Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Visit to the National Gallery of BiH

My friend Shirley and I went in search of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovinia (BiH). We had the address, and Shirley knew where the street was, we even had a major landmark – the National Gallery was described as being across from the Orthodox Cathedral. But as I’ve already learned, that’s no guarantee that you can find it.

Since we were in front of the Orthodox Cathedral, we stopped in there first. The exterior is still surrounded by scaffolding, but has been mostly restored and it is splendid. The plaster exterior is painted in shades of cream and yellow-gold and topped with a distinctive dome. The interior soars 3 or 4 stories above the tiled floor, with a huge central dome supported by 6 massive pillars. The intricately tiled floor is mostly intact, but the painting on the ceiling and pillars is still largely untouched and looks like it will require many years of restoration. Oddly, the interior was at least 10 degrees colder than the outside temperature.

Now the National Gallery ought to be right across the street. We walked up and down and couldn’t find the building number, or anything that looked like it could be the National Gallery. Shirley is conversant in Bosnian, so she approached two men in a parking lot across from the cathedral and asked where the National Gallery was. One had no idea, but the other man pointed to a passageway off the street. We went down the passageway and, yes, there we found a small plaque on a doorway that read “National Gallery”. You could not see it at all until you were standing directly in front of it.

We pushed open the door and down a short, dark hallway to find a second door that said “Press Center” (in Bosnian, Press Centar). Were we actually in the right place? We pushed open this door and found a small entry area that looked to me to be more like a storage room or the stage entrance of a theatre – there were boxes of things piled about and a cluster of mops and brooms. Soon, a man appeared – perhaps the buildings concierge? – and Shirley told him we were there to visit the National Gallery. He pointed to a staircase and told us to go up. We were up the first flight before lights were turned on so we could see the photographs that hung in the stairway. The National Gallery turned out to be on the third floor of the building. Soon after we made it into the gallery, a stout woman came huffing up the stairs and turned on the lights in the gallery. We were the only visitors. I had the feeling we may have been the only visitors in days – if not weeks.

Except for two religious icon paintings, all the works were from the early 20th century. Sarajevo had been known as the cultural center of the former Yugoslavia. I have to believe that there had been much more art in Sarajevo, but that it was lost in the war.

In most wars, there has been some warning; a time of build-up in hostilities. A time when preparations can be made and treasures can be hidden or protected. But it seems that the residents of Sarajevo just didn’t believe that there would be war and no preparations were made. They have lost so much.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Balkan Hamburger

You will not find a single McDonalds in Sarajevo. No Burger King, Denney’s, or Pizza Hut. Not a single Starbucks. As far as I can tell, there isn’t a single chain restaurant here of any kind. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a hamburger, pizza, or coffee in this town.

Bosnian’s love their coffee, but they prepare it the Turkish way. The coffee must be ground to a very fine powder. The powder is steeped in very hot – but not boiling – water until it foams up. The process is repeated several times and the result is wonderful, but very strong coffee that they serve in tiny cups. In Bosnian restaurants it also involves a great deal of smoking along with the coffee. They do not have the Surgeon General’s health warnings on cigarette packs here and there is no such thing as a smoke free restaurant or even a non-smoking section.

Pizza (pice in Bosnian) is very popular here and is on the menu of most moderate restaurants. I haven’t been able to translate all the toppings yet, but we have had pice with four cheeses and with mushrooms. Because of the large Muslim population, pork is not widely served, but they smoke beef and will serve bits of smoked beef in place of bacon on things like pizza or in polenta or risottos’s. The second time we ordered pice I realized that we had committed a faux pas – we ate it the American way, cutting it into wedges that we ate by hand. In Bosnia, pice is eaten with knife and fork.

You will also frequently find Hamburger listed on menus – spelled just the same, though they rarely understand me when I pronounce it the ‘American’ way. I had lunch in a nice cafĂ© recently and ordered a Balkan Hamburger. The meat patty was made up of ground veal and lamb, topped with tomato,  cabbage coleslaw, and a poached egg! The bun must have been a custom baked small round bread. It was wonderful. I would go back and order it again, but my luncheon companion ordered a shishkabob that looked delicious and  I would love to try that next.

