Saturday, September 11, 2004

First Impressions

Well, I’m here all right. The city isn’tmuch to look at but the people are phenomenal. I don’t even know how to write about what happened this evening, but I got introduced to Pristina in the most improper way. I had my first State Department semi-formal affair tonight. BO-RING. But the food was good, the wine plentiful and my immediate company brilliant. Directly after dinner, we (meaning the Angels and I – see Pointy shoes entry) adjourned to explore the city a little (translation – we went to find a bar). Travis is my superhero with the language. He butchers Albanian like nobody’s business, but he manages to get his point across, and wow! People respond like crazy. The first place we went to was this little outdoor bar blaring nothing but 80’s hair bands from the States. We had a beer there, and then the chill started to set in (YEAH, cold already. I’m gonna die this winter!) so we went to find an indoor bar. Turns out, the bartenders speak a little English, so that sat down with us, taught us some Albanian, learned a little English, and then invited us to go with them to another bar after they closed at midnight… well who are we to turn down a cultural experience like that? And so we went. It was a little basement bar called Zanzibar that had a live band playing Turkish, American and Albanian rock covers. Somehow, I got singled out of the crowd, brought up on stage and introduced as the newest member of the Pristina community. I honestly don’t know how it happened, but I do know my face was bright red for at least 15 minutes afterward. My luck, half the audience will have been my future students. *sigh* Anyway, so this is my introduction into Kosova. Beautiful Kosova, as Buqa said. As for our host for the evening, we all exchanged phone numbers and promised to meet again tomorrow night (or tonight as time would have it). He’s going to take Travis guitar shopping on Monday. I really think it’s going to be a good year. A little optimism after a few hours on the ground can’t be a bad thing. Honestly.

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