I had just turned 2 when the war started, and I had arrived in Denmark with my parents. They were from different communities, so we spent three extra, tough years at asylum centers around the country. What the war brought out in people was quite unexpected, and different from the good life we had enjoyed in Bosnia. Therefore, my parents abstained from cultivating nationalism at home. I am grateful for that, but I feel utterly deprived of my history, and inadequate when I am together with others from Bosnia.
I don’t remember much about my childhood. I think I put a lot of energy into learning Danish and rendering myself inconspicuous, and consequently my mother tongue has not been given scope to develop. My parents have always said that if I just got an education and a decent job, they would support the other things. I have developed a lot since then, and today I have a great job, but getting there was not easy.
It is hard to keep up with the news and debates, and listen to the “cozy” racism, without being affected by the hostility towards immigrants and refugees. When, in a weak moment, I mention that I am not Danish, the outrage is evident with my friends and boyfriend. I belong in Denmark, but I do not understand the Danes, in the same way, as I do not understand those from Bosnia. Now that I have become a mother, I think about how I will manage to give my child a meaningful relationship with his mother's family and country of birth, when I cannot understand my own.
Maja Mijatovic / 29 / female / in a relationship / one child / librarian / Aabenraa / from Bosnia-Herzegovina / came to Denmark in 1992 / residence permit 1995 / citizenship 2000