There are also many small eateries like the one advertising their offerings on signboards like this one. This is the real "fast food" in Sarajevo. In the downtown area you are likely to see 3 or 4 on every block, even away from the center of town, they are not hard to find. Most are about the size of an average American closet. In Portland, they would probably be street carts. I have not yet tried the hamburgers for sale at these small stands, but at just 2.50KM ($1.75) it's a cheap meal or snack. The top item on the menu is a Bosnian specialty. They are made up of ground meat - most likely a combination of ground veal and lamb - mixed with spices and formed into finger shaped meatballs. They are usually served with pita bread and are delicious. This menu also offers chicken fillet or chicken leg, kebabs and juices as well as some other food items I can't translate yet. Nothing on the menu is over $7.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Watching the Olympics

We get two sports channels on cable here in Sarajevo, EuroSport 1 & 2. They have been airing Olympic events pretty much non-stop, but just like NBC, much of it turns out to be repeats.

Since our time zone is nine hours ahead of the west coast, we see live morning and afternoon events in the early evening. Evening events are shown in the wee hours of the morning.  We’re not crazy, so we watch those events the next morning with breakfast.

We’ve seen Bode Miller win two medals, Lindsay Vonn win two medals, and the Flying Tomato win with his spectacular snowboard freestyle. There have been hours of cross country skiing; these events are very popular in Europe. There is competition in “traditional” cross country, with skis pointed straight ahead and a back and forth motion and there’s also “freestyle” cross country skiing where the skier uses more of a v-shaped skating motion. Both look exhausting. There are two additional cross country events: one combines cross country skiing and shooting and another combines cross country skiing and ski jumping. Norway always picks up medals in the cross country skiing events.

My favorite events are the figure skating events, and I love them all: pairs, ice dancing, and men’s and women’s events. The pairs competition was very good and the men’s competition was possibly the best ever. I have never seen a field so deep. There were 8 – 10 excellent skaters this year. The gold medal win by US skater Evan Lycacek was amazing. His performance was flawless; it had to be for him to triumph over so many outstanding skaters.

Now and then we get what I think must be British commentary on EuroSport, but most of the time it is in Bosnian. I can catch a word or two, but for the most part I just tune out the commentary. But without commentary, I was unaware of the complaints from Russian skater, Plushenko that he should have gotten the gold medal because he performed a quad jump and Lycacek didn’t. I saw the story the next day on the internet. His team has not filed an official protest of the judging, but that has not stopped them from sniping behind the scenes. That’s the skating world. Still looking forward to seeing the ice dancing finals and then the women’s competition.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Big Mistake

Today was a little warmer, probably mid-30’s, and the sun even came out for a while so I thought I would take a walk and take a few photographs. My first stop was the Olympic stadium, barely a half mile from our apartment. Then I set off for the US embassy. I wanted some pictures of the front gate and fence – all you can see from the street. So there I was standing in the small park across from the embassy taking some snapshots when I was approached by a very large Bosnian policeman. He spoke to me in his language and I replied in English. There were a few exchanges, neither of us understanding the other. When he motioned for me to follow him, though, it was clear what he meant and my heart sank.
I followed him across the street to a small kiosk at the corner of the embassy compound. In addition to a second Bosnian police officer, there were two guards there carrying AK 47’s. They also had handguns strapped to their thighs.

The second policeman knew some English and he started questioning me about taking photographs of the US embassy. I explained I was a US citizen and didn’t know it might be a problem to take photographs. He asked me to wait while he contacted his supervisor.

The supervisor appeared wearing a sweater with a Embassy Security embroidered on one should and an American flag patch on the other. He was also Bosnian, but his English was excellent. Now he started questioning me: why was I taking photos, didn’t I see the signs prohibiting photographs, what was I doing in Bosnia, where did I live, etc. Thank heavens I had my passport with me. I showed him my passport and freely admitted taking photographs of the embassy. I had just meant to be able to show my family the embassy compound where we had been welcomed a week earlier. He said that it was all okay, but they would have to take my passport and make some notes and I would have to delete all the photos of the embassy. Although it would be easy to take as many photos as I wanted with a cell phone camera and they would be unlikely to notice,  I certainly wasn’t going to get into an argument with someone backed up by two men carrying automatic weapons. He watched while I went through all the photos on my camera and deleted all the embassy photos. Then we reviewed all the photos left on the camera to make sure all embassy photos were gone.

