What I’ve Been Up To (May-June 2018)

In May, I attended my Peace Corps Close-of-Service conference. The U.S. Ambassador to Kosovo, Greg Delawie, attended on our last day. I had met him twice before. At lunch I sat at his table and was able to speak with him for longer than I had before. It was an honor.

Ambassador COS photo
The ambassador is seated in the front row, wearing a blue tie.

Since I decided to stop blogging regularly around the time of the conference, I didn’t take many photos. It was an emotional week and I wanted to sit back and process my feelings. However, I did take this photo and it is one of my favorites:

Processed with MOLDIV
Sierra and Chester

As I mentioned in this post, my friend Ingrid visited from Amsterdam at the end of May/beginning of June.

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Stephanee, Todd, April, Ingrid
rugova 2
Visiting Rugova
Ingrid visit
Group dinner with Ingrid
Prizren Sierra Ingrid Chelsea April
Visiting Prizren

My friend Val and I presented another writing workshop at KosovaLive.

April KosovaLive 2
Photo courtesy of KosovaLive

Sierra came to my site for a sleepover. I made her watch my favorite bad movie, Boxing Helena.

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April and Sierra

Chester came to my site the next day and the three of us had lunch.

chester sierra april astro
Famous chicken restaurant!

I attended a Faces of Kosovo exhibit at the National Library.

faces of kosovo
Faces of Kosovo exhibit
national library
April at the National Library

I visited Mitrovice for the first time. Mitrovice is one of Kosovo’s largest cities, but I had never been there. Mitrovice is divided, Albanians in the south and Serbians in the north. The bridge behind us in this photo famously links the two halves of the city:

Mitrovice TedSylvie
Mitrovice bridge

I made a few “goodbye” gifts:

I attended my director’s retirement dinner, said goodbye to my students, and took my counterparts out for a “thank you” lunch.

director dinner
April, director, counterpart
school goodbye
Grades 1-5. Yep, it’s a tiny school!
A and D
Saying goodbye to students
chicken dinner
Lunch with my counterparts

In other news, I turned 37. Spending another milestone far away from home was rough. I really miss all of you at home and can’t wait to see you! xoxo

My White Whale: The Church on the Hill

For the last two years, whenever I rode the bus between my village and Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city, I saw a church sitting high up on a hill above the freeway. I made it a goal to visit the church and take photos.

My friend visited Kosovo from Amsterdam the other weekend and I convinced her (and our three friends) to drive our rental car up to the church. We bounced up a long, rutted dirt road and finally reached it!

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Sam, Sierra, Ingrid, Chelsea and April
Church in Kosovo 2
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Church in Kosovo 3
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Church in Kosovo 4
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Church in Kosovo 5
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Church in Kosovo 6

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Church in Kosovo 8

As I’ve said before, Kosovo is a predominately Islamic country. I live in a Catholic community, however, so I was interested to visit another kishë (church) aside from the one in my village.

You can read about my experiences visiting churches, monasteries, and mosques in Kosovo here:

 

Lonely Planet Thinks You Should Visit Kosovo

Lonely Planet listed Kosovo as one of their “Best in Europe” destinations for 2018. Well, all right. I can do my part to help Kosovo’s tourism. Here are some pictures I took in Rugova Canyon and Bogë this last weekend when my friend visited and rented a car. I am so glad I was able to visit because neither place is accessible via bus.

The restaurant we visited in Bogë (where I took all the sheep photos, below) is called Guri i Kuq, which is Shqip (Albanian) for “Red Stone.”

Rugova Canyon:

Rugova Canyon 1

Rugova Canyon 2

Rugova Canyon 3

Rugova Canyon 4

Rugova Canyon 5

Rugova Canyon 6
Lots of construction …

Bogë:

Boge Kosovo 1

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Boge Kosovo 4

Boge Kosovo 5

Boge Kosovo 6

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Boge Kosovo 7
Tiny baby goats!

Driving back down through Rugova Canyon:

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Rugova Canyon 9
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Rugova Canyon 10
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Rugova Canyon 11
Yours truly

Kosovo is a gorgeous country in general, but the views in Bogë were especially stunning!