Milica Milovanovic, Serbia, formally Yugoslavia. Belgrade.
Question: “Could you talk about what brought you guys to the US and did you come with your family?”
So I did come with my family, my dad came first. The problem was in Belgrade at the time, was that there was a huge recession, um after the war. Especially after the bombings. And for electrical engineers which my father was, the work wasn’t very profitable. US seemed really nice because they offered a lot more money than the rest of the places.
They rented a house, they bought furniture. We brought a few toys, some of our favorites, some of our favorite clothes, not very much. I mean I don’t think I minded though. What I did know about coming here, I mean, they told me it’s faraway. They told me it’s across the ocean, you can’t visit during the weekends. Which I thought I could. And then I asked them if it’s as far away as Bosnia where my dad’s from. And they were like “No, its farther.” So I was like Oh, so it will take more than a day to get there by car? And they said, “Going by plane”.
I remember saying goodbye to my best friend, I was really sad. And I remember I’d cry because I’d miss my family and family is really important in Serbia.
Question: “Where did you guys fly in to?”
Pennsylvania, it was a small town. As we were landing in the plane and I saw below the clouds, I was like Oh, the rain, it’s raining! And then it’s like the hills, and it’s like Green!
For me the first impressions, as a 5 year old were Oh the sky isn’t purple here? And like the ground isn’t orange! It’s a normal place.
The language thing didn’t bother me so much, because I was a very outgoing child and I was like Whatever! Like, I’ll just talk, you don’t have to listen. The first few days I spent mostly in the house, then school started. I remember the first time I saw my teacher. My mom brought me in. Like I said, it was a small town, they didn’t get foreigners.
I came in and the teacher was like “Hi, what’s your name?” And I’m like My name is Milica. And she was like “Meeel..Meeelleesa.” And she just kept guessing, for the next few minutes. And my Mom’s just holding my hand, just humiliated and my mom was like “Yes, it’s fine.” I was like okay it’s my new name, alright.