This is Durim, one of the closest friends I made while in Kosovo. And he recently moved to New York City! I’m a student at Syracuse University in Syracuse, which is only 5 hours by bus from NYC. So I had to go see him. This photo is shortly after our first meeting along 5th avenue. I ran to hug him and I couldn’t believe we were both in NYC, not Kosovo! We chatted over coffee at a Barnes and Noble because, of course, it’s the Albanian way. Getting coffee is the most important part of your day. The social hour is the coffee hour. Ah! It brought back memories. Concluding our coffee hour, we took this photo in front of Rockefeller Center. Isn’t that just the face of happiness?
The adventure continues….stateside! Well I’m no longer in Kosovo, but I have managed to keep in touch with some wonderful friends as I return to Syracuse University as a graduate student. This past September, only a couple weeks after the beginning of classes, my friend Klit decided to come visit me for a weekend. He had been working in New Hampshire over the summer at a resort and decided to travel around the east coast. I was one stop along the way!
It was fun catching up and very interesting to see my life through his eyes. Klit was amazed at Syracuse University’s large campus with a building dedicated to almost every subject. “You have anything you’d ever need here!” he exclaimed. He popped up on Abe Lincoln’s lap for a photo op in front of the Eggers Hall, school of political science. Klit is a bright college student of law back in Kosovo, so we of course visited SU’s newly built law school. He walked through the halls of the law library in awe and taking pictures. “I would love to study in the US,” he said.
We also took a day to enjoy the city of Syracuse. Klit had been eating only McDonald’s hamburgers, so I reasoned with him that he MUST eat a good American hamburger before leaving. A stop at Empire Brewery did the trick and he said, “That’s the best hamburger I’ve ever had.” I told you so! Klit enjoyed the IMAX theater at the Science Museum and said, “I wish Kosovo had a theater like this.” We even attended an Irish festival in downtown Syracuse, complete with music and Irish dancing (see above picture). To top our evening off, Klit and I went to a student house party. He was surprised by the social dynamics, that people would just come up to him without even knowing him and begin conversation. He said that would never happen in Kosovo.
It was fun for me to see his impression of my experience that I consider routine. There are a lot of differences between Syracuse and Prizren that I don’t really think about. Before sending Klit off on his bus to NYC, I gave him a big hug and the promise that I’ll see him again in Prizren.