An Advent miscellany

Since the summer, for too many reasons to enumerate, my blog posts have gone from fairly regular to rather erratic. Disillusioned, I thought about quitting my virtual soapbox. But a couple of events in December have left me itching to write again. So here’s a bumper džezva of Bosnian-Irish coffee – served in espresso-size doses!

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As the short pieces to follow are on various themes, I opted for a seasonal sort of structure. The traditional Advent wreath, with a candle lit at the beginning of each of the four weeks before Christmas, offered a metaphor. While it’s part of Christian culture, the concept of twisting evergreen branches together and creating brightness in winter goes back much further – it’s inclusive.

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The colours used in the wreath also lend themselves to interpretation. With three purple candles, a joyful pink in the middle, and a white one at the end, it’s a handy frame for different hues of writing. Even if I’m a little late in starting and things at this time of year are very rushed.

Please click on the links below for a few quick reads… preferably with mince-pies and mulled wine!

1. Happy Xmas (war isn’t over): http://wp.me/p3NO7M-md

2. We’re dreaming of a better Ireland: http://wp.me/p3NO7M-mf

3. On a twelfth birthday at Christmas: http://wp.me/p3NO7M-mh

4. In the bleak midwinter: http://wp.me/p3NO7M-nn

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A year of Bosnian-Irish coffee

A birthday post from my little niche in the blogosphere! It’s a year since the start of ‘Bosnian-Irish coffee’ and I’d just like to thank everyone who has visited this site and shared its content over the last twelve months. I really appreciate your thoughts and feedback and hope that, among my mixture of topics and styles, you’ve found something to your taste.

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Birthday coffee – Rođendanska kahva/kava/kafa!

After a few weeks in the Balkans, I’m milling new ideas and trying to squeeze in time to jot them down. It’s a gradual process – like making Bosnian coffee! But the inspiration, the nuances, the unsettling feelings and the wonder which always strike me when travelling to Sarajevo and beyond will hopefully seep into my future writing.

Through a summer rife with conflict, many of the lessons that Bosnia teaches are, sadly, all too relevant. Human rights, respect, peace – they seem such hollow concepts when children are murdered. Yet, on a personal level, being part of a Bosnian-Irish family is a reminder that intercultural understanding is still worth striving for in today’s torn world. And that’s one of the things I’ll do my best to express. Meanwhile, for the blog’s first anniversary, here are some images that say much more than I can…

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Welcome to Bosnia-Herzegovina! A ‘stećak’ – medieval tombstone – at the necropolis of Radimlja, near Mostar

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Vijećnica, the former city hall and national library, restored after destruction in the siege of Sarajevo

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The Latin Bridge where Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie – an act that led to WWI

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The memorial centre and cemetery for the victims of the Srebrenica genocide at Potočari

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Message of solidarity with those under attack in Gaza on a bridge in Sarajevo

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Many parts of Bosnia, like the town of Zavidovići, are still struggling after severe floods in May – heavy rain has brought further flooding to some areas

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Vječna Vatra – the Eternal Flame, Sarajevo… where the wild things are!

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My lovely horse – dreaming on in Vrelo Bosne…

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For peace comes dropping slow… sunset over the Adriatic Sea, Cavtat, Croatia

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And the sun also rises – early morning, Cavtat

Thank you for your interest in my blog and please drop in anytime for a read… for updates on new posts etc., follow @BiHIrishcoffee on Twitter!

Hvala za vaš interes za moj blog i molim vas posjetite ponovo ovu stranicu… za nove članke itd., pratite me na Twitteru @BiHIrishcoffee!

Intermezzo (with ice cream)

It’s about a week since I started this blog and it’s been a learning experience! Over the last few days, I’ve had to discover phenomena like ‘widgets’… and figure out how to use them. OK, I’ve never been too technologically adept. Even more daunting, I’ve tiptoed into the world of social media with a link to Twitter – @BIHIrishcoffee. Short and simple? Not entirely. I’m getting my head around the mystery of the hashtag although the @ symbol is a riddle wrapped in a digital enigma. But excuse my pigeon-brained blunders… and please give me a follow! Tips on networking are extremely welcome.

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Technical challenges aside, the very concept of blogging was scary. However, while in Bosnia this summer, I was struck by the need to talk about issues and to encourage dialogue. Communication is riskier than silent disengagement, but I feel that it’s essential to share our thoughts. And cyberspace offers an arena for expression and discussion… if you know how to navigate it. On that front, I’m still pretty green! So I’d particularly like to thank all who have found and read my posts to date. I also appreciate your comments and your mentions – hvala puno!

The next pot of Bosnian-Irish coffee will be served at the weekend. Please stop by for a cup and spread the word! My aim is to blog weekly but, with work and kids, the timing may vary (see the ‘About’ section for an idea of my multi-tasking life). Expect diverse themes and tones, from the chilling to the quirky. They’ll be a sample of what, for me, typifies the cultural interface between Ireland and Bosnia. And ripples beyond…

For the moment, though, I’ll leave you with something sweet. Smurf-flavoured ice cream / sladoled od Štrumfa – as seen, and enjoyed, in Sarajevo!

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