So, I took a train to Venlo. Haven’t done that in a while. One of the perks of living in Düsseldorf is that you can take a short train ride from the main station and visit Holland. Gate 4. Train RE13. It drives every hour at :49. I used to go there when ever I needed some time just to get away from everything, clear my head and listen to my own thoughts. Usually I read a book, took one with me, but I couldn’t read this time. Lately I am just tired of all the information circulating around me and around the whole world.
Venlo. I don’t know if there are more coffee shops now, but I used to visit two of them. At one you have to be registered and at one you can just come in. On this trip I visited the latter one. Bought myself two pre-rolled Joints. One Haze joint and one Kush joint. I know that a lot of people look down on people who buy pre-rolled joints, but sometimes I like eating the sandwich that I didn’t have to make myself. If you know what I mean. I was not allowed to stay there because of the situation we are now in. The lady inside said to me that Coffee shops are probably going to reopen for public around September. For all of you who plan a trip to Amsterdam.
So I went out and took a walk towards the river to find a nice and respectful place to smoke my first joint. I called it Einstein. I personally don’t know where are you allowed, or not allowed to smoke a joint, but I have realized that in Holland as long as you don’t behave like a peasant everything is going to be okay. I found my place, lit the first joint and let the rest take care of itself.
Fuckin Water polo. All I ever wanted was to play water polo, earn some money so that I could finance myself through my schooling, travel the world a bit and then stop playing once it makes sense to stop playing. Of course I had certain dreams, but I understood that its not the end of the world if I don’t achieve them.
This feeling of a perpetual life crossroad is still not going away. In the last year, I have had many powerful moments happen to me for which I will be thankful till the day I die. And every time I would think that I am finally getting a grip on my situation, I would end up with that same crossroad feeling. Why do I always feel like I am selling myself short? Joint was almost done and I decided to have a walk. My smoking days are behind me and now this pre-rolled Haze joint fucked me up way more then I expected. Oh well. I decided to go with the flow of me. I haven’t had a joint in a while and the thing that I missed the most was that lack of Ego one experiences while high.
Growing up a Bujas was not always the easiest thing in the world. The members of my family were diplomats, political figures, high court judges, nobleman, doctors, priests, atomic engineers, musicians, etc. Mr. Eli Tauber from Sarajevo is even writing a book on my great grand father Srećko Bujas for everything he has done for the Jews during the war. You get the picture of my family. Now picture being the last male heir to all of that. Hello, that’s me. My family tree goes back some 500 years. Now, imagine being the first one in this family tree to not finish a university in the last 4-5 generations. Hello, me again haha. Now where was I? Ah yeah. Weed and lack of ego.
Since I was a child expectations were put on me, and not the regularly ones. Somehow I never seem to achieve them, or feel like I will achieve them. I don’t know what should you achieve as a 12 year old, but somehow I was not achieving it. Then somewhere down the line few male figures from the Bujas side died and Tomo was left to take the burden of this beast. This was few years back and I remember thinking to myself. “They are all dead. So if I don’t do shit with my life, all of their Bujas importance will become meaningless.” So basically they need me to do something with my life, or everything that they have done loses in value and meaning. I kinda liked the idea of the control I had over this family now. I will do what the fuck I want to do with my life, and if somebody from my dead ancestors has something against, well they are just going to have to deal with it. Now its my turn to give this family my own twist and if I end up without a male heir, I guess that I am not a bad way to end a family lineage haha.
Man. Nothing like smoking a joint after a long break. It just disarms you. I was thinking about something. I remembered something from over 15 years ago. Grandfather from my fathers side, whos name I carry, was showing me a clip from the newspapers he had about him. It was from 1970 something. It said something about him and how he is a doctor who is not afraid to operate on any patient bla bla bla. He was so proud of it. Guess what grandfather. You in the news again haha. You never thought that after so many years of you passing away that you will ever reach the news, again. For the first time since 1970 something. Oh well, not the first time if we count the obituary. Guess what. Your grandchild is the news, he writes news, he makes the news and decides what is a new. Have you ever been to a funeral of your first and last namesake? Its a weird situation haha. That’s all I will tell you.
