Friday Gratitude: Anibar Animation Festival

August 14-20 was the best week I’ve had in Kosovo. HANDS DOWN! I volunteered at the Anibar Animation Festival in Peja, Kosovo.

The Anibar Animation Festival began eight years ago. It was founded by my friend’s counterpart, when he was only 17. (What was I doing at age 17? Certainly not founding international film festivals.)

My friend had asked me if I would be the festival’s Jury Coordinator. I told him I would think about it. The next thing I knew, I was having a meeting with his counterpart, where we discussed my role as the Jury Coordinator. I walked out of the meeting thinking, “Wait! Did I ever …Β agreeΒ … to be the Jury Coordinator?”

Anibar Film Festival Peja Kosovo 1.jpg
It was the end of the week, and we were still smiling …

I’m not going to lie, I was dreading the whole thing. I pictured a bunch of high-powered Hollywood types who would call me in the middle of the night to make strange demands. Turns out, I was wrong to be so worried.

The jury was comprised of five lovely people who came from Spain, Switzerland, Poland, the Netherlands, and the United States.

2017 Jury Anibar Peja Kosovo.JPG

I met many new people from all over the world. At one point, I was at lunch, and all four of us spoke different native languages (French, Chinese, English, and Albanian). I love that my native language is the one used to facilitate communication between people who speak other languages.

I also saw many films. The festival had two theaters, plus two screens they set up in a local park.

Anibar Animation Festival

Anibar Peja Kosovo

I loved some films, and hated others. Below are two of my favorite films shorts that were shown at the festival. (Warning: Don’t watch these if your boss or your kids are in the room!)

Volunteering at the Anibar Animation Festival also meant I got to spend time in Peja, which is my favorite city in Kosovo. I mean, would you look at this view?

Peja Kosovo.JPG

Even the weather cooperated, by backing away from the 100-degree mark.

I miss the little routine I developed every morning, where I bought iced coffee (!!!) and went to the Anibar theater to hang out with my friends (and the newly rescued theater kitten) before the start of the festival’s daily activities.

theater kitten.JPG

It was a week full of friends, film screenings, workshops, talks, a gallery opening, and free food and drinks.

Puppet Anibar.JPG

The pouring rain on the night of the closing ceremony forced people to abandon the after-party at the park and stay at the theater. Group karaoke broke out across the theater’s stage and balcony. The night ended with a group of people dancing in the flooded streets of Peja.

Yeah, it was my best week in Kosovo …

Anibar
Thanks to Todd and Stephanee for this pic. πŸ™‚

Surprise Saturday Post

I don’t normally post on Saturdays, but I wanted to share a few photos and stories I’ve seen on the web recently and liked. Happy weekend!

These photos, a collaboration between Polish photographer Marcin Nagraba and costume designer Angieszka Osipa, are stunning.

pagan-slav-culture-photography-marcin-nagraba-angieszka-osipa
By Marcin Nagraba, Agnieszka Osipa

I have long been an admirer of Jim Carey and a blogger I follow posted this inspiring video. “I needed color.”

I don’t think I would be brave enough to decorate my home this way, but this place is one-of-a-kind.

And last, this made me smile. πŸ™‚

bride
From the Game of Slavs FB page

Traditional Clothing and Handmade Rugs

I was in Pristina over the weekend and had a chance to wander through this street fair. I previously posted about the Pristina Bazaar, which is like an expanded farmer’s market. In comparison, clothing and rugs were sold at this fair.

Pristina fair 2
OSCE Trade Fair
Pristina fair
Pristina fair
Albanian rugs
Handmade rugs
buy Albanian clothing
Traditional Kosovar clothing
Traditional Albanian dress
Traditional clothing, Kosovo
Kosovo Albanian childrens clothing
Children’s traditional clothing, Kosovo
handmade goods kosovo
Handmade goods

I LOVED this handmade, wool rug. It was 120 Euro, which I think is very reasonable. While I have bought or been given a few little trinkets I’ll keep to remember my time in Kosovo, I’d really like a larger conversation piece for my home someday. (A “piΓ¨ce de rΓ©sistance,” as the French would say.)

