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The vase with Yugoslavia’s map

It was a cold winter day in 1991. It was snowing and the wind was blowing. Zarko and his family got on the train to Munich, leaving Belgrade behind. Among their belongings there was a vase with the map on Yugoslavia on it.

The journey was long and tiring. The train was full of Yugoslavians who left their country because of the war. They all promised themselves that they would return to their hometown when this entire sad situation was over. Until then, they would try to seek a better future in Germany.

Zarko, his parents and his sister Ivana reached the train station in Munich. They took another train to the outskirts of the city, where their new house was and they got inside. The first thing they did was to take the vase out of their suitcase and put it on the coffee table in the living room. This precious object would always remind them of their country and connect them with their roots.

The first days in Germany were extremely hard for the whole family. They had to adjust to their new living conditions and learn the German language, which was very difficult. As days, weeks and months went by, the Paspaleys were getting used to their new life and things were getting better and easier. The children made friends at school. The neighbours were really friendly with the family and Zeliko, Zarko’s father, found a job in the clothes factory nearby. One thing always remained the same: the vase which was placed on the coffee table.

Ten years passed after the Paspalyes’ arrival in Munich. During all that time the family never forgot Belgrade, their hometown. Every single day they prayed for the dreadful war to finish, shedding tears for the situation in which Yugoslavia was all these years.

One sunny morning in the spring of 2001 Zeliko woke up, had breakfast and went to work. The children went to school. Michaela, their mother was tidying the house while she was listening to the radio. Suddenly, the music stopped because of a news report. The broadcaster announced that the war in Yugoslavia was over. Michaela could not believe her ears; she thought she was getting crazy. She turned on the TV. All the channels shared the news that this awful war did not exist anymore. She started crying, thanking God for saving their country.

They entered their house which fortunately hadn’t undergone any damage. When Zarko dropped his suitcase on the floor, he heard a cracking noise. He opened the suitcase and saw that their valuable vase had broken. At that time, they realized that this object existed only to give them courage during all those tough years and remind them of Yugoslavia while they were away. Now, its mission has been completed… 

Agapi Triantafyllopoulou
1st Model Middle School of Athens

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