I think I need to explain a little further about how we got here.
As I said in an earlier post, we were attracted to Sarajevo by the low cost of living and the fast Internet connection. That’s true, but our original plan when we left Damascus was to visit Jordan briefly, then fly to a job fair in Boston where we would secure our next year’s teaching contracts. Then we’d be free to bask in the sunshine of Italy or southern France for a few months while teaching classes online for DCS. Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans.
We came away from Boston without contracts (we turned down offers in Saudi Arabia and South Korea while holding out for the jackpot behind door number three; not a winning strategy at the time). After a week each in London, Edinburgh, and Paris, we’d already made a significant dent in our savings, those cities being not exactly the bargain capitals of Europe. Skype interviews seemed to be leading nowhere and the hill town villa in Puglia was looking less attractive if our severance checks were going to have to last there through next year.
So Andreas found a couple of websites that compare the cost of living in cities around the world: http://www.xpatulator.com/ and http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/ His research revealed great bargains to be had… in Myanmar, Paraguay, and Kazakhstan. Not on my bucket list. I was pining for that sunny terrazza overlooking the grape orchard. So we compromised on eastern Europe.
I’ll admit I was skeptical. The Balkans have only recently made it onto my radar. But remembering our New Year’s visit to the fairy-tale cities of Prague and Budapest, it seemed almost possible that Bosnia might be another well-kept secret. So I said I’d go. If it was terrible, we would move on.
It’s not terrible, which a little more research might have told me. In fact, it’s everything we could have wished for. I have since learned that Sarajevo was on the Lonely Planet’s top ten must-see cities list in 2010. I’ll be sad to leave this place next month, but so it goes.