There is one almost Shakespearean proverb dating back to 90s Serbia and goes something like this: ”you either have balls, or you go to school.”. Did I just insult the last few generations of my family? Of course no haha. In this crazy world in which people change narratives like socks, knowing that you come from somewhere makes a difference. You have something to trace and something to guide you. I have been all over this world. When I was born in ’89 they said I had something to do with the FR of Yugoslavia. Then with 2 years I decided that I am a Croatian now. Later in 2009 I went to California and over there they were calling me an European. Okay. Then I went back home for the holidays and then everybody called me an American. Okay. Then later I went to Germany and then I became a Yugo, an Ex-yugo, Balkaner, Kroat and a Scheiss Auslander. Okay. I come back home everybody calls me a German. Okay. Well to get stuff straight with all of yous. I am a Bujas and I come from a town called Split. If you don’t like that, well then you can suck my dick. I have a responsibility towards my family and nobody else.
I was always a loud mouth. Talkin’ shit had nothing to do with me making a block, or getting a goal. Just because you scored on me this time doesn’t mean that I will stop talkin’ shit. Winning and losing have nothing to do with who am I as a human being. What I am trying to show is what a human being is capable of achieving just by being myself. Nothing more, and nothing less. I am not a winner. I am not a loser. I am me. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Life has a funny way of outbalancing itself. Life is a zero sum game and no influencer is ever going to change that.
When did all this weed thing started? Well before I came to Germany I would smoke here and there. During the season I had doping tests and that’s not something I like to play with. I end up having to do few of those prior to my arrival on the German soil and was always chill about it. Pun intended haha. Never failed one. I went to Germany on a one way ticket. Both, physically and metaphorically. Ever since I landed I have always held my own and until a year ago I never took a single step back. As I came to Germany, about a month later one million Syrians came. Now I am not saying that they had it easy, but as someone who was in a similar situation as most of them, they had a lot of benefits which I didn’t. As a foreigner in a town like Duisburg it was not easy to hold your own. Especially in those times. Some people were a bit racist towards me, but they ended up being the victims haha. Strange times. Really strange times. In those strange times I found myself drifting. People who I was associated with at that time did their best to find a good place for a scheiss auslander like me. We give you few euros, now be quiet and be thankful for it auslander. Ehm. No, and fuck you. In the end I ended up hanging mostly with the street people. Imagine, a guy with a nazi sign tattooed on one of his fingers showing me more respect as a human being then people who you would expect it from. Some of them were in the jail and some of them are probably going to end in one. To set the record straight. I was never a street kid, but just a kid in the streets. Later I even had to relearn some of my German, because I was speaking like one of these guys. Still to this day when I get excited about something I switch back to my street German haha. And when I say street German, I must add that I speak the street German from the streets of Nord-Rhein Westphalen. Berlin street language is a bit different then NRW street german. Example. The word “Dude” on the Berlin “Deutsch” you write “Dicka”, but on a NRW german you write it “Digga”. They are basically spoken the same, but have different accents and then they are written differently. Ask Bushido haha. Never mind. Learn the language and find for yourself. I know that most of you will never want to learn German, but I will try convince you one more time. Just imagine that one day you will be able to understand everything what Adolf Hitler was spitting out of his mouth haha. That was one of the most weirdest things that I have experienced. Still to this day it shocks me. Why? Well I will let you learn the language and find it out for yourself haha. I hope that my late great-grandfather is not turning in his grave as I am trying to convince people to learn the German language so that they could understand what was Hitler saying haha. Somehow I think he understands the bigger picture here. He understands that what I am saying here is out of love for the people. What a good hard working german has been trough since the war has been hell. People who had nothing to do with what happened with them had to endure so much because of their ancenstors. I have never let the actions of few to affect my love for the people I have lived with for more then 5 years. I have learned a lot from them and they made me a better human being. I am born in Split, but I was made in Duisburg.
