I left my home town in 1991 due to the civil war in Yugoslavia. I was born and grew up in Croatia. I’m Serbian and since 1995 I have found my new home in Australia. Due to the war in my teenage years I was away from my family and friends looking for safety to finish my schooling. I was lucky enough to escape the war. It all started with old fashion style of penpal.
We have never met before. We wrote letters to each other and exchanged many stories. She lived in Belgrade (Capital of Serbia) and this is how I found new family and my safe place to live. Natasha and her family invited me over and then soon after I become part of their family. I felt nothing less but being their daughter.
This is the first time I experienced big city and very first time I was away from my family. If this was not the case and if I didn’t have Natasha, beautiful girl with an open heart, kind soul with such a vibrant personality, maybe I would not be here right now.
I can not express enough gratitude to Natasha and her family. I will always cherish memories of love, compassion, kindness and the most amazing food we shared together. It’s been 24 years since and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I felt loved and cared for in every sense of the word. This was the year I was turning 16 and I can say this was the time I started to grasp and learn my real identity.
My hometown was on fire, my family was fighting for life and I not only had safe place to live but I also had family full of love. I am grateful for this experience. They have helped me feel less pain, finish my schooling and settle into new environment with ease.
I was missing my home, my friends and the life I knew. I never returned home. This was never a plan to leave and never go back. I grew up in a happy beautiful home in a friendly suburban part of the city. I lived with my mum and an older brother. My dad pass away when I was two months old. I have been left to know I carry on resemblance of him. Where I grew up people knew each other and we lived life with smiles and helping each other where needed.
Civil war was erupting and as you can imagine we had to leave. I had to grew up quickly. This heart braking situation also was full of learnings.
Belgrade life gave me the opportunity to learn full responsibility, ability to make new friends, finish school, take accountability and start exploring my true identity. This was the first time where I had an opportunity to explore my values and beliefs. I have always remembered what my mum has thought me “its not what you do when I’m here its what you do when I’m not around”. I took this with me to this day. It really is so much about what we do when no-one is watching.
I migrated to Australia in 1995 with my ex husband. I was over 7 months pregnant and I my english was very poor. I remember the day when we landed in Sydney, it was an early morning and my first impression of this place was stunning. Sydney has its shine, the parks I drove pass were so inviting. I was happy to be in again new environment.
Now you can imagine what obstacles I had to overcome to be where I am today.
Fast forward my story, adapting time in new country and all what it brings. Few weeks after my arrival I gave birth to a baby boy. Ok, so now I am a mum at 21 and a single mum by the age of 24. Slowly I build life to learn english, study and have full time employment ever since. Organising this complete new life with full new sets of responsibility was stressful, although it can be used as the biggest tool for your own personal development.
Staying closer to my family it assisted me to be able to work full time and support my son. Today I am proud of the relationship we have.
Thank you for reading my story.
I invite you to be open to any situation you find yourself in, take it all in to be able to take it all out.
It is your path to grow into the best version of you.