When you see a woman walking three goats through a park, I think there is an unwritten law which states that I have to take a picture. I’ve gotten over my awkward creeper-mode photography stage and I’m beginning to gather the courage to ask people if I can take their picture. Of course, this implies that I am also gaining confidence in my Bosnian. It’s not that I lack confidence, but I do lack vocabulary. Therefore, today when I saw her, I asked, “Can I . . . picture?” (hefted camera with one hand and point with the other, just to make sure I was being clear)
It was at this point that I also realized I probably wouldn’t understand her response. Thank goodness, it was one of the most common phrases, “You can.”
I quickly took this picture to reduce the awkwardness of the situation. I should have known that any time I try to talk to an older stranger, I will end up in a conversation. I understood the next question, “Koliko je sati?” What time is it? I even responded, however inaccurately with “Sada je pola pet.” Now it is 4:30.
It was actually 4:35, but at the time I didn’t want to stumble over saying “dvadeset pet do pet,” because that would reveal that I wasn’t actually Bosnian. I have no idea if she knows that I am not from Sarajevo, because she just kept talking to me and I would convincingly nod and smile. She ended with, “Ćao!” to which I responded “Ćao!” and quickly left. Deception: complete. I may never know what she was saying, because she was either talking about her goats, me, or the mountains being either beautiful or a nuisance. It’s a mystery!