Albanian handmade wool rug
GORGEOUS!

“Oh,” I’ll tell visitors to my home, with my eyes getting misty, “I bought that in Kosovo when I was serving in the Peace Corps.”

I think I could bring a rolled-up rug with me on an airplane. The problem is, I’ll already have about 100 lbs. of luggage to wrangle when I leave Kosovo.

I walked by the tent several times to gaze longingly at *my* rug … πŸ™‚

A day later, I saw the following music video on tv. I thought it was cool because the singers and dancers are wearing traditional clothing. The video is an interesting blend of old and new (and appears to have been filmed somewhere in the Balkans).

I didn’t know the name of the video (it’s Hatixhe, a woman’s name) so I texted my teaching counterpart for help in finding it online. She’s really good at that. I’ll be like, “What’s the video with blahty-blah?” and she’ll know exactly what I am talking about.

If you’d like to see some other music videos, here are links to other posts I’ve written:

Q&A: Becoming a Teacher and Secondary Projects in the Peace Corps

 

Hi, everyone! I’m posting another video today. This week’s questions come from James, who will be coming to Kosovo as a volunteer this June. Thanks for your questions, James!

  1. Could you post about your transition from social work to teacher? (0:25)
  2. Are you a licensed social worker? If so, how are you maintaining your license while serving?* (2:21)
  3. What types of secondary projects are you working on or thinking about engaging? (4:05)
  4. Are there opportunities to work with children outside of a classroom setting? (4:58)

*I misspoke. My license will be up for renewal in January 2018. I don’t know my years …

If anyone else has questions for me, please let me know!

 

Q&A: Life in the Peace Corps

My sister asked the following questions for this week’s video:

  • What hobbies do you have besides reading and crocheting? Are those your favorite things to do? (0:18)
  • Is there something you want to learn (craft-wise) while you’re there? (0:46)
  • How do you spend your days when you’re not teaching? (1:04)
  • Is there a crochet project you have in mind to do next? (1:15)
  • How have your feelings about being in Kosovo/Peace Corps changed over the last 9 months? (1:37)
  • What have you gotten used to that was a big adjustment for you? (2:10)
  • What adjustments are you still struggling with? (2:56)
  • If you could change something about your time there, what would it be? (If you could change anything, no questions asked, your wish is granted.) (3:36)
  • Is there something you would have changed when you arrived but don’t feel that way anymore? (4:10)
  • What has been your favorite thing about living in Kosovo? (4:47)

After watching this video, I realized I said “um” a bunch of times. I thought about re-recording, but laziness prevailed. Maybe I’ll practice my public speaking skills and try to do better next time. πŸ˜›

Thanks for the questions, Kris!

 

Q&A Video: Questions About the Peace Corps

I haven’t made a video in a while, so I asked my friends and family if they had any questions I could answer. My friend Dana (thanks, Dana!) asked the following:

  1. What do most Peace Corps folks do once their service is up? (0:15)
  2. Do people tend to go back to their old jobs or fields? (0:50)
  3. Is there a way to carry on another term? (1:15)*
  4. Would there be opportunities to work stateside? (2:15)

*I misspoke. You can extend any length of time upΒ to a year.

As always, if you have questions you would like me to answer about life in Kosovo or the Peace Corps, please contact me. (Keep in mind, I can’t talk about politics — Kosovo, U.S., or otherwise.)

Q&A from Pauline, Version 2.0

I hadn’t made a video in forever, so when my friend Pauline emailed me some questions, I decided to record the answers. πŸ™‚

  1. What are the demographics of the other teachers at your school? (0:15)
  2. Are they friendly toward you? (0:28)
  3. Are there places like cafes in your town? (1:04)
  4. What are your weekend plans? (1:43)
  5. What is the first substantial school vacation you have? Do you have any plans?Β (2:35)

Also, if you have any questions you’d like me to answer, please email me or leave a comment in the comment section of the blog!