He was really very polite and pleasant about the whole thing and even apologized for taking up so much of my time. He didn’t have a threatening manner, yet the vision of a small dark cell with a single bare light bulb occupied my thoughts while I was waiting for my passport to be returned. I was very relieved to be sent on my way.

I won’t make that mistake again. The US embassy compound is surrounded by a high white concrete wall and takes up a good half block. The buildings are well back from the wall. You’ll just have to use your imagination – I’m not going to try to get a photo. 

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Ignoring all protocol, a meeting was set up at the medical school without the presence of the school’s president. Landy was asked to meet with the head of research, the head of the psychiatric clinic, and Alma, a psychologist who works in the partial hospitalization and stress disorders programs. Alma, a Croatian, has spent time in Chicago and has fairly good English language skills. At the meeting on Tuesday, Landy learned that they don’t have Forensic Psychiatry in Bosnia and Alma declared that she is not particularly interested in legal issues because it takes away from clinical time. The head of the clinic, however, was quite gracious and seemed to want to learn more about forensic psychiatry. Landy found out later that this psychiatrist is the forensic expert by default in Bosnia although he has not had formal training.

There was some discussion of lectures that might be made to the faculty, but no definite dates or times were scheduled. Then he was shown to his office which contained a table and a chair. There was no computer and there was a printer that was broken. In answer to his question, they replied that no, the facility did not have a wireless internet connection. He was welcome to bring his laptop but could not go online. Bosnia is not a wealthy country, and it was clear that very few resources are available for psychiatric treatment.

He is optimistic about a meeting that has been arranged with a woman from Vermont who is an international judge at the Bosnian National Court War Crimes Chamber and another with a professor at the law school who teaches criminal law procedure.

Tonight we are inviting Patrick Roberts for dinner in our apartment. Patrick is a fellow Fulbright scholar with a background in education and the philosophyof education. Patrick just arrived a week ago. By contrast, we are veterans of Sarajevo. We met him briefly at the Fulbright orientation in Washington DC last August. The menu is Spaghetti with Barilla jarred pasta sauce. They don’t seem to have canned vegetables here – although we recently found a larger and more modern sort of supermarket that has a section with frozen vegetables (!). But the spaghetti sauce in jars is really quite tasty. It has become one of our fall-back meals, easy to prepare and enjoyable. We are trying the locally available lettuce in a salad for the first time. The produce man at our nearby market had to dig down a few layers before he found a head he thought was suitable. It doesn’t appear that lettuce is a frequent guest at our neighbors’ tables. Freshly baked bread is available every day and it’s good – not as good as the bread in Parisian bakeries, but good nonetheless.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Getting the news from Aljazeera

Since my language skills are still pretty much limited to a few phrases of greeting and a handful of food-related words, getting any news means turning to the internet and tv news.

I have to assume that when I come across a channel with a man or woman sitting at a desk and speaking or reading into a camera that it must be a Bosnian news program. But, of course, I am unable to understand a single word. Several of the channels are in German and I am able to catch a word or two here and there. Fortunately, we also get the international version of CNN and the English version of Aljazeera.

CNN uses a similar format to the US version, with the same news stories repeated every hour. But they also seem to have adopted some of the US network morning show tactics. Most of the hour is devoted to “feature” stories including entertainment and celebrity news. Yesterday, until the “breaking news” story about Bill Clinton’s heart procedure knocked it out of rotation, most of CNN’s time was devoted to endless repetitions of stories about the death of English fashion designer Alexander McQueen, in an apparent suicide. 

The better choice for tv news here is the Aljazeera/English channel. Like international CNN, many if not most of the commentators have British accents. As an American, I had an impression of Aljazeera as being a highly biased news source, possibly even in collusion with some terrorist groups. I still cannot assess how the news is presented in the Arabic language broadcasts on Aljazeera, but I have found the English broadcast much more informative than CNN. The news reports on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq appear to be balanced, with reports not much different in content than what I would expect to hear on CBS or NBC. The biggest difference on Aljazeera is that they carry more news stories on Middle Eastern, Arabic and African countries, a perspective that is often missing on US news reports.

