I am typing this while experiencing my first power outage in Kosovo. It seems like most in my group have had several already, so I should count myself as lucky. I am continuing to enjoy this country and my life here. The trainings and language classes I attend have kept me very busy, and I’ve only opened the computer every few days. My schedule nearly every day goes something like this:
I get up at 7 and am downstairs by 7:45 to have a coffee with my host parents. I walk to school, which takes 20-25 minutes and start Peace Corps training or language classes at 9:00. We receive training on a wide variety of topics including the Kosovar school system, cultural awareness, safety and development approaches and tools. I also have one or two language classes a week in both Albanian and Serbian. If it’s a day we finish a little early I might go to the gym or to get a coffee with my friends. On most days I walk back after class and get home as my host mom is preparing dinner. I spend the evening hours with my host family talking (as much as I can) and watching news in Albanian. Sometimes we get coffee with relatives, a common pastime in Kosovo.
Despite our demanding schedules, I’ve had a couple chances to take day trips with my family and training group (which is also family). Below are pictures from a day trip the Peace Corps trainees took to Novo Brdo castle. An EU-financed project to excavate and conserve the castle ruins was started in 2014 and has uncovered a lot of the walls and rooms inside.
Last week brought another trip out of our training village, this one a surprise. I thought we were going to a relative’s home for coffee and we ending up at a hotel/restaurant with real horses, a play ground and a beautiful view. Thanks to my Peace Corps ‘cousin’ for the photo of me on this horse. (There are real horses too, but we would have to pay to ride those.)
Life is now already very routine, but it doesn’t feel monotonous since so much in this country is new to me. As my language level is very low, it’s easy to see huge gains in my ability to communicate with people. This growth in itself is a big motivator. Since I am splitting my class time between two languages (not everyone does this) I spend a lot of time studying and engaging with my family to feel like I’m progressing each day. Overall I really feel that I am. I see many parallels between moving to new places and starting new personal relationships, and I am still firmly in the “honeymoon phase” with Kosovo.