Marjana Ababovic and Adrian Ababovic

Recorded July 23, 2021 Archived July 23, 2021 40:15 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020907


Adrian Ababovic [no age given] shares a conversation with his mother, Marjana Ababovic (60), about her childhood memories in Bosnia, the experience of coming to the United States, and living life for yourself.

Subject Log / Time Code

“I think you live your life pretty unapologetically,” AA says to MA and asks her if there was something that inspired this way of being.
AA asks MA what her childhood was like. “What parts of your mother and father do you think you embody?” He asks.
“What would you have told your younger self to prepare for?” AA asks MA about when she came to the United States.
MA asks AA what he remembers from his childhood and what positive memories he has.
“Did it bother you that your parents talk with accents?” MA asks AA. AA also reflects on growing up Bosnian in Rochester.
MA asks AA about his sense of belonging.
AA reflects on his relationship with his father.


  • Marjana Ababovic
  • Adrian Ababovic


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00:02 And today's date is Friday, July 23rd. 2021. I'm currently in Brooklyn, New York of Manhattan actually right now, but live in Brooklyn, and then my conversation partner is Mariana about rich and she is my mom.

00:21 Ny name is Mariana, Bubble Witch. And I'm 62 years old, today is July 23rd, and I am currently, in Rochester. New York. I will be talking to Adrian. The Barber College in his, my son.

00:37 So to start off.

00:42 I'd probably say I want to ask, I just like the first one and I think it's like the most. Like, I don't know relevant to like how you live your life. So, like I said, you live life unapologetically. Is there something that like, triggered that anywhere have you always lived that way, if that's makes sense, describe myself that way. But it's interesting that sejal, my friend home, you know, very well with your description, makes think about it. I think. Like part of it is that I have always been like that. I was the youngest child. It like you are.

01:27 So I think there was less pressure on me, then on my brother, be whatever. My parents wanted me to be. So I was more strong-willed than them. But then the second think I think came from the life experiences and also come to the states in the way and going through the experience of war in the understanding that

01:59 You know, what is, how would I say that? Don't say, it is what it is because it's such a silly. Like there was a point when it doesn't matter anymore to me, what other people think? It's real leaders matter. And it said that, you know, when you are younger before your age that there's too much like, you know what that other people would think. Who cares what I just said something like you've instilled in me, I guess cuz I definitely have friends like friends in my life. You know, they think everyone's watching every single action another doing or like oh my God, I'm embarrassing myself. I think some people are just focused on like everyone's paying attention to you.

02:59 In reality, no one's really, no one cares but no one is doing. No one is purposely singling you out and thinking, oh my God, they're so embarrassing or like they're doing this or that they're doing. They look bad or whatever. So that's something I think you'd like. I'm still in my life, but going off of that. Like I just thought of something else you were saying like you might have felt that way when you're younger like, you know, like I don't know, a particular moment where you kind of like shut that cuz I know in the past 3 years when you're like 26 to 30 were like your favorite years like you think that's when something happened like when did you used to?

03:45 Kind of have that feeling of like people think about me, but then you kind of said that moment. It's like realization, like I don't need to live this life.

03:57 Which was formed because of my mother. She always wanted me to to to create me in In Her Image, which I'd hate it.

04:15 I hate it and she bought me a cold. I remember this one expensive thing. You do back in Boston when we were growing up and I wasn't, I wasn't weird that called for the whole year. So why are you so? I think part of it is, it was my strong reaction to, you know, to her and refusing to be who she, she wanted me to be a little bit silly. But, you know, I wish we had more, but she was a strong personality and, you know, for me, it was either like, you know, like her totally overwhelmed me your order.

04:52 Or are they checked her? Which also is not the best recording, the 26 years and a big twenty-six-year-old. I don't know something happened. I don't know what happened. Exactly. But at that time, I slept like started figuring out life and lost in life.

05:14 That makes the rapide because not because of anybody that has some tea please, but it's just so easier if you talk to somebody and figure out your life earlier, and if you do extremely, I think like, you know, talking to somebody who is professional, make city is year mumbled. I said, I hope that hurt happens to me when I'm 26, that, I figure everything out, but I kind of was cuz we don't really feel like you haven't dived into it before. But like what was your childhood? Like and like and like you were just saying your mom kind of was trying to model you after herself or model U?

