So, last Monday I arrived in Kosovo for my summer legal internship. I will be working for the United States Agency for International Development’s Justice System Strengthening Program (USAID/JSSP)
Boy, lemme tell you jet lag is a real bitch. I’m not someone who usually gets a lot of sleep anyway, so I assumed I would be fine showing up here then going to work 18 hours later, but boy was I wrong. It has taken me almost a week to get my sleep schedule right, and at one point I was literally in the office pulling my hair so that I wouldn’t fall asleep. That wasn’t awkward or anything.
Speaking of, I have decided I am #InternationallyAwkward because I am now officially awkward at home and abroad. Maybe I’ll post later just a running list of all the #internationallyawkward things I do. They are many.
I’m staying in this really cool place called the White Tree Hostel until I get an apartment. 10/10 would recommend. The owner’s name is Hanna and she’s really great. The White Tree is also a a terrace bar that’s beautiful, and has a white tree growing up right through the middle of it that’s covered in twinkle lights. It’s very nice to be able to sit outside on the terrace and hang out drink and eat.
So far I really enjoy Kosovo. The food is good, the people are nice, and the city of Pristina is cute and bustling and much more “Euro” than I expected. The streets are lined with cafes, everywhere has outdoor seating, and everyone walks and talks and sits outside.
Luckily for my crazy sleep schedule, Ramadan has begun, which means most businesses have switched to their extended summer hours, AKA my fave restaurant, Chick’n Pub, is open until 4 A.M. It’s also nice if I happen to be out and about around 8 pm because a ton of people are out for iftar, and I miss breaking the fast with my friend Hagar.
Sometimes during my first week I was quite lonely. (More on that in another post.) Despite the friendliness of the people of Kosovo it’s hard to be somewhere surrounded by people speaking another language. I never catch glimpses of conversations on the street that I can understand, and I miss out on all of the office jokes because everyone in my office except the Chief of Party speaks Albanian all the time (except for when they speak directly to me, of course.) So, I feel pretty isolated sometimes. To further exacerbate those feelings, there’s a 6 hour time difference between here and home, which means no one is available to chat for a good part of my day, and I need to go to sleep when it’s still afternoon there.
Luckily, another student from Pitt Law is here working in another office, and she reached out to me last week. We’ve been hanging out pretty often and it is so nice to have someone to talk with! She also is a much more experienced traveler (and quite fearless) and I suspect that she’ll be dragging me on lots of adventures I might have otherwise missed. (I mean come on, I can barely navigate Pittsburgh with the use of google maps…I’m supposed to navigate to another country with no internet connection and a language barrier?) So, I’m excited for that.
All in all, Kosovo is treating me well. This was my basic “Oh hey I’m in Kosovo!” post. Check out my others to learn more about what the heck I’m actually doing here and my feelings and musings about the political climate/my being awkward/ and what it’s like to not speak the language.