Life and business in Serbia – snippets of heart and art
This is the first time that I’ll publish a story that is not mine. This a story of one American girl that came to my country and found in it inspiration and future calling.
In this TEDx speech, she beautifully described foreign perception of Serbian mentality, how she had struggles to comprehend it and in the end, benefited from it in most miraculous ways.
I was deeply moved by her words. Being born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia – I’m the first to admit all the flaws of our system and society.
But, there is something amazingly restless and irresistibly indestructible in Serbian people and our culture, that thaught me (end later on, Emma Fick) how to make art, do business and live one trully marvelous life – even in the most unpredictable and uncomfortable circumstances.
I don’t believe that people shoud be proud of their nationality – it’s not something you can choose or work on. But I can tell you one thing – I am sincerely happy about the fact that my story started exactly here.
I’m also glad that Emma found here piece of herself. Listen to her story:
„There’s a warmth, fluidity and openness in Serbian culture; I keep returning to that, but it’s essential to this story… And this warmth and fluidity and openness allows people with big ideas to flourish.
I carried a very precise big picture vision with me, and the culture allowed me to talk thing out over rakia, and „Okay, have a cigarette, relax, I’ll teach you a few thing at the time“ and they allowed me to experiment.
Without this one-year, five-year-plan I got the gift of experimentation and of improvisation and I was able to execute a precise vision, with imprecise particulars.
The Serbian people and the community is just incredible in finding ways to make things that should be impossible – possible. I had this complete feeling of community while I was here, and in America and many other cultures in the world, for that matter, we are thaught to execute our vision through checklist and schedules and one-year and three-year and five-year-plans, but Serbia thaught me that we should be fine-tuning our overarching big picture vision and letting the particulars fall in the place more precisely around that.
Don’t get me wrong, the first time I went on a „meeting“ in Serbia, ended up having beers, having conversations about life for two hours and doing business for 30 seconds, I thaught it was crazy. There’s no way anyone can get actually anything done in structure like that.
And sometimes I do still feel like Im fighting it.. but mostly I’m grateful that it tauhgt me how to develop myself in more organic way. And in the end – this is a self that I found in Serbia, self that’s okay with not-knowing.
I came back to United States in September, 2015 – with a physical book in my hand and in the process of starting a company and using a whole new vocabulary to describe myself, like – artist and business woman and entrepreneur.
On the flight home I realised:
„Wow… Somewhere in between those endless coffees – I actually managed to get something done.“
That’s the story how Serbia thaught me how to become an entrepreneur and illustrator. Thank you so much.“
I don’t own any rights to this picture, video or transcript of it. All rights belong to Emma Fick and TEDxZemun team.