“I brought several things. [ . . .] I brought my notebooks, just in case . . . I used to listen to Backstreet Boys, so I have this whole big book of like their stickers, and like, their albums and lyrics and everything and anything about them. And I made it by myself and so I had to bring that. [I] brought a spoon, my favorite spoon. How can I leave without my favorite spoon?” – Dijana Muminović, 2016
The circumstances of war did not spare children growing up in Bosnia in the 1990s. Even for those children too young to understand the political climate or the motives behind the war, the realities of hiding from danger or fleeing one’s home were impossible to ignore. However, childhood does not stop in times of war. Through it all, children and teens still found joy in many of those same things that interest youth all around the world, from movie stars and music to games and fashion.
Dijana Muminović was entering her teen years during the war, and like teens all around the world, she was a fan and follower of pop groups ranging from the Spice Girls to No Doubt. Her favorite group, though, was the Backstreet Boys, and Dijana remembers that despite the war going on around them, her friends were also occupied with battles over whether or not one was a Backstreet Boys or N*Sync fan. Dijana’s room in Bosnia was decorated with dozens of Backstreet Boys posters, and she kept scrapbooks of stickers, magazine clippings, and images of the pop group, as well as other groups she followed.
When Dijana left Bosnia, she brought with her those things most important to her, including a favorite spoon and notebooks, as well as a periodic table of elements given to her by a friend. The Backstreet Boys posters and scrapbooks were among her most prized possessions. Dijana describes these items as an important part of her, and she carries them with her even as she travels the world today.