An American in Kosovo

Some experiences and observations:

  1. The other week, I was walking through one of Kosovo’s larger cities with some fellow Peace Corps trainees, all three of whom happen to be blonde and blue-eyed. I joked that I looked like a local, showing my American tourist friends around.
  2. The next day, during one of our training conferences, a Kosovar man I didn’t know sat across from me and said something low and rapid and in Albanian. I said, “What?” in English, and he looked surprised. He apologized and said he thought I was Albanian because I look Albanian (I took it was a compliment. ;))
  3. I went to the phone store to add minutes to my phone. The man behind the counter spoke English. At one point, he asked me a question. I replied, “Po” (yes). He jokingly asked, “Are we speaking English or Albanian here?”
  4. I’ve mentioned before that Albanians believe cross-breezes cause illness. (It’s called promaja in shqip.) I am beginning to understand more and more in shqip. At dinner the other night, my host brother said he had a headache, and my host father blamed it on promaja. I asked about promaja, and they were surprised I knew what they had been saying. (My host brother helped to translate the conversation that followed.) My host father said he knows a man whose “face was destroyed by promaja.” I laughed and said Americans don’t believe in promaja. My host father replied that it doesn’t matter if Americans believe or not, promaja is real.
  5. Another trainee and I were walking through a playground, and a group of boys who looked to be about twelve kept shouting, “I like your a**!” to us over and over.
    1. Being catcalled is creepy.
    2. Being catcalled by 12-year-olds is creepier.
    3. Being catcalled by 12-year-olds who sound like robots is the creepiest.

5 thoughts on “An American in Kosovo”

  1. Hey April, this is fun because I can relate to how you just can’t understand this wind thing. I can vouch that other Europeans (including Albanians) believe in the wind thing, My grandparents constantly complained that we should not take showers and then go outside but at night once the windows are closed because that is how you catch a cold – the wind blows on wet hair and either you get a headache or a cold or an ear ache, etc. The specific word escapes me but in the Tirolean area of the Alps they also have the wind fear and have a specific name for this special headache wind which I have been told translates into English as a hollow hair dryer wind. !!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha! Your host father’s reply that it doesn’t matter if Americans think it’s real…that line sounds like something straight out of a movie!

    These encounters sound pretty amazing, minus the catcalling. But the robot thing was also funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey April, you must really be doing well at picking up the language, BRAVO! I have a question, were the 12 year old boys speaking in English? My guess it that is a phrase some older dumb boy taught them to say to women! I enjoy reading your posts!! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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