The amounts of money which I was making in Duisburg with my two small side jobs on the side I will not reveal to you. Not now, not ever. I have learned my lesson. With time I came to my senses and moved away from all this stuff. It took time to filter my life, get rid of certain ballast and, ain’t gonna lie, weed helped there. Maybe this is not the best PR move that I just did, but that’s how it is. I have a wife now, a job, a name, a reputation, a future and a responsibility towards my family to represent them the best way I can. Weed can help you at certain moments in life, but that’s all. If you need weed to help yourself, leave the weed alone and go help yourself.
I am still just walking around Venlo thinking about thinking, feeling no feeling and minding my mind. Went back to the same place to smoke the Zweistein. I think that sometimes we all should take a train ride to a place like Venlo.
Just because I am the last heir, does not mean I am the only Bujas of my clan left. As the Bujas men were too busy with their own egos, their daughters have built their own strong and tight families. They live all over the world. USA, France, Germany, England, etc. Due to those life circumstances I was able to reconnect with all of them later in life. Only then I truly realized how all of this “The last heir” stuff was just a bunch of baloney. I am one of many in more ways then just one. Maybe the idea of me being the last heir was the same flaw that all of my ancestors endured? And that same flaw was what lead them to having me as their last male heir in the first place. In all of my life travels I have learned that there are two main differences between men and women. Men give the structure and the women give the color. From what I found out the men all over this world are more, or less the same, but the women are makers and carriers of a culture and the lifestyle that their men create. My family is no different. What it means to be a Bujas is more defined by love and closeness that these beautiful and strong women have for each other then any diplomat or a doctor title could ever define. That’s the balance that has created a certain culture within my family.
What about Water polos culture? Well I think that that’s where I come into play. I have tried comparing myself with some of the other icons of our sport, but none of them resemble me or my situation. The only thing that makes sense to me, is that in the future we will look at Water polo before Tomo and after Tomo. Whatever Jimi Hendrix has done for the electric guitar, I have done to Water polo. Whatever Eminen has done for the Rap game, I have done inside of Water polo. You can even add Bob Dylan and Kanye in the mix. Those are the only people whose influence on their cultures I can compare with the influence I have had on the Culture of Water polo. Mind you. With all this ego I am still able to go and do my work at a local sports store. I have to add one thing here which I probably should not, but what the heck. In the last few months a lot of praises and thank yous were sent to all the medical staff. And yes they were the heroes at that dark hour. Now pay them. But that is over now. Now we need new heroes. And I must tell you that I have already found and isolated this target group.
You know it was very confusing to go back to work. We didn’t had a lot to do, but you always had a feeling like you really don’t want to fuck anything up. We were constantly making adjustments and plans which would in a week be meaningless, because of some new rule being put in, or some old rule being taken out. At the beginning we were all struggling. The customers and us. Those people who have nice manners in these hard times I salute you. I salute your manners, your understanding and your patience. Those well mannered people really gave me some much hope in these confusing times. Once more I salute you. Then there are those who come to the store undecided if they want to spend their money or ruin my day. I will not insult my customers, because like that old saying goes “The customer is always right”. That’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Your money paying customer is always right. No matter how you put it. I would advise you that you accept that as a given. Like I have. So the whole world is down and then you have people who come in and just want what they want and they don’t give a fuck that there is a situation here which nobody understands, or is capable to fully deal with, and then they give me shit for it. Imagine if you don’t have something in stock because of the whole situation. A customer comes wanting to buy that. I explain that unfortunately, at the moment, we don’t have what they are lookin for in our store and I advise them that they should check if we have the wanted product on our online shop, or that we could check if there is any stock available online right now. Together. Right now. On my tablet. If they are willing. “What kind of a store are you, when bla bla bla…”. And there I am. Jimi Hendrix. Bob Dylan. Eminem. Taking shit from someone who wakes up hating themselves till noon and from noon the rest of the world. Customer is always right. I know, but I still salute to the unsung heroes of these heroless times. A good well manner human being. You all made my day so many times. Thank you.
