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My grandmother, my Dawn, lived a life of struggle and conflict – many wars, torn families, and constant displacement. Her views helped shaped my understanding of the world and inspired me to be content with less. She taught me that it is possible to wish everyone well, even if our own lives are less than perfect and in total disarray. She also taught me that it is possible to love in that moment when we are the least loved.
Even when surrounded by ugliness, it is possible to keep beauty within. That’s how we give freely, effortlessly, and endlessly. That’s when it is no longer important if we are given anything in return. That's how my Dawn lived her life.
For sixteen years of my life Yugoslavia was my country, Serbo-Croatian was my language, and my name Snjezana, meaning Snow-White, was commonly Yugoslavian. Then everything changed. Territory was divided, cities were renamed, people ethnically labeled, and many of “Snow-White’s dwarfs” took guns and became soldiers. Conflicts and violence spread as deadly disease and Yugoslavia became a war-devastated country. But, I was among people who got the opportunity to survive, to find their refuge, and to tell their stories.
My writing was published in numerous European... more