I will continue to tune in to Aljazeera. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010


We are still waiting to find out exactly what Landy will be doing here in Sarajevo.

When we arrived here January 28, we were met at the airport by Elizabeta, a Bosnian woman who works in the cultural affairs office of the American embassy. She had been our primary email contact here for making arrangements and making sure all the necessary paper work – which was substantial – had been completed. She arrived with a car and driver and got us to our hotel. Unfortunately, she was also coming down with the flu. Elizabeta was out of the office all the following week.

Nothing can be done in Bosnia until the formal “courtesy call”. At this event, all parties must be in attendance including the President of the medical center, various department heads,  and an appropriate representative of the state department. It sounds like it involves a lot of hand shaking. But until this event takes place, very little else can be done. With Elizabeta out sick, the meeting couldn’t take place last week.

On Friday, Landy learned that the medical center president, Dr. Faris Gavrankapetanovic (hereafter referred to as Dr. G.) would be gone until Feb. 17. More alarmingly, at least two out of eight department heads at the medical faculty have been replaced in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, these two positions were to be Landy’s main points of contact. A coincidence or a purge? There’s no way to tell.

In the meantime, Landy will be making contacts on his own. We met an American woman, a professor of Economics at the University of Vermont, who knows another American woman in Sarajevo who is an international judge involved with war crimes prosecutions connected to the Bosnian war.  We will have dinner with her next Thursday and Landy will talk with her about opportunities to be involved in those proceedings. Apparently there is a need for good psychiatric evaluations.

We are waiting for the “courtesy call” before we will know what Landy will be spending his time here doing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Stone Lion

Very near our apartment there is a graveyard. Many of the markers are of a white stone and it was very beautiful in the snow. In additon to the beauty of the snow topping and glistening on the grave markers, I was drawn to it by an exquisite sculpture of a sleeping lion “guarding” this cemetery. Carved from the same white stone as many of the grave markers, it is massive as it rises well above all the graves on the hillside. Although they appear to be separated in groupings, the cemetery has graves with Muslim and Christian symbols on the graves. Most sobering, as I walked along the paths, was the huge number of graves from 1992. In the upper section of the cemetery virtually every grave was from 1992. Later war victims must have had to find other resting places; this cemetery had been filled.

This cemetery on the hill looks down at the Olympic stadium and Zetra arena, the ice skating venue for the 1984 Olympics. Zetra arena has been rebuilt after it was shelled into rubble during the war. I remember watching many of the events on tv and still remember some of them vividly. I’m an ice skating fan and I’ll never forget seeing Torvill and Dean’s ice dancing performance of Bolero. US skater, Scotty Hamilton, also put in a memorable performance.

William Oscar Johnson, a writer for Sports Illustrated, attended the ’84 Olympics and wrote an article about Sarajevo in  1994. I’d like to share his words. “The speed skating track has been hit more than 20 times by heavy-artillery shells, and no one is playing tag there. Franko's triumph took place on Mount Bjelasnica, as did the feats of U.S. twins Phil and Steve Mahre (gold and silver, respectively, in the slalom) and that of the U.S.'s Bill Johnson (gold in the downhill).

Last summer the courses were scorched by weeks of combat, the ski lifts were burned, all the hotels and restaurants were torched. Mount Jahorina, where U.S. skiers Debbie Armstrong and Christin Cooper earned gold and silver, respectively, in the giant slalom, is now a major military installation occupied by Serb troops, the hotels there turned into barracks. The Zetra figure skating center, where Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt and the elegant Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won Olympic championships, was flattened to rubble early in the fighting. Igman Plateau, site of all Nordic events, has been a key battleground for months: The cross-country ski trails have been chewed to smithereens by shells and Serb tank treads, and the ski jumps stand in ghostly silence.” Sports Illustrated, Feb 14 1994.

The evidence of the war is still everywhere in Sarajevo. There are still many buildings pock-marked with shell and bullet holes. Our apartment building is included. Take a close look at the photo of the entrance to our building. The three black dots under the white framed windows and another few black dots to the left of the second floor windows are from bullets. All the buildings in this residential area show the same marks. What could it have been like to be living here then? Under constant threat for four years.