I have a wife, a job, a name, a reputation, a future, a lot of projects in the background, but still no club. Never mind. That too will come. Like I have repeated myself so many times before. I will play in that bloody Champions League. If need be I will speak it into existence. I spoke with two of my ex teammates about it. With Lovro Rončević whom I played with for a year in Duisburg and with Ante Ćorusić who had the honor and the privilege to play with me for two years at Mornar Split. #shotsfired haha. When I told them this they were both a little skeptical, but then I said one sentence which changed their opinion about my Champions League possibilities. “Digga, say what you want, but I know that I am not the worse goalkeeper in the Champions League.” They both laughed, but in one way they were agreeing with me. They too saw an opening for me. Ante couldn’t help but lough a bit longer with a quote:”How to sell a player 101. Well you just say that he is not the worse haha. There are way worse players then him haha”. Ante I just made you famous. You are welcome haha.
On my train ride back I started to think about my other grandfather. My moms father was an educated farmer. He used to tell me stories how as a child he had no shoes and that they were so poor that he got a scholarship in Novi Sad where he went to study Horticulture. The art or practice of garden cultivation and management. He came back and spent the rest of his life working the earth and the fields that he inherited. I am not 100 on this one, but I am pretty sure that my family had the first color TV in the village haha. I remember something that happened when I was 7. He told me that “I have to learn how to work.” We went to the field and he showed me how to use a fork to plow the earth. The fork was almost bigger then me. You put the fork in the ground. Step on it and roll the earth over. Over and over again. “If the stuff are not done how they are supposed to be done, we will have nothing to eat the following year.”. I was never good at field work and have not done much of it since then, but he made his point. I love both of my grandfathers, but this one with a little bit more innocence. One of the greatest men that I have ever met. What he installed in me as a child I still carry with me every where I go. His values are my values. He passed away 2 months ago. I was not able to go to his funeral. He was over 80 years old and dealing with dementia for the last 5-6 years. Because I was in Germany all this time, I was the first one he forgot. Later when I would come to visit, I would notice how he is slowly forgetting everybody else in my family. I must admit, that did provide some sort a comfort in that situation. My moms family comes from a small village, named after the river it runs through it, called Žrnovnica. Some 10 minutes away from my home town. My grandfather was buried there, right next to my father, right next to the church that I got married in. My best man was my grandfathers son. My uncle.
When I was 12 years old. Something happened that changed everything for me, as far as the sports go. There was this guy called Goran Ivanišević. A tennis player from my home town. We even went to the same elementary school. As a 125. player in the world he was awarded a wild card to participate on the most prestige tennis competition there is. No, not the Olympic Games. Wimbledon, digga. Now. Once you are done reading this, go and Google who won 2001 Wimbledon against Patrick Rafter and try to tell me that whatever I am doing, saying and writing is impossible. With 12 years I already understood that rankings in sports and in life mean abso-fuckin-lutely nothing.
All this time you all thought that I was writing about Water polo. I was writing about life. My life. Water polo was just the language I speak the best. I am not a role model and no kid should want to be like me. When I was just a kid, I wanted to grow up and be just like Slash. The lead guitarist from Guns n’ Roses. Slash was/is just the coolest one for me. Once I realized that I will never be able to have that cool curly hair on which I will put my own top hat on, I gave up on that dream. Slash always said that he is just being himself. I continued playing the guitar, but I decided that if I can’t be Slash, then I will be me.
“You are now arriving at the Düsseldorf main station…”