After taking the wrong bus and walking for miles, I end up in front of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology. I confidently walk into the building, although I had no appointment and knew no one there. Let alone I speak no Serbian. I show the doorman the name of the dean, carefully written in my small notebook. He could not agree more, that is the dean. However, the doorman speaks no English. He tries to get some students to help. No one cares to stop. At some point, a professor passes by. "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" he kindly asks. Last time I did speak some German was many years ago. Still, I try my best and it seems that despite the severe mutilation of German grammar and vocabulary, I can get my point across.
I wait in front of the dean's office. It's Friday afternoon and he is out for lunch. While waiting, a young student asks me a few quick questions in Serbian, before I have the time to defend myself with the phrase I've come to master: "ja ne govorim srbski". His name is Mladen, we switch to English and exchange a few words. I try to explain what I'm doing in Serbia. He listens, nods politely, then leaves.
The dean's secretary tells me to come back on Monday if the dean is not back by 3pm. An hour passes and it's 3:15. I get out of the school and head for the closest bus stop. On the sidewalk, I run into Mladen. "Hey, where you're going? You have something to do now?" I obviously did not.
Mladen took me to the church in which he chants, then we headed back to school for the evening prayer, a very interesting, somewhat intimate and mysterious ceremony. Which he invited me to photograph. We returned to the evening prayer yesterday, to photograph it one more time. Thanks, Mladen!