Yesterday, as part of my quest to obtain local health insurance for my family here in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I received something I never thought was possible.
A Bosnian social security number.
Here it’s called a “matični broj”, or JMBG (that’s an abbreviation for “Jedinstveni matični broj građana”, or “unique citizen identification number”). This is the first step in the process — once someone has this number, it is then possible to go ahead with other legalities.
In spite of being told this was the first step, I was still suspicious that this wasn’t exactly what I needed. However, at the end, the civil servant handed me my number and said confidently, “Now, you can come back tomorrow and apply for national health insurance with this number.”
A weight was lifted off my shoulders. I could now go home happy and satisfied that a day’s work had not been done in vain.
Ultimately, I’m no more Bosnian than I was yesterday, but I can’t deny the feeling of satisfaction. After five years, the joinery continues ever deeper, with no signs of ending soon.