Nemanja and Sashka work for global companies as developers, live in the countryside and grow organic food
Macedonian by birth, Nemanja Stojanović and his wife Alexandra replaced their life in Novi Sad, where they were born and grew up, with life in the countryside. They work for global companies as developers, and live in the village of Churug, 30 kilometers from Novi Sad, and grow organic food. In the meantime, they became parents, and Vid was born. For "Sloboden Pechat", they tell their story, how they exchanged life in Canada for a move to the countryside and why they decided to replace the hustle and bustle of the city with the peace and quiet of the surroundings of Novi Sad.
- Nemanja and I have been together since our student days. We are both 30 years old and work for global companies from home. Nemanja works for the company "Klarway" which has offices all over the world. I work in digital internet marketing and I have my own company - says Sashka, as she is called by those close to her. Alexandra's clients are world-renowned firms from Los Angeles, architectural firms, and she also works for the "Exit" festival in Novi Sad as a consultant. He has recently been working for two international companies that make machines for aesthetic medicine.
When asked where the idea to move to a village in Novi Sad came from and how they decided to exchange city life for a rural environment, Sashka says that for a period they wanted to move out of Serbia.
- The idea came from the corona crisis. Before the outbreak of covid, we wanted to move to Canada. We prepared documents, everything we needed, collected money, but the pandemic started and it stopped. After the corona, we noticed that the foreign companies we worked for are not open to new hires and do not issue immigration visas for us. They probably realized that we could work for them from home and they didn't need to take us there - says Sashka.
That's how they decided to look at vacation homes because during the covid crisis, they spent almost a year and a half in a two-room apartment, Nemanja worked from the kitchen, Alexandra from the living room, and that didn't suit them at all.
- We didn't go anywhere, nobody wanted contacts. Our only outing was in Futog, a place in the vicinity of Novi Sad at Nemanja's grandmother's place. We packed up and went there all the time, we worked literally outside, we didn't need an enclosed space. Sometimes we stayed for a whole week - says Sashka.
And so the search for their holiday home began. They saw summer houses by the Tisza because the nature is beautiful and maintained. But instead of a summer house, they bought a 100-year-old house.
- The idea of a house was born from the search for a summer house. We bought a house in Churug. The choice fell on this village because of the good connection with Novi Sad. Churug was far enough from Novi Sad that real estate prices are not very high, but close enough to reach the city in half an hour - says Sashka.
She explains that they have been in the house for 2 years. The house was built in 1937. They renovated it completely, demolished walls, changed carpentry.
– Only the skeleton of the house remained. We changed the roof, windows, layout. The new way of life suits us. I don't travel every day for work and we have peace. For now, working from home is great for us. I work whenever I want during the day, we can take a break whenever we want and it suits me to work for myself - says Sashka. Тaa explains that one must have discipline and self-control to do everything right.
- We continue to come to Novi Sad all the time. Our whole family is there. I already have 10 years of experience, I worked for many companies and finally the time has come to work for myself, to organize the working day myself. Nemanja has some working hours, he should be available from 10 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon, but you can easily agree with the colleagues. If we have any other work, we are flexible, we agree with the team and we can work extra - says Sashka.
Regarding salaries, he says that he earns enough to live on. They have much higher wages than the Serbian standard. Nemanja earns much more.
Now we work as much as we can, we also have a child and the responsibilities are distributed - says Sashka.
Personally, he thinks they don't have time for farming, but Nemanja doesn't think so. He has an orchard and all agricultural ventures are his.
- If I were to wonder, we wouldn't have any of that, my love is animals, a cat and three dogs, and that's not a problem for me, I think we should take more. Next step is a business from that, we plan to open a hotel for dogs and cats, boarding house. I am an active member of an animal protection society in Novi Sad and I, along with three or four volunteers, organize the sterilization of street animals with the help of the city. It would be good for us not to pay for the accommodation of an animal in a boarding house in the city, but to house it with us for free - says Sashka.
Nemanja keeps geese, chickens, grows organic food. Sashka explains that if he had time, he would grow everything they eat himself.
- He grows his own food, plants fruit and makes homemade juice, grows organic vegetables and claims that he has time for that, I personally do not agree - says Sashka.
The move from Serbia has been put on hold for the time being, but it is not ruled out.
- I would move out of Serbia if given the opportunity. Both my husband and I always want more, I think the eviction is just paused now. If the opportunity presents itself, we are always for a better life. It bothers me a lot that there is a mess in the country, you pay tax and you don't know where the money goes. It is not like that in Europe and the world. We travel a lot, both privately and officially, and everywhere there is a line - says Sashka.
We left them in the peace and quiet of Churug, with the baby who is barely fifteen days old to write their village story and work for successful global companies.