“Everything is very orderly and in its place”, says Muamer. He’s talking about Austria, his future home. He visits his wife Anela in Klagenfurt regularly. For now, the visits are all they have, for you have to be 21 to apply for a permanent residence permit in Austria. Muamer is 20. But Anela comes back to Sarajevo once or twice a month as well.
The couple come from a small town in north-west Bosnia. Muamer fell for Anela the first time he saw her at his cousin’s wedding. He wanted to kiss her, but Anela pushed him away. She comes from a strict conservative family and her views are as traditional as her parents’. Muamer, by contrast, had a very carefree attitude towards life. Winning Anela over posed a whole set of new challenges for Muamer. When Anela went back to Austria, she dictated the pace of their relationship – and it was far too slow for Muamer. They broke up after five months. But then Muamer realised that he really wanted to be with Anela. He learned to wait – and was finally rewarded with a first kiss.
When Muamer told his family about his plans to marry Anela, they thought he was joking at first, for they knew he could be fickle. And they knew he loved to party! So he asked Anela to marry him – this time with his family present. “Anela is special”, says Muamer. He’s proud that he has now gained the recognition and respect of Anela’s father.
Anela and her family are helping him to fund the German course and an apartment that he’s rented so that he can attend the course. Muamer speaks Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, some English and now – starting a few days ago – a little German. But even Muamer, carefree as he is, gets nervous at the prospect of the exam!