Cafes are a big part of life here in Kosovo. (I’d love to see a report on the number of cafes per capita … there’s probably like one cafe for every five people in Kosovo. [I am making that up/exaggerating. But only a little.])
Tartine is a popular breakfast place among the Peace Corps volunteers. Tartine primarily serves quiche, smoothies, and coffee.
During a low point this last winter, I remember lying in bed and scrolling through Google images of “fruit smoothies,” fantasizing about colorful, healthy drinks and feeling sorry for myself. (Pathetic.) A few weeks later, a friend introduced me to Tartine. And I got a smoothie! I also got a quiche and some coffee. 🙂
Although cafes are a big part of the Kosovar culture, in the smaller villages (like mine), they are frequented almost exclusively by men. I’ve heard that Tartine is owned by a woman. While I don’t know if this is true, every time I have been to Tartine I have only seen women working.
If you’d like to read about other places I frequent in Kosovo, check out this post about Sach Cafe, and the (VERY SADLY!) now-closed Sweet Bean.
I am doing a photo project where every month, I post a photo that captures the spirit of that month. Here is July’s photo:
I took this from the balcony of an Airbnb in Pristina. (Which makes this the third “balcony photo” of this series.) I imagined doing more travel this summer, but it looks like my visit to the United States was my big trip for the season. I sat down with an Excel spreadsheet and figured out how many vacation days I have left. As a refresher, I went to Tirana, Albania last November (which counted as a business trip, so I did not have to use vacation time), Paris/London in December, Rome/Berlin/Budapest in April, and the U.S. in June. I have plans for a big trip this Christmas, and (hopefully) for spring break 2018. This means I only have 6 free vacation days. So, given that I only have a little time left, and that I need to save money for my bigger trips, it doesn’t look like I’ll be traveling again this summer. And I’m fine with that … there are places in Kosovo I’d like to explore, and weekend getaways in Pristina are nice.
A volunteer friend suggested visiting the bazaar in Pristina, so a small group of us went last week. I had no idea there was a bazaar in Pristina!
There was SO MUCH produce for sale, for prices even cheaper than what I can find in my village. (Fifty cents for a carton of strawberries, versus 1.50 Euro in my village.) You can also finds lots of other goods at the bazaar, everything from clothing and yarn, to household items, to cigarettes.
As far as I know, the bazaar is open every week day. You can find it here:
Below are some links to articles I’ve enjoyed about Kosovo (and Albania).
Makeup is a big deal in Kosovo. Women, especially in the larger cities, tend to be much more made up than what I think is typical in the States. I got a kick out of Blonde Gypsy’s look at beauty routines in Pristina.
Heart My Backpack posted some gorgeous photos of Pristina during her trip to Kosovo. It was also fun to read someone else’s take on the city.
I loved visiting Tirana, Albania’s capital city. It’s got a mild, Mediterranean climate, a varied history, and a gorgeous public park. (I previously wrote about its nature, history, and the city today.) So I was super excited when this article popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. It’s a great, one-day itinerary for visiting Tirana.
I don’t cook much in Kosovo, for many reasons. 1) I think it would be rude not to eat with my host family. 2) I don’t like to cook often. 3) My village doesn’t have a grocery store. 4) My host family owns a wood-burning stove, and I have no idea how to use it. However, many of my friends like to cook, so I wanted to link to another recipe for traditional food. (I previously posted some good recipe links in this post.) In the One Day Itinerary article above, Oda was suggested as a good traditional dining spot in Tirana. I ate at Oda during my trip to Tirana and loved it. Fasule, a popular bean dish, was one of the dishes I ordered. I found this blog post (written by a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Albania) that lists a simple fasule recipe (in English).
“And time goes by And you’ve got a lot to learn, in your life.” — Future Islands, Tin Man
I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post that I have officially completed my first quarter in the Peace Corps! (Counting method is my own.) I thought I’d take some time and reflect on my favorite moments/photos from the last six months. Some of these photos I have previously posted, while others are new.
I spent over a year thinking about Kosovo before I actually moved here. These are: 1) my very first photo of Kosovo and 2) the first photo of me in Kosovo, taken on the balcony of my hotel room.
Processed with MOLDIV
I took the following photo at the end of the most terrifying day of my life. Here is a picture of my pre-service training (PST) bedroom:
I love this photo I took of my sitemates Charlie and Sierra. It is funny to think I didn’t know them well back then.
A post shared by April Gardner (@hellofromkosovo) on
I didn’t know what to expect from my first birthday spent in Kosovo, but I am happy to say, my 35th was a happy one. (I suspect my language teacher was responsible for the cake — such a sweet gesture.)
PST is not without its abject misery and heat. It does have its bright moments, too. Here is a picture of me commuting with my sitemates and my language teacher. I really miss these three, and don’t get to see them as often as I’d like anymore.
The summer did not pass without its hedonistic moments. Here are two of my favorite photos, illustrating that:
Here is a picture of my language group, on the day we (finally) got to explore Pristina for the first time.
I got to attend my first Kosovoar wedding. Here I am with one of my PST host brothers:
Teaching for the first time was an intimidating experience, but it turned out to be more fun than I expected. I really like this photo of my co-teachers, Chelsea and Chester.
Our last week of PST was emotionally draining and difficult. But I had fun at the cultural day party/thank you to PST families that Peace Corps hosted.
On my last night with my PST host family, I asked to take a photo with my host parents. My host dad was lying on the couch with a headache, but he got up and put on a dress shirt and nicer pants for the occasion. 🙂
The next day, I swore in as a member of the Peace Corps. I have never been so proud of anything I’ve ever done.
This is the first photo taken of me at my permanent host site, later that same day. It will always remind me that what I had anticipated would be a hard day (I was missing my sister’s wedding back at home) ultimately turned out just fine.
I came across this cool public art display by Swedish artist Samuel Nyholm. After doing some internet research, I discovered he recently presented at a graphic design conference in Pristina.
The one of the man with the moustache is my favorite. It reminds me of my grandfather. I am not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s because he had a funny little moustache when he was younger. And he’s usually dressed well.