Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Since the war years Bosnia has seen a debilitating brain drain, especially of its talented young people. And the flow late this summer will include one of our Center co-workers and his wife.

After years of applications, interviews, language tests and waiting they got just visas for Canada and will be setting out for Vancouver with their clothes and a couple of hard drives, all they need for a whole new life, he says. Reminds me of my grandfather setting out from the port of Naples a century ago.

We are happy for him, sad to see him leave and opportunistic about the jokes at his expense.

The other day in the office he hissed "Peasant" and slammed down the receiver after getting an apparent wrong number on the phone. "Say you are sorry!"

"What are you going to do," one of the American editors asked him, "when you are in Canada and YOU are the peasant."

And he's taken some ribbing about the little Canadian citizens they'll be bringing into the world.

"Little Canucks," he agreed -- until we gave him a lesson in English and stereotypes and pointed out that this was a term of derision not endearment for his future offspring.

As for them, the editor put out a thick Canadian accent, they'll refer to you as "My father, Dino -- eh?"

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