In the rest of the world, iPhone chats and drunk brunches encroach on weekend tradition, but in the tiny Serbian village where my family is from, Sunday afternoon has always been reserved for pheasant soup, freshly slaughtered pigs, and grandma’s endless stories. And you’d better not miss it.
In Serbia, Sunday lunch is of the utmost importance. It’s a time for rest, a time when every family member is home, no matter what. This story is about five families who live on the same street in Čurug, the northern Serbian village where I grew up. It is a village of just 8,000 people, most of whom are Orthodox Christian farmers.
Growing up, every time I went to visit my grandma I felt like I was entering a whole other world; a world of adventure and grand experience. My grandma said I was the “house mouse” because I was always playing in her room, usually alone or with my friend, Maša. We would make up stories and draw princess castles and fortresses in my cozy room upstairs. I would draw until I used every sheet of paper in the house.
As much as I loved this place, I knew it wasn’t where I completely belonged. And, like many others who lived on my street, I grew up and moved away. Some enrolled in universities; some got married; many now have children. All changed and became distant — but every Sunday we return to the same place — home for Sunday lunch.
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The photo essays featured on Narratively this week were originally developed as part of Family. Life. a collaborative student project initiated by Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. The project explores the feelings, relationships, obstacles, and identities of families through visual stories produced by photography schools around the world.