Across two continents, the life of Mariola Stojic has been vindicated from the charge of ordinary.
Born in Yugoslavia, the youngest daughter of the Kovinic family, Stojic said she was surrounded with an abundance of love, books, and "wonderful versatilities of the South," where she lived. She inherited a love for nature and a passion for writing from her father, who was a biology and chemistry teacher, and who later edited a business journal.
At age 11, Stojic began writing articles for a school paper that was selected as the best in country. The award, she said, was a trip throughout Europe that opened her eyes to the world. In 1987, she enrolled at the University of Science and Mathematics in Belgrade, where she studied biology.
After living through the despair of the civil war in Yugoslavia in 1993, Stojic came to America to continue her education. A year later, in Los Angeles, she met John Stojic, with whom she has been sharing the next chapter of her journey, "counting 16 years and two wonderful sons, living a happy life in La Jolla," she said.
What brought you to La Jolla?
That was my friends Mario and Renata Spiazzi. Since we had two little boys, the Spiazzis often spoke to us about the La Jolla schools in a very impressive way. Despite fearing a loss of our already well-established life, I trustingly followed my husband into the unknown, and we arrived in La Jolla in 2005. There was no room for unhappiness or worry; we felt truly appreciated, valued and respected by the community. We learned that our friends were right: There is no better place (on at least two continents that I know of) to raise children than here, in La Jolla.
What makes this area special to you?
People. I have incredible friends. Most of them I met through my children's activities and schools. In spite of our cultural differences, we all have one thing in common: self-less dedication to the family and the community.
Furthermore, these friends deepened my sense of values. They gave me the reassurance, "Stop moving, you are already here." My house is always full of friends — hence the table seating 24 outside on the patio. They often come to visit unexpectedly, which makes me wonder, "How far does the scent of fresh baked bread travel?"
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
I would love to change the curriculum and make music and art mandatory classes in all La Jolla schools. When our children feel pressured, pushed, or forced to race for unimportant deadlines, learning about at least one opera and one painting on canvas could become that "miracle pill" to the happiness we all seek to find.
Who or what inspires you?
My husband and my children. They make me aware of life. I am aware of my growth, their beauty, unconditional love, flowers, the ocean. They made me love cats, ride bikes, write letters ... perhaps even a book someday. Yes, I can write a book about them — they are the answer to all my questions. If I may borrow a few words from Dr. Leo Buscalia: "On the day we were born, we were given the world as a birthday present box. A gorgeous box wrapped with incredible ribbons." I choose to rip the ribbons and open my little boxes every day just to find a new experience. Do you think that is why they call the present a present?