US Road Trip

Posted: 08/01/2016 in Uncategorized

My Mom’s best friend Vera and her husband surprised us with a visit to Kentucky. They drove 34 hours from Seattle just to see us. Believe it or not, my Mom’s friends are the closest thing I have that remind me of her..So we did a road trip around the U.S. And one thing is for sure: America is beautiful.

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And amazing how many places look exactly like mountainous Bosnia. Whoever lives in Wyoming, dang, that place is something else…I would do another road trip to go through it again! Then Oregon, I have no words..We also stumbled upon Little America, and it was literally little. About 5-6 churches and maybe another building, and seemed like it all was on a parking lot, and that was it. But nothing was like Mount Rainier and Saint Helen! Enjoy the view..

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These are the animals I saw for the first time: Penguins, my favorite ever. Bear. A sea lion..

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Pieces from the road and the waterfalls we’ve seen.

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And I spent some time with cika Vlado and teta Ema, using a selfie stick for the first time. I was taught a lesson about bees, and what a wonderful time!

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This is Vera and Ema, two sisters, my Mom’s besties.

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Olga (Ema’s daughter). We were born on the same date!

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And the cool thing made out of glass.

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It reminds me of Darko. : )

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And the city was just as beautiful..

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But nothing was like that hike when we saw a bear and I secured myself with a stick! : )

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And now it’s time to go back..

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Baby showers and reunions

Posted: 06/29/2016 in Uncategorized

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I’ve been in Bowling Green several months now, and every time my Dad asks where I’m going, the answer is either: a baby shower or a baby birthday.

I saw many dear friends from high school that I deeply love and I was invited to their parties and showers. I attended first birthday of Megan’s son. I saw Crystal, and mistakenly went to see her on a date that was not on the invitation, but it happened to be the real birth date of her boy. This is the only friend I know who still visits my Mom’s grave and even though I haven’t seen Crystal in years, I can’t describe how much she means!

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Then my Senka had her baby shower, and she was soo beautiful! And most recently my Zuzi over in New York invited me to her baby shower.

But when I walked to see my high school best friend Veca that I haven’t seen in years, we started crying. “I am pregnant..and these hormones make me cry..” she says. “And I am not pregnant and I am still crying,” I told her. It felt so good to see her and her family. But even greater news came just few days after the shower. Veca sent me a photo of herself, her mom and dad, and her brother! Her brother was released from years in jail (for an accident caused while he was driving under the influence..) and it has been a long road since. What this family endured, I can’t even begin to describe, but this was the beginning of their happiness. Not long after that, Veca had her boy Luca.

Happy life friends.

World Refugee Day

Posted: 06/26/2016 in Uncategorized

World Refugee Day was celebrated today at the Lampkin Park in Bowling Green, Ky. And for such a small town, this is the most diverse place ever, seriously! It was so good to see some familiar people I haven’t seen in years, like Hannah Barahona, Maja Antonic was there too, Senida Husic, and I also met new people. I met the great Brent Bjorkman, director of the Kentucky Museum, who everyone told me about and that I needed to meet him. I met Virginia who works with him, and I saw many, many beautiful faces! What a great day!

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MAN IN THE ORANGE TURBAN

Posted: 06/23/2016 in Uncategorized

Do you know my story about the man in his orange turban?

Ten years ago, I was in my second year of photo classes, still a very shy photojournalist. Then one day in Seattle I changed that when I visited my older sister Olga, (family friend) whom I share the same birth date, also a lover of photography. We hopped in a cab, and the man who drove us around was so kind and had an orange turban on his head. An orange turban! It was my first time to see one. You can tell I haven’t been outside of Bowling Green much. But he dropped us off, drove off, and I thought how I was never going to see him again. And I did not even take his portrait!

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And I used to have this thing where I memorize license plate numbers, or numbers in general. It’s not that I repeat to remember; I look, and numbers simply get stuck with me. It all began in Zenica when bus ZE-111-47 drove by me. It continued when we moved to Bowling Green and some person hit my car while I was still in it. She drove off! Only before she did, I had memorized the numbers. It was so unfair what she did that I called my lawyer the next day and hoped the numbers were correct. He found the person all the way in Louisville and asked that I come work for him.

