Tattooed in Belgrade

Blogging about my tattoo is reminiscent of Grad 2006 when I told my family I was moving to Mexico instead of going to school through the announcement as I walked across the stage.

“Nicole Fisher has gotten a rather large tattoo in Serbia.”

They can’t be that mad. I’m 23 and Mom still refers to me as the daughter who pierced her own belly button.

So, I got a tattoo in Serbia.

I had been planning this tattoo for over four years. I have talked to many tattoo artists and nothing has felt right until now. I was browsing in Belgrade when I spotted a stunning sketch matched with an incredibly skilled portfolio of designs.

They belonged to the director of the shop – a true Madame of the industry.

She is about 50 years old, and a painter. She doesn’t tattoo much anymore but she liked the style of my tattoo so they called her into the shop. I trusted her assertive and graceful presence immediately. She had a team of people working with her that we collaborated with for 3 days, it was comfortable and the perfect tattoo experience.

I had two people tattooing me at the same time. It was hilarious, not once did they ask if I was doing okay and they would switch off for breaks while I endured 3 hours straight. It quite tolerable until the last half an hour when there was a bit of squirming.

I won’t annoyingly boast that “I have a high tolerance for pain” as people who get tattoos love to point out, but the Madame said I was like a dragon. 🙂

THE TATTOO – What is it, why?!!

Wise and fierce, the tiger represents my Grandfather. He is all of my inspiration and the foundation of who I am.

The tree of life, my Nana. She is one of my best friends and she is the most loved person I have ever met. Her two daughters have given her seven grandchildren and this month she turns 70.

Four orchids represent my younger siblings, Cassidy, Morgan, Caden and Devon – the bud that wasn’t given the chance to bloom. My Nana and I shared a magnificent orchid for a year, but I won’t get into the details of that story.

To become immortal – this is a nonchalant line from the 1960 French film Breathless. An arrogant and chauvinistic man is asked what his greatest ambition is, he replies “To become immortal, and then die.”

I admired his confidence and I have kept his words for my own standard in life – there is nothing I won’t strive for. I am in Serbia alone, I have travelled the world, I have gotten the beautiful tattoo I have talked about for years and I am proud.

Hitchhiking in snowy mountains

I have sympathized with countless friends over countless lost phones, never exactly understanding what is so difficult about keeping track of them. Now that I have lost mine, it feels pleasantly irresponsible.

My phone departed me en route to Uzice, the village I am staying in with a Serbian family.

My host and I hitchhiked to Mokra Gora, the village of the famous Serbian director of Life is a Miracle. Hitchhiking is apparently a regular mode of transportation here. It took us five rides and at one point we had to stand in a hitchhiking queue. We took a train through the mountains and visited some filming locations of the Life is a Miracle set. I forgot to bring my flat-sister, it’s tough being 2D.

In Serbia the Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on January 7th and after 24 hours in the festive countryside I can confidently identify the sound of a gunshot. Initially I had to clarify “firework or gunshot?” I added an awkward explanation of Canada’s gun laws: Hunting yes, celebrations…frowned upon.

Another custom is picnicking at a grave after someone passes away. There is an annual day of remembrance but they also visit a grave 1 week, 40 days, 6 months and 1 year after someone passes. The Serbians laughed whole heartedly explaining how ridiculous they thought it was to light cigarettes, pour liquor into the ground and to sprawl a picnic over the burial site – sometimes in the pouring rain. That sort of thing may get you arrested in Canada, but I think its quite sweet.

Christmas hasn’t been “Hallmarked” here. During communism Christmas celebrations were not allowed and the holiday hasn’t been fully adopted yet. It’s more like this day where if you’re religious you begrudgingly follow some customs with your family. The rest of the country went to the bar and we followed.

In the first bar the shoulder blades of the man standing behind me were at least 4” taller than my head while I was wearing heels. If he turned around to talk to me I probably would have thrown my arms up in fear, Darwinism at its finest.

The next wine bar has live folk and gipsy music. The musicians were glowing with happiness standing in the middle of the bar bumping elbows with the crowd. It was incredible to dance in a crowded room and know that no one was watching, everyone was captivated with the band.

Tomorrow I am heading back to Belgrade. Why, might you ask? That will be another post.