I can’t understand it. Every Bosnian we have met so far has been friendly, warm and more than helpful – and we are strangers here. How could these wonderful and friendly people have been trying to kill each other – their neighbors? I really don’t know.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Eating and drinking

Photos from Sarajevo are now posted on

This little store is, indeed, our supermarket. It’s located just 2 blocks away and is in the ground floor of an apartment building. There seems to be one just like it or very similar, every few blocks. In some, the fruit and produce are displayed on the sidewalk, but our local market has an unheated covered area.
The citrus fruit has been fantastic. The oranges we have bought in this little market are much better than any oranges I have bought in Portland. Ever. We learned they are likely from orchards in areas of Croatia and Montenegro near Greece. The fresh produce includes potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, oranges and tangerines, kiwi fruit, and grapes.

Most of these neighborhood markets are about the size of a 7-11 store, but of course carry more real groceries than snacks and candy. Our market carries almost no imported foods and goods. Nearly everything is Bosnian or from one of the countries that formerly made up Yugoslavia. Bosnia is not part of the European Union and it could be that taxes on imported foods would make them too costly to sell here. However, we did find Hellman’s mayonnaise on the shelf, and of course, Coca-Cola – but not Pepsi. The spice shelf is limited to dried oregano, dried parsley flakes and according to the drawing on the package, possibly dried celery flakes? I bought the oregano. We also found Barilla pasta sauce in jars, and Barilla pasta. We made spaghetti the other night and it’s wonderful; a much tastier jarred sauce than what I’m used to. But there’s no parmesan cheese to be found in Bosnia.

The corner markets carry produce and grocery items and have a small deli counter where they sell fresh bread (ok), sliced deli meats of undetermined nature, and sliced cheeses. They don’t carry any fresh meats. The sliced cheeses are excellent although there are only three kinds: Edam, Gouda, and unknown. We haven’t yet tried unknown. We stumbled earlier by buying some packaged cheese from the small refrigerator case. One looked like a swiss or jarlsberg type cheese, the other seemed to be molded in a small wheel. Both turned out to be highly pungent – not bad exactly, but certainly to be eaten in either very small quantities or perhaps as a seasoning. At least to our unaccustomed palates.

In addition to the corner markets, there are two huge farmers markets in Sarajevo that operate 7 days a week – even now. Both are under bridges or highway overpasses. The other Americans here call them green markets and I think many if not most vendors are actually small entrepreneurs that likely get produce from the same source as the markets, but with lower overhead. Some of the stands are really like a tiny store and have a permanent booth with merchandise inside. Others are a few items set up on boxes. There are also meat markets here, where you can get lamb, veal, beef and chicken. Because Sarajevo is mostly Muslim, no pork is sold – at least in any of the meat markets we have seen so far. According to my Bradt tour book, all the meat here is essentially free range. They don’t have corporate farms or feed lots, it’s just a lot of small family farms.

The local pivo (beer) is excellent; the local wino (wine) – not so much. Our landlord gave us a bottle of a local red wine that was ok. But we were served a red in a restaurant that was wretched and we bought a bottle in a wine shop that was undrinkable. The restaurant was on a list from the US embassy as being one of Sarajevo’s better restaurants. We thought it might be a very long six months for us until Landy found a wine shop in one of the green markets. This wine merchant carries local wines but also had some Chilean and Argentine wines inside his “shop”. He said he had some California wines, but the bottle he showed Landy was from Montana! Is that close to California?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Problems with photos

It turned out to be difficult to load a group of photos to this blog. So, I apologize for the inconvenience, but I am setting up a Flickr account where the photos will be posted - soon.

Apartment in Sarajevo

We were very lucky to have found this apartment. The owner turns out to be the Dean of the Dept of Sports and Physical Culture - and President of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Olympic Committee. And a really great guy. We've met with him twice. He's very proud of this apartment and seemed glad to rent to us. He gave us a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine when we signed the lease!