Instead, I directed my memory skills in photo world, especially when it comes to captions. But in recent years, I did, however, decide to make a deal with my brain not to remember everything I hear/see, and before I did that, I had to do one more thing:

Run to the nearest coffee shop, and ask for a phone book to call a taxi driver! “Girl, you know how many cab drivers are in Seattle, and cab companies, and numbers they go by?” Yes I know: 261..185. “Sir, there’s a girl that you just dropped off, wanted to see if you can come back in front the Adobe building, she wants to take a picture of you?” Fifteen minutes later, I took what I thought was the best portrait at the time of this kind man. ☺

David Gilkey

Posted: 06/16/2016 in In Bosnia

As I sit here, I remember how David and I counted the 10 wars and conflicts still going on in the world, and how he advised the youth not to go into war zones on their own, without someone securing them..Then I asked if he ever felt it was time to do something else. He said all of his assignments were different, so he wasn’t looking for something else yet. And when on June 5th I read the headlines that David was killed in Afghanistan, it couldn’t have happened, I thought..He was just telling me of the new house he bought..

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“Whenever you come to D.C., my home is your home,” he wrote.

And I can still see him standing all the way in the back during my personal presentation at Allegheny College where we both where guest speakers thanks to Cheryl Hatch who organized the conference. After presenting, just like when he presented, we high-fived and hugged. As if we’ve been friends forever. But this is who David was. Wherever he went, he left a trace in someone’s life. And he left one in mine too..

After my presentation, we sat in silence for hours. Not because we had nothing to talk about, we’d say few things, but mainly we’d just let the silence speak. And in that silence I heard his soul, his genuine and kind spirit, his strong character, the appreciation for life, the hardships and dangers of it..Surviving the Bosnian war many years ago, I knew of deep feelings only born in such circumstances..so we continued sitting, and someone passed by and jokingly said: ”You two are still talking.” At the moment, David’s quietness reminded me of my older brother with whom I seldomly speak, but understand so well..And that’s really how we became friends!

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So we ate cookies, then got up to make it seem we were serenading Cheryl. “I haven’t seen him smile this much in a really long time,” she said.

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Then the harsh reality visited. And nothing is as scary as when the unexpected death knocks on your door..

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So I join the feelings of many: David loved what he did, believed in it, made a change, and touched so many lives. But that other side where David had plans, family and close friends..is telling me it was too soon for you my friend to be gone…And I know your dear parents know this, but in a short time I’ve known you, you were one amazing human being.

Perhaps David, you hear all of us silently aching for you..

Or laughing at your humor, the little moments you gave us, like when you sang us that cheeseburger, taco bell or however that song went! And perhaps without saying anything at all, you know how we feel..

My friend, thank you for all you’ve done, and all the good that you wanted to do. ❤

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For us Bosnians, word Jenazah means a funeral held the Islamic way. The burial takes place then the men pray. “But look, their women pray,” I heard a woman in Bosnian, because in Bosnia, for some reason, the women don’t pray at funerals, but in every other country where Islam is practiced, women do pray.

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The next day the burial took place at the Cave Hill cemetery in Louisville, Ky.

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But at the Jenazah prayer service, I had the honor to meet Rev. Jesse Jackson who stood next to me and said:”What is your name? And where are you from?” When I said Bosnia, the boy on the right said: “I knew it!”

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Then I went to take another picture with the boys and in the background is Muhammed Ali, man from Bangladesh with the same name as Ali.

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And there were people all over the world, including some Bosnians, and my brother Goran and his friends Mirsad, Edin and Katie went too. The tickets to both days were free of charge and also the parking was free, not just the day of the event, but few days in advance when the tickets were given out. It was great to see how Muhammed wanted his funeral to be. Thank you Ali!

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I haven’t had a chance to post almost anything these past two months. But last monthHilary Clinton visited Bowling Green, Ky. I happened to be at my high school’s friend’s house, Megan Butler, when her parents told me they were organizing Hilary’s arrival at La Gala-place owned by our family-friends from Zenica, Zeljko and Nela.

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Bernie came as well, but because I was at Megan’s house, asked to photograph her niece’s prom, I didn’t get to go.

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However, Hilary was great. We had fun at the event, and people were taking selfies. I also took one with my big camera. I said:”Hilary!” And the lady turned and we snapped a photo.

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Later on my wall thousands of messages..Anyway, I can’t wait to see who will win this election.

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