As I write this, I’m sitting on an airplane back to Boston. I left Belgrade a week earlier than planned due to the aforementioned family emergency. I was able to have the two interviews which were scheduled for the last week, and they were quite useful. Then, I spent a final shabbat in Belgrade before heading home. Having sorted out the plan to go home meant that I was able to enjoy the last time there without stressing much.
I spent almost all of shabbat with the Rabbi’s family. I went to the synagogue Friday night for services, and had already been invited to dinner at their home. There was one other guest, who spoke little English, and I of course do not speak Serbo-Croatian at all, so that made conversation a bit ackward, but it was lovely to have a real shabbat meal, especially after so many weeks traveling and eating packaged non-perishables (no fridge). The next morning I went to the synagogue again, and after that there was a small Kiddush (coffee and pastries), during which I actually talked with several people about my research (people reached out when they realized I’d been there more than once). After Kiddush I stayed for lunch and the rest of shabbat with the family. It was really a wonderful time. I had a lot of good conversation, with people who I very much enjoyed getting to know; I played with the kids; I had real home-cooked food. By the time I left after havdalah, I went back to the hotel to pack. So all in all, a very good way to end my time in Belgrade.
So, that’s all for Belgrade. Stay tuned for the one week trip to Rome still coming up after a one week hiatus. And of course, a future Balkan adventure in Bosnia and Croatia in the fall.