By Elaina Joncic
I’ve lived in America my entire life. My parents and grandparents were immigrants. My father’s side immigrated from Serbia, while my mother’s side immigrated from France. I am half Serbian from my father and half Macedonian from my mother. Both countries used to be a part of former Yugoslavia – along with four other countries.
I traveled to Macedonia and Serbia back in 2008 with my family. I was so excited to meet my family members and get a glimpse of life in my country.
My grandparents were considered “wealthy” since they immigrated to the United States and would fly back home every summer to visit friends and family. As soon as they passed away, we sold the house. I miss the memories we shared there and feel sad when I look at this picture. I miss it so much.
While we were there, we visited The Monastery of Saint Naum in Ohrid. This is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Macedonia.
While I was in this Monastery, I purchased a prayer rope bracelet. These are composed of 33 knots – representing thirty-three years of Christ’s life in the Eastern Orthodox religion. It comes in a variety of different materials and colors, and can be purchased in most of the Orthodox churches. When I have this bracelet on, I feel protected.
The best part about this trip was meeting new family members and friends. They took me everywhere and taught me so much about our culture.
These are moments I will cherish for the rest of my life with people I will never forget. I hope one day I will be able to travel back home and see everybody again. I look at this photo and wonder if any of them ever think about me or ask how I’m doing – I ask my parents about them all the time.