After four days of waiting (kind of) patiently for my iTouch, it arrived.

The days were filled mostly with morning coffee with another American I met, Katie, walking around the city, grabbing a Coke Light or lunch at a cafe and writing, and then heading back to the air-conditioned common room at SA, watching “Scarface” and then heading out for a drink with Katie.

Katie, in those few days, became one of those travel friends whose role in my life would transcend travel. She had been on the road for eight months. She had seen so much, been so many places. She was an inspiration to me. This girl, a year older than me, afraid of flying, and had been around the world.

Katie kicks ass.

When I finally had my iTouch, the first thing I did was download Skype. I was eager to talk to my parents without having to lug my laptop.

My happiness from being able to talk to my parents quickly subsided as soon as I had my mom on the phone.

“Your grandma isn’t doing well,” she said quietly as I sat in almost shock at her words.

I knew before I left she wasn’t doing well, that her passing was something that could happen on my trip, but I tucked it away. I mourned her impending departure intermittently while on the road, mostly when I got news she was not doing well.

I had asked and asked and asked if I needed to come home, and each time Mom had told me “no,” and that Grandma had wanted me to continue my travels and live my dream.

When I finally got to talk to Mom, it was hard to listen to the words she was saying. Each one stabbed at my heart, cutting it up into pieces as I sat in Sarajevo and she sat in Maryland.

Thank goodness for friends.

Katie immediately scooped me up following my phone conversation with Mom and took me to the Sarajevsko Brewery, which is conveniently loacted down the street from SA.

We sat at a table for a couple of hours, sometimes near tears as we shared stories of love and loss.

Having Katie there was a blessing.

When I would get sad, she would sit. And listen. And give me a hug. And say the exact thing I needed to hear.

We both had plans to head to Mostar next — I planned to leave the next afternoon and she a few days later.

After that, we were both heading to Croatia.

When it was time to head to the bus stop and on to Mostar, I hugged Katie goodbye.

“See you soon,” we both said.

And, we would.

5 comments

  1. What a wonderful story, it’s amazing how we can meet people who we would normally consider strangers, yet we become the best of friends.

    Best wishes for your grandmother, mine is also over 90 and I’m often fearful that she’ll pass while I’m gone.

    Like

    1. Ayngelina, thank you so much for the note. I think part of the beauty of traveling is getting to meet like-minded people who turn into your family. Sadly, my grandma did pass away a few weeks later and it was a very difficult time.

      Like

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