually happened at my house once, my mom yelled it out at the screen and we were all shocked/amused.
4. The Serbian mom competition for best sitni kolači is a serious thing at slavas.
5. All windows/doors/vents/general airways are closed to prevent promaja.
The number one killer of all Serbs.
6. Your mom's packed lunches made no sense to your primary school peers.
Ew, what's that and why is it pickled? —everyone.
IT'S SARMA AND IT'S DELICIOUS, WHAT ARE YOU EATING, PROCESSED CHEESE AND CRACKERS? LOL. —you.
7. Explaining Turbofolk to your Canadian friends is hard because you also have no idea what the hell is happening.
What's goin' on there, Pink?
8. Not being allowed to smoke basically everywhere in Canada is total bullshit.
IS IT ALRIGHT IF I HAVE ONE SMOKE ON THIS SMALL PART OF THE SIDEWALK?
9. Your Canadian friends get genuinely confused when you claim rakija cures most illnesses/diseases.
10. You can forget about moving out of your parents' place before the age 35.
It's not really a thing to have a fun, adventurous young adult phase in the Serbian community.
11. Doctor/lawyer/engineer are the only acceptable professions.
12. Being a ~creative~ makes you a black sheep in Serbian society.
Unless you're a health sciences writer taking your MCATs to become a doctor or a painter who exclusively draws math equations.
13. Your mother is trying to set you up with Serbian boys 99% of the time.
Even though you've explained to her on multiple occasions that you're not into Diesel shirts and buzz cuts. Sigh.
14. Also, finding a boy that gets both of your nationalities is pretty much impossible.
When you're in Serbia, boys think you're too white washed, but when you're here, boys think you're super exotic and foreign. Is it so hard for men to understand that you're permanently stuck in the middle?
15. Summer prep before heading back to Serbia is no joke.
You've got to buy that new straightening iron, get your acrylic nails done, and shop for at least one leopard print bikini. Also, you have to book an appointment to get your eyebrows, arms, legs, bikini line, and whole face waxed.
16. You celebrate Nije Naš every year, so you're always hungover on Christmas.
17.Karleuša always be an enigma to you.
How are her boobs so big? How does her butt float like that in water? How did she get her hair that blonde? Who takes those photos of her in various outfits? Why do all of her clothes have cutouts? Is white her favourite colour???
18. Sleepovers were the best at your house because your mom made palačinke.
PASS THE NUTELLA PLEASE.
19. You pretty much only hang out with other Serbians.
Who you have known since you were a baby in a sandbox.
20. Your Canadian friends think you are an overachiever but that's just the norm in the Serbian community.
You didn't complete all 14 grades of piano by the age of 8? Oh, yeh, me neither...
21. Your parents don't believe in things like vaccines or general antibiotics.
22. You went through a clubbing phase circa '05.
And it involved a lot of hydrogen peroxide.
23. Being a vegetarian or eating gluten free are hilarious concepts to your parents.
24. You go to Royal Meats BBQ to satisfy your carnivorous cravings.
Even though it'll never be as good as a punjena pljeska at Poncho.
25. Burek is life.
26. Whenever you meet another Serbian you are automatically best friends.
And your moms probably know each other.
27. Serbian parenting is basically made up of swearing and threats.
Positive reinforcement isn't really a thing.
28. You don't really get Serbian movies but it's fun watching your parents laugh to the point of tears.
29. Speaking of laughing hysterically — Mujo and Haso jokes.
All. The. Time.