06:14 Someone that was like whatever what she thought was a perfect and body and then that's both in terms of like how you process and work in the world. And then also like applying it to your parenting style. Like, I mean, I don't think you've ever tried to make me into someone but like, good and bad, I guess. What do you think you like inherited from that?

06:38 A lot of questions.

06:46 The way that tweet, you don't my brother and I grew up very, really was different it so I can do it. If you watch those Italian black and white movies. It's more like that, literally like black and white movies detailing from from 50s and 60s old. I didn't grow up in fifties, but that's how it how it felt the difference. Really very different route and regarding my. So it's, it's hard to make any comparisons. Like, if we stayed in Bosnia, I think it would be

07:22 That's part of my life would be more integrated, but it's very hard to integrated with the live here. Now. It's a different culture or it's a different. Everything is different every single secret. So, okay, that I don't know if that's

07:48 My father was more quite so the like so thoughtful and analytical.

07:56 And she was not a person who would be like shouting or anything. She was to look like more. Intellectual one of my memories is and that time is it supposed to strange concept.

08:14 I don't know why but you would order books. It's not online, but you would I don't know how it would get it. There will be a list of your catalog. Yeah, I like it like a cantaloupe. Yeah, I forgot and then I would remember we would be sitting the two of us together and you know, we would be picking the books and you know, everything mostly. So what is that an elliptical side? It's like the intellectual side, but on the other hand, my father had absolutely no sense for like music. She was my mother sang beautifully. She really had beautiful voice.

09:03 And I think from my mother, I I got that special to like your sensibility and really the interesting arts in the music and arts, you know, and she was

09:18 Yeah, I don't want to say she's was pretty crazy. But there was a lot of ups and downs in curve Behavior. That's or not easy to live with sensitivity. There was a lot of them.

09:34 How would I say it? Like, you know that it it also she gave me the gift of being sensitive to two cards from your mother like that, appreciation and everything. Go to like a lot of museums and different stuff like growing up in like an expense cuz I feel like me a lot of museums are from like one kind of thing and my glasses but

10:23 I'd really I don't know why I hated that. I think I really didn't like the guy that she met, and then also, none of my friends get those classes. So, I don't know. I just like, I felt something there but, you know, like she did try that. We didn't have no trouble, was a big deal and you traveled, only when you had a good reason, it's more sensibility than, you know, that sheet that the house was beautiful. It, you know, you stupid. We were not worried at all. But in the society you could there was not one. Nobody had to look for money.

11:14 Bomb, going off of that.

11:19 Well, actually.

11:22 I was going to say kind of going back. I guess I should have asked us after like after we were together 26 and stuff like that. But what is what is one of your like favorite memories from when you were my age? If you can remember anything from like 24, like, even take 25 23, it doesn't matter, but just like maybe a sense of the time and the place in the world, you were living in at that time.

11:53 I don't know. I mean, yeah, I don't know why I can't really tight to get to the cage. But what I did like when I was your age, I started working and I was working as a teacher of English, as a second life as a foreign language and it was for adults seat wasn't at school. I think that was the one in that really liked it. It was like horses.

12:23 Yeah, and I really like that and then also it was a time when there was a lot of happening and I lived in Sarajevo and there was a lot of happening in in music and denard's, you know, like, you know, somehow we lived in the. We didn't even know how it was quite an important. Then it was a lot of happening. There was a lot of innovation programs that were made that we listen to the road.

12:59 Flicka. The whole generation was creating a lot which is hello. Again. We didn't have much money, but we just like to know, enjoy living like what you do now.

13:20 Yeah, getting a little bit of money. But, you know, there was a lot we couldn't do, but we, we did what we like to do.

13:31 You live by your means kind of thing, but I like you even enjoy. Yeah.

13:42 Interested in, you know, I didn't time it before 10 that I parked right here at the Olympics. And, you know, there was also a lot of money came and a lot of things were happening around.

13:54 Oh, I was thinking in my head right now. You are 24 when they liked when you were working the Olympics to be like

14:07 Adventure Time, I totally forgot about it. I worked as a tour guide me to turn right then, but doctor that they learn to ski and then not also, I was in the mountains all the time with Tori since, you know, that was, that was really fun. And I had more money because I was only on the on that, you don't know what you're saying, that that was maybe the best part of my life because I was working, they time I was working as a teacher and then

14:44 The weekends. Mostly I was working in between I was working as a tour guide. I guess. I've been shifting into when you had to kind of come to America. I guess, I guess the first person that kind of like open it up. There's just like what would you rolled your younger self to prepare for in life? Cuz obviously that's something that's very like you didn't know that I was going to happen and I guess in retrospect like how was that transition into America? Like it's probably something you didn't even think would ever have happened in your like, you know, like think back to when you were a 24, you never thought. I mean, I'm not maybe you did but I was never interested in the end. Like all perception of the America was old affect people.

