Prolaz, project about the continuous change experienced in the Balkans over the last years. It’s about the complexity of the human condition during the region’s transition toward democracy. It’s a personal view on the tension and the contradiction occurring here.

I started my journey in 2004 from Istanbul, I decided to start from Turkey, to capture the influence of  Turkish  ‘Ottoman Empire in the Balkans.
And continue in subsequent years in different cities and surroundings from Albania, Bosnia, Bucharest, Croatia, Hezegovina, Kosovo, Istanbul, Macedonia, Montenegro, Sofia, Serbia, Skopje, Thessaloniki.

Fabio Sgroi

A land of unsure boundaries, where opposites both attract and repel each other. The last decade has violently changed the physical and psychological dimension of these towns, evolving them into a nationalist drama and perhaps the conclusion of an irreversible sense of their own being. Nevertheless, there are vibrant feelings of hope and fear, stemming from the people’s conflicting sense of their cultural heritage.

You know you're from Balkan when...

1. Your neighbor comes over every day uninvited, for coffee. 

2. You know someone with 20 kids. 

3. You know someone that married his girlfriend of 2 months. 

4. The average age for getting married is 18. 

5. Getting married at 16 actually happens.

6. Your parents don’t realize phone connections to foreign countries have improved in the last two decades, and still scream at the top of their lungs when making foreign calls. 

7. You think its normal if your wedding has 600 people. 

8. You believe that Nike is a brand and you feel rich wearing it.

9. You have fake brands such as: adidos, readbook, nice and pila. 

10. You call everything on a computer “a program”.

11. You discuss food prices.

12. You are adored the first 10 years of your life, then treated like a complete idiot until you get married. 

13. You take your shoes off when you enter the house, and every family member has his/her own slippers 

15. You gossip about your own family…with members of your own family.

16. You feel proud when CNN has a special report on your country. 

17. You get kicked out of restaurants and shops for being too loud.

18. You drink tea 24/7.

19. If you own a shop, you stand at the door watching the pedestrians. 

20. If you are at home, you are either on your balcony or at your window…watching the cars and the pedestrians. 

21. You call all your elders “uncle” or “aunt”. 

22. Your dream is to have a different passport. 

23. Your parents constantly compare you to your neighbor’s/aunt’s/mom’s friend’s son/daughter. 

24. You always fight about who is going to pay the bill although no one really wants to pay it. 

25. You talk for an hour on the front door when you’re leaving. 

26. You believe your country has the best looking girls and guys. 

27. If a stranger smiles at you, they are either:
- trying to sell you something,
- trying to convert you to a non-mainstream religion a.k.a. cult,
- or are mentally retarded.

28. You are surprised when you’re driving in a foreign country and you don’t hear cars honking. 

29. You are shocked when cars give way to you.

30. You always go to people’s houses uninvited just to say hi. 

31. You’ve seen Troy and don’t understand why Eric Bana had to die instead of Brad Pitt.

32. Eric Bana is hotter than Brad Pitt. Full stop.

33. You are proud of actors such as Bana because they represent the Balkans. 

34. You have dinner at 9pm and consider it normal. 

35. You play football on the road with your friends and neighbors. 

36. You are close friends with the people who work in the nearest market place or the 24 hour store. 

37. Your mom puts hats and scarves on you when the other kids are playing in shorts.

38. Men call women “woman”.

39. Your entire family questions your new boyfriend whom you have the courage to bring home with you. 

40. You smoke shisha all day, and call it “nargilé”.

41. You put salt in your food before even tasting it.

42. You think that everyone in the world is concerned with what happens in your country. 

43. You’re shocked when you learn that some Europeans or Americans are unable to locate your country on a map 

44. You are always overdressed, even when you go grocery shopping 

45. You are proud of yourself when you are only 30 minutes late.

46. The biggest meal of the day is in the evening - or any other time you see fit. 

47. You don’t understand people who only have a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

48. If you are late for an appointment, you’ll mutter an excuse if you’re 30 minutes late. An hour late is still tolerable

49. If you are not understood, you would rather increase your volume than rephrase. 

50. You always bargain for everything. After all, everyone who is in the selling business is a crook, and everything is always overpriced.

51. You constantly ask your guests if they want to eat or drink anything.

52. The guest bathroom and the living room are always clean and ready in case of unexpected visitors.

53. Your fridge is always full of food.

54. You eat sunflower seeds whilst watching TV, in the park, on the beach, in the cinema and basically everywhere you go.

55. You used to change the channels on your TV manually because remote controls did not exist up until a few years ago.

56. There are at least 30 different soap operas going on all the time.

57. You still watch the programs that have not appeared on Western television since the 1980s.

58. You find it weird that people don’t dance on tables in bars

59. You can tell what is fake and what is real from 100 meters away.

60. You take Eurovision extremely seriously…I mean you start swearing at the TV, normally insulting the rivals’ mothers. 

61. You don’t want to have or do any business with other Balkans.

62. You started to drink at the age of 12.

63. It takes over 8 years to finish college.

64. You live with your mom and dad until you are married.

65. You make jokes based on your own tragedy.

66. At your wedding you know only about a third of the guests.

67. Your 15 year-old sister can out-drink any American.

68. Your father calls you a dummy for not knowing how to do something he can’t do either.

69. You are 18 years old but your parents still call you by your sibling’s or pet’s name.

70. You can hear your dad snoring from across the street.

71. Your dad’s sneeze scares you.

72. There is at least one relative that your family refuses to talk to.

73. If you’re a girl and not married by the age of 20 you are an old maid.

74. Your mom tells you not to sit on cement or your ovaries will freeze.

75. Your baba will not accept the fact that you’re not hungry.

76. You can hear your parents talking and you are across the street.

77. No one has ever pronounced your name right, and every kid on the block has a different nickname for it.

78. You can always smell garlic on your parents’ breath and they insist that it kills bacteria.

79. No matter how old you are, your parents never say you’re right.

80. You’re 6’5 and 150 kg and your parents still think you are too skinny.

81. Your baba would rather walk 5 miles to the grocery store instead of pay a quarter to take the bus.

82. You sport the latest Nike and Adidas outfits but have never exercised in your life.

83. You always have the latest mobile phone on the market.

84. You can spend 3 hrs in a café drinking the same cup of coffee.

85. Calling someone for a chat at 1am on a weeknight is normal.

86. Your parents insist that piling blankets on your body is the way to cure your 102 degree fever.

87. You started going to clubs when you were 14.

88. You think chalga is good music.

89. Your parents’ friends have no shame in telling you you’ve gained weight.

90. All you have to do is sniffle and your parents say “uh-huh” and start yelling at you for getting sick.

91. You have 17 consonants and 2 vowels in your last name.

92. You have “pita” for dinner at least 4 days a week.

93. A loaf of bread is eaten for lunch every day.

94. You chop up some onions and then decide what to cook for dinner.

95. A couple of days really means a week or so.

96. You are nodding and going “tsk, tsk, tsk” as you are reading this and feeling proud to be Balkan.