5 Ways to Spot South Slavs in Austria and Germany

If you feel lonely in Germanic lands, look for these clues

Julius_Silver (CC0), Pixabay

When I first moved to Austria, I was surprised by the number of people coming from former Yugoslavia and other Slavic countries. After a while, I’ve realized that it’s quite easy to notice a „Jugo“ (term for a South Slav) in the mixture of various cultures, mainly the Austrian and German-speaking crowd. There are just some things that we do and do not/cannot change about ourselves and our behavior!

1. We talk loudly on the phone in public transport

Austrians are mainly silent while riding in the U-Bahn, straßenbahn or the public bus. They either read the papers, a book, use their Kindle or just listen to music via headphones drifting away in their thoughts. Jugos are not like that. If we are with a friend who comes from our region, we talk. If we are alone, we use this transport time to call a Jugo friend and blabber about our day. Half of the conversation consists of retelling a story and loudly explaining what happened, while the other half is laughter. Loud laughter.

2. Beautiful women (and make-up!)

Although make-up is an individual thing and not all young women wear it, almost every Jugo young woman will. She knows how to properly apply foundation, blush, eye pencil, mascara, lip liner pencil, lipstick and wears red nail polish at least once per yearly season. And that’s only for the morning lecture at the University, don’t get me started on Saturday night evening make-up. A professional Jugo young woman can apply make-up rather quickly; by the time water boils for Turkish coffee while getting ready during morning, a Jugo woman is already finishing up with her lipstick.

3. Chains. Golden ones.

Jugo men have chains, big-ass chains with specific embroideries often made of gold or stainless steel (for the ones just arrived to Austria). If you want to know how important golden chains to Jugo men are, just look at the texts of songs such as “Prsten i zlatni lanac”, “Bosanac” (the one from Elvira Rahic & DJ Deni), “Dalmatinac nosi lančić oko vrata” or even “Eh, što nisam lančić mali”. There will definitely be a chain around the neck of a Jugo working in diaspora, perhaps even a golden loop earring if he has pierced ears. He probably doesn’t.

4. We have our bases and headquarters

It is called “kafana”. Remember the TV show “Cheers”? Where everybody knows your name? That’s called a kafana. Kafanas are something between a club, bar, inn and tavern. Its decoration is often rustic with various little details and elements which can often be found in our country of origin. The music consists of old folk songs including narodnjaci, turbofolk and sometimes sevdah as well. If you go to a kafana, do not be surprised if you see a bunch of people smashing glasses, crying and loudly singing to a song mentioning the motifs such as homeland, region, hills, rivers, old mother, rakija, nature. That’s our catharsis. It is also not unusual to see men fighting, but most of the kafanas have strong security guys who will handle the situation and kick them out.

5. Mercedes, BMW, Audi…

Balkan cuisine and a German car. Owning a Mecedes, BMW or any other German car is essential for every Jugo working in diaspora. Having a reliable car is a “muss” for a Jugo in Germany and Austria. Not only can he travel safely back home, but he can also smuggle cigarettes, rakija, meat, perhaps some electronic devices as well. In addition, when he comes back to his hometown with such a car and gold around his neck, he is the boss. It doesn’t matter that he works his ass off and lives in a small apartment – when he comes home, he’s the big shot and his homies ask him for a ride. At least his mother is at peace when she sees her son can actually afford a nice car and has a job.

What do you think?

What do you think?

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