15:40 No, seriously, that's all like, you know, like and then some silly movies and they were those soap operas Dallas Center. You know what people like it was like, they knew that they were like, yeah, I know why I was not like, I would say that that were we were Europe Centric and if there is a place, I would have liked to go with the England or or you know, something like that. Yeah. They were you represent the daytime. I was also traveling.

16:12 I went to Spain and I spent a month in Spain, learning Spanish. So you don't like very eccentric. I feel like I worked for the British during the War. I worked in the British Embassy at work for the British Consul. So I can't do no interest in coming to the to the states. Really did not have any American dream. I can lick her seams with my way. It was not good experience at all because I did not want to come here but you know, the date and I'm glad the Indians that we did, but it was not good. Experience. We also came in Rochester, where we did not know anybody. And there was no support and we came in February. When it was like, horrible here.

17:12 It was pretty traumatic, and

17:17 In the way that the refrigerator Sacrament worksheets is the people who were involved in that process. We really shouldn't happen.

17:29 So, it was not.

17:34 It was not a good experience. I would not I would not do it ever ever again in my life welding. I mean, I don't I don't I mean I think with the circumstances and everything like I don't think it would I guess I wasn't trying to see it as I owed. You view it as like a pleasant experience. Now is that it was like a good one but more. So like

18:04 I like.

18:06 I don't know, I guess more. So just like

18:09 What was that day today experience like or what like talking about? Remember like, you know, somebody said go to DMV. I didn't know what, what what is DMV Now with internet? Everything is so much different, you know, like that was before internet and then you don't have anybody to ask but you know, what do I do? What do I do?

18:50 So they cannot, they were they at?

18:53 It was like to know I'm feeling very, very lost very well. It's like, you know, burst in like, you know, you're around in the streets of some Arab countries and do not like country and nobody. And, you know it, if you can't.

19:07 Speak language unnecessarily. It was unnecessarily dramatic and Rave to at the time so that probably added on to everything like having a small child to deal with.

19:29 When did you, when did you feel like you got your footing that I guess cuz I feel like you I mean, I don't know. Again. I was a baby by the time you wear it. Well, I mean, I was a toddler and back to you, get your master is and everything. I thought you were bar. But to me view in your life, it seem like you got your footing pretty quickly and like you kind of knew what you wanted to do. Know I lost 10 years and happy about it. I feel like I lost ten years of my life. I wish I could smoke me a longest time. I think when you were maybe 10-12 that I felt I was coming back to myself.

20:15 It it took me a long time to so yeah, Rochester is not an easy place to. I think we wanted originally to come to New York City. And somebody, I know.

20:31 Advice, that's against it. And I wish we did. I think I would feel much much more at home in your city, then.

20:39 Call my hubby know how I felt in Rochester just because there would be more.

20:52 People who could ask for help, that would be like through the streets. Like, you know, that there is a test it.

21:01 Over mail whelming like whiteness in the workplace.

21:22 Non to place where I'm used to live.

21:26 That's interesting. No doubt about that. What you were saying about that? You feel like you lost ten years. Like I'd never, I don't know. We have never liked talked about that before. But I guess like like with when you do now, in terms of work, are you kind of do you view yourself? Cuz like you work with refugees and you working with the nonprofit sector, like you've used that.

21:51 As a way that you're like, helping people kind of lesson that impact like that, but kind of like what you had to struggle with for those ten years, like you're hopefully less than the amount of time that they're dealing with an equal grounds.

22:08 The field at where I fell in my first job was in the. In the wreckage. He's related to Refugee services. And then I, I got further on it is on, like, I wish it was like more planned. It just I fell into it and then I stayed into it and somehow life was always very busy that I did not have the opportunity to stop and take time and say, okay. I really want to do this, or I want to do that, or this day, or this is some something where I would, like really like it's more you use swimming and then you go whichever way you can. This is what I can do. If you can devote, you would have a more different, another more degree would have a different view. We was able to control.