Today we attended a security briefing at the US embassy. It was designed for embassy personnel, but it was quite interesting. Sarajevo is considered safe, but he did give warnings about pickpockets on public transit and in the old town area. There is also a somewhat high incident of home break-ins, but we have very good security in our apartment. There are four deadbolts on the door, metal shutters on some of the windows, and a security system. I feel safer than in Portland. The other warning considered land mines. Apparently, BiH is third behind Iraq and Afghanistan in presence of land mines. We were advised to stay on marked paths in the countryside, mountains, etc. The security director didn’t mention the raid conducted by Bosnian authorities on a village in northeastern Bosnia that they say posed a threat to the nation’s security. He did suggest, however, that the central government is not strong and made sure we all had the emergency number for contacting the embassy.

Tomorrow we are invited to a reception at the home of the Director for Cultural Affairs at the US embassy, Janet Miller. We met with her last Friday, but it will be interesting to meet other staff members from the Cultural Affairs office.

Our apartment is very comfortable. It really is fully furnished - including bedding and towels. We bought a colander today so we could drain pasta, but we seem to have most of what we need in the kitchen. There are a few "leftovers" from previous tenants: a kilo of sugar, some flour, salt and pepper, instant coffee. The only seasonings at the small market near our apartment were dried parsley, dried celery flakes (maybe) and oregano. There looked like there were other seasoning mixes, but I couldn't even guess at what they might have been. More on food later.

The first picture is the view from our bedroom window. I think the structure on the hilltop might have been a communications tower built for the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Just behind the tree on the right side of the photo is the Olympic Stadium - I think the opening and closing ceremonies were held there. The ice skating venue is just to the left of the stadium.
Other photos show our foyer, living room and kitchin, bathroom (with shower, sink and washing machine!), master bedroom and second bedroom/office. The first view from our window was taken on 1/30; the second view from the office window was taken today – about 6 inches of snow later.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow in Chicago, snow in Munich, snow in Sarajevo and other snafus

The first snag on the day we left Portland was checking in at the United counter. The automated boarding pass machine rejected our reservation and directed us to see a representative. It turned out that Bosnia’s visa rules forbid foreigners from staying longer than 90 days. In the past, Fulbrighters were advised to apply in Bosnia for a 90 day stay, then reapply for an additional 90 days once in Bosnia. The United representative, however, told us that United could be fined up to 5000 euros for violating Bosnian visa requirements. Luckily we had already booked flights in April to return to the US; Landy to Portland to take his forensic boards, and me back to Milwaukee, Wis. to celebrate my fathers’ 90th birthday. Once the rep found and verified our April flights, she issued our boarding passes. I’m not sure if United would have allowed us to fly if we’d only had the return tickets in July.

The first leg of our trip was Portland to Chicago. When we arrived in Chicago, there was snow on the ground, it was overcast, snowing lightly, and pretty cold. We didn’t have much time. By the time we made our way to the international terminal and reached our gate, the plane was already boarding. I wasn’t optimistic about finding our bags when we arrived in Sarajevo. Because of the cold and snow, the plane had to be deiced – a first for us. Once in the air, the flight went very smoothly. There was a couple sitting next to us, flying from Chicago to Munich with a service dog. We were on the plane four hours or more before we even noticed the dog. Buster would never make a good service dog.
More snow when we arrived in Munich. A good deal more snow than in Chicago. Snow plows were hard at work clearing the runways. Not a reassuring sight. Leaving Munich for Sarajevo, we were told there was a long “queue” for de-icing. Sat on the runway about 30-40 minutes for the approximately 1.25 hour flight.

Finally arrived in Sarajevo – 15 hours after we first flew out of Portland. And still more snow. They got about 4 inches or so yesterday and it’s been snowing lightly but steadily since we arrived about 6 hours ago. But unlike Portland, they have snowplows! We saw them clearing streets when we headed out for dinner. Sidewalks, however, are not cleared and are quite hazardous.

The final snafu of the day. We had not had a chance to change money, but had enough euros for dinner. On our way back to our hotel, we found an ATM. Landy put in his card and we got a message that the transaction was being cancelled – and the machine kept our VISA card! The helpful hotel staff found the address of the bank and we will have to follow up with a bank visit tomorrow. Landy is afraid that the machine destroyed the card; I hope he is wrong and we get the card back. I still have my credit cards so we have a back up but this is not good news.