Monday, September 22, 2008

As Promised

The Milicevic's prepared a wonderful lunch/dinner for us -- another reason we'll go back.
Followed closely by Mina's foray into baking -- wow.

And then out to drinks where we joined Djordje.

In front of St. Sava's cathedral -- Betsy will upload better pictures of the actual building in her post.
About seven years ago, when Dusan Milicevic was graduating from Olney Friends School, he made me promise to come visit him in Serbia. One year later, when Mina and Vesna were graduating, they made me promise the same thing. And then Djordje, and then Iva and Tanya... I was told when I first started teaching never to promise anything to students -- too risky. But I promised them, because we had all become too close to lose touch. Dusan was a VERY confident high school senior who liked to wink at people to let them know he completely understood and had things under control. He had a certain charisma that was hard to resist, even when he wasn't following the rules. Years later, he is holding powerful government officials under his sway, in charge of hundreds of thousands of dollars while organizing an international sports festival. He will finish his dissertation tomorrow. Well, knowing Dusan, maybe sometime in the next few weeks, even though it's due tomorrow, and he will call his professor and wink at him, and everything will be fine. Years ago, Mina (Dusan's sister) was an energetic dancer with a commanding presence -- the only student I was willing to put in charge of directing the class play. She had a wide smile and made everyone else in a photo look better just by standing next to them. Today, Mina OWNS her own dance studio, and is also finishing school within the next month, perhaps moving to Barcelona when she finishes. She still has that contagious smile. Djordje, a quieter student, is just as successful, having just finished school (ironic since he is the youngest of the crew) and is now working in banking. One of the most remarkable things about the visit was how little we had all changed, and how famously we still got along. It was like we had just seen each other yesterday -- always the sign of a strong friendship. And yet it was so fulfilling to sit across the table from these enthusiastic faces and see how happy, driven, and involved they all were. I am so proud of all of them, and Betsy and I have already promised to go back to visit them again. We were so taken by their charm and vivacity. This time it won't take seven years.

1 comment:

Tanya said...

Former students are the best friends ever!