23:08 Yeah, I was swimming gold the time. Yeah, and then just trying to catch something. No, also, I guess like what did you want to be when you're growing up then like I guess what did you envision for yourself? Growing up? It was really different. We did not have this openness of space that you have in the states and I don't think even the kids in Europe. Have that open space. It's like, you know, the departing. Like, you know, you go to the school. That's cool. That's cool. And this is what you can do. It. It doesn't have that you go into liberal arts. And then you can do anything that comes your way.

24:01 I'm trying, I first went to the school to the high school with for, like, satellite for gifted kids in, in a four methods of physics. And I was okay, dear. I was well-liked middle of the road and then I realize that that's not my strength and then, you know, everything that I think I locked languages and anger, interpreter and translator would be much. And that's the role that picked.

24:36 Because I told her I studied languages. So hopefully didn't want to be or, or, you know, or or something along the lines of a teacher or it was never a discussion. That was never Worthing, all you can be whatever you want to be like.

25:06 There's more so you have like pasta, but they'll find it. Some of them were culturally.

25:18 From Shirley.

25:20 Call would I say it like a tan design on an invisible? You know, but that's

25:27 You know, it's true. It's not that women were oppressed, but it was not also that you saw too many women. You did not see women in in now in position of power.

25:51 Yeah, but it's time to ask you some questions because it's so we can for 2 minutes and do what you asked me. What do you remember? Like no going back to the period of coming to the states and you were born here in 1997.

26:10 And something that you remember, positive atom, I come as a surprise. But like, even I remember when we lived in, like the apartment complex that, you know, probably would be defined as a low income and whatnot. And it seems like to be much more, it still like a refugee kind of tangent. But like with that apartment complex, it's funny. He's a bad word I guess, but it's interesting to see that every time there's a different war or something that's going on in the world. That's the refugees of that country living at apartment complex. So like I remember growing up and it was like all bosnians and albanians, but

27:10 I love that like I remember like I still remember being like two years old or whatever and just like playing around on the carpeted floors and like all that like kids in that apartment complex, like just hanging around bothering like Andre just like having a good time over all and then we move to Irondequoit play music like I'm more affluent suburb. I not at all or just finding a place there, but it was because they had like a really good education system for like me and Andre but

27:54 Even then, like it was really positive. I'd say, like, I don't know, there wasn't too much negative best times. I guess. We're just like being able to form like, Bosnia. What are the ones that live in mixed weed and stuff like that. They would come to America and then we'd go on like camping trips like me, you Dad, and Andre and just like the whole family in like we do that thing, which I don't know.

28:28 It's it's just funny how each person has their different view? Point of like what is like Bliss or whatever? Because you know, some people like some of my friends are like, oh, yeah, I went to Cancun when I was like 6 years old and my family are like we went to, I don't know, we went to islands off of Spain. I don't know. Then I was like, I went camping and it was like so much fun. Like I don't know that I was just like this is a good time working with your means. It didn't feel like I was like, I never felt like I was poor or underprivileged mean. I felt very much like secure to my stop.

29:11 It didn't bother your that your parents talked with accents in style. I called your dad Russian and then just basically this like weird thing. I actually thought it was cool that like I could understand another language and then my parents gets a whole another language than that. I had like

29:45 Some cultural background in something other than just being like American or whatever. I don't know.

29:52 Yeah, so it's on the same Note, 8.

29:56 You wanted to know you were treated differently because of you because of your

30:03 Last name or I mean, I remember.

30:13 When cuz I think I came to kindergarten 3 days late because we were in Bosnia visiting like family and stuff at the time. And so I came to the kindergarten three days late. And I remember that like the teachers thought I was from Bosnia. I like that. I had just hopped off like I like she pulls up the world map and everything and Adrian. I think she lives in my whole life. I was like icelanded off the plane and Bosnia, but

30:55 I don't know if I like missing a question completely but I was never a lot of the next week. I was like, interesting, like it is a different thing. This what is this? What is this thing downstairs with just butchered? My last name? That was like

31:31 But it's like, you know like him out there that you don't like between two of you you swim for 15 years and like I mean, I know it's not always the same people announcing but it's like

31:43 Yeah, it's like, how could you not? Like, I don't know. It's just like, at least it would be better than like Abba, Baba, brother. Like when they was, like, go off on these random tangent, Oobleck last name, the worst was, I don't know if you remember when I graduated college, but when the lady was like, it was horrible. It was like Adrian toenail. And it's like you just completely butcher that. But that one like her a little bit. Just cuz I really like this for this far along. And I just know, there's so many more harder names to pronounce at a college.

