Aldijana Radoncic: Transcript

Bosnian dancer
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Sevdah means love or passion. Sevdah has a deep meaning for all of us, because that’s the word that we describe our attitude, and the “sevdah” is something that you can do when you sad or when you happy.

My name is Aldjiana Radoncic, and I was born and raised in Sarejevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 1992, I flee from my country together with my family seeking the refuge in Europe, and we happened to find a refugee camp in Switzerland. We stood in Switzerland for three years, until 1995. But, since the war in Bosnia would not stop, we decided to go someplace in the world and start our life again. The reason why we come to Des Moines is because we happened to hear that Des Moines is a quiet city, that Iowa is a good state to raise the children. When you are leaving your home as a refugee there is no time for you to gather your memories. You just flee without everything. So, I happened to meet some people in Des Moines, Iowa, and I start doing things to help myself to cope with the loss and to help the American people and the other to understand a little bit about my culture.

I was born and raised in a traditional Bosnian family. So, the cooking is a part of me as a woman, because to be the real woman you have to be doing everything. So, is including the cooking, raising the children, socializing. The Bosnian-Herzegovina was a space or a crossroads for many the caravans from the Orient to the Europe. So many recipes to our country came from the Orient or Europe. So you can really not specify and say this is really traditional Bosnian food. But--when we say food, the Bosnian meal includes the meat. Meat is something that, traditionally, we think brings the health. Pastry something that you cannot imagine the meal without, so traditionally we do eat lots of pastry, whether it’s in the form of bread or traditional pita.

Coffee time is a really special time, if you come to our home and you’re not offered a cup of coffee, well that is something wrong.

I grew up in a city that we called the Jerusalem, because in Sarejevo, especially, you have all religions. So, we happened to have Catholic cathedrals, Orthodox churches, mosques, synagogues. And there is a really important part in my childhood growing up in community, in a diverse community. And it was important for me to grew up and understand differences between the people.

What I am mostly missing is the architecture that I was always surrounded with, the city and the people that would always value more the character, instead of how much money you have or how big your assets are. I love the place that I am now, and the place that I am living with my family; but, in the sense of my childhood and all the joy that I have in my heart, my heart is still there.