When writing a biography, you usually include both good and bad stories, true or a little less true. I will try to tell my story in this few pages.
I was born in 1961 in a small town in Macedonia. Destiny wanted my parents to divorce and to put me for adoption. With less than two years I got a new family, the only one I know, but at this point I will not write much about it.
I grew up in the country and finished primary school. My parents opposed me going to high school, because they believed that as a girl I do not need education, but I have to work and help on the farm. I was an excellent student, so in the end they gave up and enrolled me in high school. The happiness did not last long. My parents tried in every way for me to drop out of school. I finished education just before the end of the second year and I did not have enough money for food, let alone for anything else.
I was working at the fields all days and was trying to decide what to do with myself. I could not accept the fact that I am staying in the village and working in the fields from dawn to dusk. During that time I met a guy whose sister lived and worked in Slovenia, and he was preparing to move in with her and work there. He asked me to leave with him, it was in 1979. Since I was a minor, I could not leave immediately. I waited until my 18th birthday. On 5th of August we celebrated it, and then young, crazy and in love made a plan to move to Slovenia. We packed few things into a suitcase and full of hopes and dreams left to pursue a better life.
When we arrived in Črnomelj it became clear to me why the guy talked about Slovenia so much and wanted to come here. I felt like I had been here since always. We found the accommodation and work, and I was really happy. But this happiness did not last long. My boyfriend was too jealous and did not let me work. I worked in the former IMV in Novo Mesto for a month, and then I started working in the textile industry Novoteks. My boyfriend did not let me work there as well. He was earning enough for both of us to live on his salary. For some time it remained like that, but I quickly realized that my life had not changed much.
One day in 1981 I packed my suitcases and left for Kranj. That is where our story together ends. I quickly found a job and arrange my life in a short time, just like I had always wanted. I was overjoyed, because my dreams finally started coming true. I worked in Tekstilindus, I had an apartment in the working – class home and was quickly making friends. In one word – I was happy. I also met my husband and we got married in 1984. In 1986 we got a daughter and we were happy and satisfied family. My husband was working in the barracks in Kranj. At that time you could only have permanent residence in one country of SFRY, so I registered in Kranj on 11/08/1984, shortly after the wedding. We had lived in Kranj until November 1988, when my husband got transferred and we moved to Maribor. I gave birth to my younger daughter in Maribor on 06/14/1990. We were happy. My husband was working and I was taking care of the children. Then things began to change in our country. The disintegration of Yugoslavia began.
I remember the plebiscite and with how much hope for a better life we voted for the independence of Slovenia, with how much confidence I went to vote for President Milan Kučan, and even in the wildest dreams had not thought those things would happen. We all know how it turned out and how the collapse of SFRJ happened. At this point I want to tell you how much pain and suffering this caused to me and my family. In May 1991 I went to Macedonia. Since I was not working at that time, I wanted my parents to spend some time with their granddaughters. I wanted to stay for one month, during which my brother and his wife had a baby and I wanted to be present at this festive event. As the old and wise say: evil never comes just once, it is always accompanied by another. My sister in law gave birth to a baby with a heart defect, who died after one month. I was with them so I could help. My husband was working in a meantime and called us to come back because he missed us. We wanted to go back on 1st of July, as soon as he got paid. But that was only a wish, on 25.6. 1991 there were news on television saying “In Slovenia, the war began”.
At that moment it was not clear who is in war with whom, I could not believe what I saw and heard. I went into town to call my husband, because we did not have the phone at home. I could not reach him because all the connections were dead and for few days I was not able to talk to anyone in Slovenia. After about 7 or 8 days, I do not know exactly, I managed to speak to my husband. When I asked him what was going on, and how much is true of what they were broadcasting on television, he said only that he knows nothing, that he fears for his job and does not know what to do. I was shocked and lost.
I did not know what was going on in Slovenia, I did not know how to get back home and how to explain to my daughter why we cannot go back and why she cannot see her father, she had only five years. At that time I did not even imagine that we will never go back to my home again, and that I will have to wait for 21 years to come back to Slovenia – the country that I love, and that I will have to wait for 21 years to see my friends again.
When I was recently in Kranj and Ljubljana and saw my friends, apartment where I used to live and all the places dear to me, I thought my heart will break, both of happiness and sadness. All these 20 years I was suffering and hoping that one day I will come back to where I belong. Whenever I asked my friends how my family can come back, I always got the same answer – we cannot because we were erased. Nevertheless, I never stopped loving Slovenia, a country where I was happiest.
Sometime in September 2004 I asked our friends to send me a letter of guarantee so I could visit them and at the same find out how we can return. I got a letter of guarantee and went to Podgorica in October to obtain the visa. I will not even write what I heard from a representative in Slovenian embassy there, but I did not get a visa. Only hope that one day everything will change remained, and it did. Now I hope that at least my daughters will be able to live in a country where they were born.
I hope that they will say that we can go back home because we never left, we just went to visit the grandparents. At the beginning, we were unable to return because of the war, and when the war ended, we were not allowed to return because we were erased, and nobody asked us anything. I will not write about the ugly things, I will not write how much my daughters suffered over the last twenty years, it is enough to write that we changed three countries, two languages and were everywhere treated as refugees from Slovenia. My kids often asked me: “Mom, why are we refugees?” I did not know how to answer them, because basically we never escaped from there. They are wonderful now, and they were always good students despite the fact that we were constantly moving. Unfortunately, Eva was unable to complete the faculty, but I hope she will succeed. Ema is studying, she has a little girl with a Slovene and she is living with him. This is another reason why I want to return to Slovenia.
On behalf of my children and me I ask you to allow us to return and live in Slovenia. You will return my kids hope in a better tomorrow and make up for what they have suffered, and that was a lot – from the fact that they were sometimes hungry (you know what was the situation in Serbia), to the fact that they started a school year in one country, but ended it in another, the fact that since we were not able to return to Maribor, they did not have a permanent residence anywhere, and no place they can call home. They grew up moving from one place to another. Let us continue where we left 20 years ago.