32:20 Living in Rochester.

32:32 I love, I love Rochester as much as I think. I like it actually more now moving to Brooklyn kind of thing when they move somewhere there. Like I have more of an appreciation change that city is just the winter and then I'd be like, all this is the perfect place to live. But I think what I appreciate it. It just a slowness of like at all. Like coming back from like I'm excited for weeks. I'll be back in Rochester and I'm just excited to be by the lake and be by the water. And when I sit there and laugh challenge,

33:22 Not worried about like a saying, just enjoy my time. I think something I really enjoyed like something that is really

33:30 The fact that it's like a city,

33:33 It still has like the nature surrounded by it so I can always like Escape into that. It's not like I'm surrounded by like country and buildings. Like I am here in Brooklyn like a pic. Yeah, I can go out to the beach here, but it's an hour. Long train ride horses.

34:00 I know you're interested in your Bosnian heritage.

34:05 And so like, you know, if you can talk a little bit about that and then also the question of belonging you have because that is the big question for me. I don't think I'd be along anytime anywhere it anymore because, yeah, both places. Like, you know, I don't really belong here at them, full of belonging to hear. You're in a different place and see if you had any when you go back to Boston. Now that we went to many times, but, you know, you do you have a sense that you've been a long day or the two, you know, that there is, there are some connections.

34:47 Yeah, I definitely love like my boss and Heritage and something that I think I've been embracing a lot more in like the past few years. I think every person has like a little bit of confusion in terms of just like what what makes up someone or what not.

35:08 I'd like a little just hand her growing up. I always had like these weird obsessions over, just like different. My culture is being upset with Russia or whatever for a little bit. And I mean I love is like Denmark in Danish stuff and like like like like Parisian stuff. Like I was like getting these like little other testicle culture back. I kind of realized there. And I think when that like checked was, when we went to see that Moma show that concrete Utopia, I think a lot of that kind of hit and then 19 and seeing all our family and my getting to the question of like belonging, like when I got there like it definitely feels like a second home to me. Even though I do know, I wasn't born there. Anything but

36:08 I mean we've been like, I went there when I was little, I went there, when I was like preaching. I went there as an adult and what we've always liked had family come visit and it doesn't feel like a home to me. It sounds like a place that I want to like live.

36:26 For a couple years of my life like I would, I don't know when I would like it to be sooner rather than later. I'd rather like in the next, like 2 years kind of have some time to be there for at least, like three to six months even longer if need be. And I obviously want to get my Croatian citizenship and what not. So maybe I can even be there for even longer and go to school there, again, get my Master's or something, but that's whatever. But,

36:58 Yeah, and I got love for my car real family, So I say like what you just said right now. I think I know I talked to the Civic other people would like lost their parents or whatever is better.

37:41 You kind of

37:43 When you get in here like twenties or like when you get into finally being an adult like you kind of you start becoming like you start knowing your parents were like, who they actually are. So like I feel like me and you like we've always been very close and always like whatever. But I think in the last few years, we definitely like to learn more about you. You learn more about me in like it feels much more like

38:04 Their butt with Dad. I didn't get to really experience that. So there's like a lot that it's like I was just starting to kind of understand who he was and where he came from and Mike.

38:18 I guess I don't know stuff. I want to know is this more so like about he's growing up cuz I feel like that was just a shrouded in mystery kind of always here. Always give me like, 10 minutes and it's not like he tried to hide anything per se, but I think you tried putting like Rose Colored Glasses over a lot of things.

38:36 Like she would just kind of be very general over what like happened in his life experiences. So do you just know? It'd be really good to know. Just like what?

38:47 What and how he like grew up?

38:52 Nicki Minaj.

38:59 Yeah, and something on top of that just to like kind of go back to your last question. The end form. Question is I want to one of the reasons I want to go back to Bazi, has to work on my personal work. So but being a photographer and everything. Cuz I really want to kind of

39:14 Investigate and learn more about like my cultural ties and like my family history. And I know that like dad comes from a pretty small family in my Christmas, all village, where there's like a lot more information that might be present about him his family and like, like, I don't know.

39:37 Fighting more funny, more information about like our family and like our lineage and just how that personally like is attached to me and my work and how I process life, I guess cuz it is such a central part to my actual identity.

39:56 Yeah.

40:02 I think pretty good, right?