I‟m Lorena, 49 years old, living in Slovenia. Nationality? Slovenian, Croatian, Serb, Italian, German, Hungarian … but in my heart I feel myself as Dutch. Working currently in a huge school center in Novo mesto (south east of Slovenia) Teaching music vocational subjects (music expression, art, creative playing on instruments) Recently got my PhD in Intercultural studies
When I was only 4,5 years old, we moved from previous Yugoslavia to Netherland, Rotterdam. My parents and I, were among the first citizens from the previous Yugoslavia (Slovenia was at that time a part of this state) who were alloud to live in Netherland with a visa.
As 4,5 years old girl, I could speak Slovenian and Croatian language, but not Dutch. Nevertheless, I attended the kindergarten – this was a bad experience, as I couldn‟t understand anyone … and they (Dutch children) couldn‟t understand me as well. As I didn‟t feel me well, I run away from the kindergarten… and they had to search for me about 6 hours.
I attended the primary school in Netherland Soon it was shown me very clearly “you don‟t belong to „us‟ “ – you have “to dark hair, you don‟t speak our language, our dialect, you have even a strange name … you are dirty …” But (!) teachers were obvious prepared, and they helped me a lot to cope with all this problems. After almost 11 years living in Netherland, we moved back, to Croatia.
We moved to Croatia, to Zagreb, but I left my heart, my childhood, my friends, my dreams and the best I had … in Netherland, which I still feel as my fatherland. I‟m telling my friends: “Ubi bene, ibi patria”
My second fatherland (my father is from Croatia) Friendly people … another conception of “the other” bratstvo i jedinstvo” = brotherhood and „being one‟ - this attitude, famous in the previous Yugoslavia tells us about experiencing the “other” – we are all the same, nevertheless which nationality, religion we belong … and we have to help each other …
My dreams were broken in 1990, when it was obvious, that we will experience another war, this time in Croatia – It became suddenly VERY important “who you are” (Slovenian, Croatian, Serb …) I had to move back to Slovenia (country of my mother), as it was safer.
Yes, you ARE a Slovenian, but (!), you can‟t speak Slovenian language well, so therefore you can‟t be a Slovenian. You were not born in Slovenia, so therefore, you can‟t be a Slovenian Your name/SURNAME (!) is not typically Slovenian, so therefore you can‟t be a Slovenian … Bla, bla, bla, bla….. This is the conception of the “other” in Slovenia from 1992 – 2012 (it has not changed – till yet ….)
I HAD TO CHANGE MY SURNAME (FROM MY FATHERS SURNAME IN MOTHERS SURNAME), IN ORDER TO WORK EASIER, WITHOUT PROBLEMS AND PREJUDICES TOWARD ME I‟m, thinking: if I have problems, which am partly a Slovenian, how about the people, who are strangers in Slovenia?
After 29 years living abroad: I don‟t know who I am I KNOW only: after living abroad, and living with different people, it is not important if you have this or that nationality, religion, if you belong to this or that race, ethnicity … For me it matters only, that you see in a person, if he/she is good or not, and if this person is prepared to take you as you are – without demanding to change yourself in something you can‟t be