Snow Please Come Back!

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Snow Please Come Back!

This picture was taken in November on an early Saturday morning when the night frost was still on the trees. Obviously, there was more snow in November. Now, it’s practically nonexistent. Kosovo barely even had a winter at all. Which is causing problems- Prishtina is having a water crisis and people don’t have running water at home. Thankfully, in Prizren we get plenty of water from the nearby mountains.

Adult Activities at the American Corner

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Adult Activities at the American Corner

Every Thursday from 3:30-4:30 I have free adult activities at the American Corner in Prizren. The American Corner is like a library with English books, puzzles, board games, and a variety of activities like TOEFL prep course and “Shaping the Way We Teach English” webinars for Albanian English teachers. It’s funded my the American Embassy and in part by the local government.

For my adult activity this past Thursday, I began with a discussion question: “If you could have any super power, what would it be?” Then we played a competitive Tic Tac Toe game where each group had to choose a spot they wanted, then I gave them an English question that they had to answer correctly before putting a mark in the spot. Lastly, we played a board game called “What’s your Favorite?….” Depending on which square they landed on, the player had to respond to what is their favorite animal, color, season, etc. It was fun!!!

Kalaja

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Kalaja

Kalaja means castle in Albanian. In Prizren, the Ottoman-period castle overlooks the city. It’s a great place to relax on a nice day. Today, I went up with a friend to eat some sweets and chat together. As the sun was going down and it began to feel cold, we got up from our resting spot and took some photos before heading back to the city.

This is what living in the village looks like

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This is what living in the village looks like

I went on a hike with a fellow colleague in Brezovica. These kids down in the valley, saw us on the mountain. They insisted on yelling from down below until we waved back. Later, as we turned around to head back down to the village, we saw that the children had made their way up the mountain, too. I couldn’t help but wonder, “What in the world would I do all day if I grew up in a village like this?” My colleague responded, “Follow the foreigners.” Probably so.

An Average Walk to School

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An Average Walk to School

Every morning, I walk down the main street of Prizren to my school, passing by at least 25 fancy dress stores just like this one. The first day that the US Embassy brought me to Prizren and introduced me to my school, my first impression of the drive was, “Wow, why so many dress shops?” Six months later and I’m still slightly puzzled. I’ve never actually seen anyone in a dress like this. Given the economic conditions of the country, where would an Albanian even wear it? The answer is, WEDDINGS! That’s right, only if you are invited as a lucky guest to an Albanian wedding. Here in Kosovo, even the guests go all out for family marriages.

Albanian, Serbian, or Turkish?

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Albanian, Serbian, or Turkish?

Clearly, someone thinks Albanian is the master language. This is a road sign directing travelers to various cities in Kosovo, each with it’s Serbian and Turkish translation. Here in Kosovo, the names of all of the cities change depending on the language. Calling Peja by its Serbian name, Pec, can be insulting depending on who you’re talking to. How you call the city or even the country (Kosovo is Serbian and Kosova is Albanian) can show your preference to one side or the other.

Happy Independence Day Kosova! Urime 6 vjetori i pavarësisë së Kosovës!

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Happy Independence Day Kosova! Urime 6 vjetori i pavarësisë së Kosovës!

Today, February 17, is the 6th anniversary of the independence of Kosova! I have never seen the center so crowded. You couldn’t find a seat in any of the coffee shops around town. Many people came to Prizren from other villages in Kosova and even from Albania! The castle overlooking the town had many visitors today. There was also a performance this morning with traditional dancing, always a favorite. I love the old outfits and the dancing. In addition to seeing many flags of Kosova and Albania on every street light post, I also saw a few American flags!