Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I've mentioned this previously but before coming to Serbia I had a more romantic view of how Serbs live, ignorantly believing that people lived more traditionally than they do. Village life is still very traditional but even my host Novi Sad grandparents from a village of less than 1,500 residents have a television set right next to their wood-burning stove.

What I've discovered through living here is that most people still do live a very traditional life, even in cities, but they do so with modern amenities which makes complete sense. Most families still choose to buy fresh produce from the farmers' markers, eggs from their villages, meat from the butcher, and they take pride in the process of cooking traditionally like they were taught. They honor religious holidays and incorporate their faith into everyday life. They rusticate in villages they grew up in for weekends to escape the faster city pace and reminisce about their childhood and the good old days. My host grandparents in the village still wash clothes by hand but they are considering buying a washing machine, and there's no reason why they shouldn't. Nor is there a reason not to live presently in the information age with the technologies of today. I don't know why I thought people didn't have access to technology or if they did they would choose to live without it just to protect tradition or why I thought technology implied an end to tradition, but for some reason I did. Silly me with my romantic ignorance.

Gadgets are expensive and the dinar (Serbian currency) isn't strong enough for most people to appreciate many of modern gizmos. Most youth would like to have all the newest devices but cannot because they're too expensive so they aren't as present in their lives. Another distinction which should be made is with the reliance on technology. In towns and villages even though people have televisions or internet access many don't consider it a part of their day. Even in the neighborhood I live in now most of my neighbors don't even have computers and they aren't interested in having them.

I've had some eye-opening experiences in regards to tradition and how the old and new coexist in the 21st century this year, in Eastern Europe at least!

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