My mentor sent me a message many, many months ago with the question, “Do you like old people?” I thought it was kind of weird but I answered honestly: “Don’t find me strange, but… I love old people!” She responded excitedly as she had heard of a Croatian woman who was searching for a roommate in Zagreb. I was willing to try it out – what did I have to lose?
So…. after living for over a month with this roommate, thinking she was Croatian, her daughter, who speaks fluent English came to visit and informed me she is in fact Bosnian. She is proud of being Bosnian. You may ask me, why did I not know this before? Well, the words, “You’re Croatian, right?” never crossed my mind. She’s also a bit older than I thought she was. If you saw her and I told you her age, you would NOT believe me! She is so fit! I’d absolutely be okay looking like her when I start adding more years to the bank.
My Bosnian roommate has since stopped having mini heart attacks when I forget to wear my “slippers” aka flip-flops. (Oh, did I mention that? “Slippers” here do not even need to be closed-toe, you just need something between your feet and the cold floor or else the propuh (the Croatian draft) will get ya! Also, the Croatian draft is different than the draft found in the United States. The propuh here can kill you with disease.) Though I did have a stress dream that she yelled at me in the kitchen for not wearing them… but just a dream!
Short story: During my second week I was in the kitchen barefoot when I twisted my foot and it just so happen my roommate had recently broken a plate (or something) and forgot a tiny shard… I was bleeding and trying not to prove to my roommate that she was in fact right about wearing slippers in the house (except the real reason is to fight against the previously mentioned propuh).
She never found out – thank heaven!
No fear though! My foot is fine and I am remembering more and more to be a little less “American” and put on my stinkin’ flip flops!!!
Despite our language barrier….
——-She gets me.——-
My roommate and I have been getting along swimmingly. I sometimes forget about not speaking the same language. We bond over T.V. (NCIS, old westerns, and lots of Walker, Texas Ranger), her feeding me lots of sweets and vegetables (there’s not much of a middle ground), and answering my Google Translate assisted questions. Personally, I feel like I hit the jackpot as far as roommates go. (She just picked up an amazing cinnamon braided pastry for me at the store… hello! She even knows my love language…food!)
My “roomie” gives me the space that I need but also doesn’t mind if I hang around. She even makes sure I have all the winter gear I need before I walk out the door – something I appreciate since I lack Bosnian-sense living in this new city.
The recent visit with her daughter was great. It was the first time we had a translator that my roommate knew well. Some words that were translated that evening will stick in my mind forever. Her daughter said, “I can tell she likes you!” as her mother is caressing my face, standing next to me, arm in arm. My roomie told her daughter that she saw me as her granddaughter. That’s wonderful news as she has already been given the name in my mind: my Bosnian Baka (baka = grandma).
We may still not talk much since I am just beginning my Croatian studies (Bosnian and Croatian languages are very similar), but her sweet taps on the kitchen table as I sit and do homework (or write this blog post), her kisses on the cheek when I go for a hug of thanksgiving, and her caressing my face/hair whenever she feels like it are ways she tells me she loves me. I try to be knowledgeable about the 5 love languages and so I read into everything which is helpful in these moments.
Long story short: I am living the dream when it comes to roommates.
God, thank you, thank you, thank you!
I had absolutely no idea what to expect but you knew totally that everything was taken care of. Thank you.
To my readers, have any of you had awesome but unexpected roommates as such? I’d love to hear about them!
Peace and blessings,