Monday, May 23, 2005

A Monday in Kosovo

Happy Monday! It's our first weekday here and it's very quiet. The kids are in school, so there's no one playing in the field behind our apartment, unlike on the weekend when by 9 it was packed with people playing soccer, stickball, walking dogs and grazing their cows.

We did laundry last night. We have a new washer in the apartment, but no dryer so all the laundry is drying on the balcony this morning. Any guesses on how long it takes jeans to dry in the sun? I have to watch and only do one load every day otherwise we won't have enough room to dry everything.

Someone told me there is a playgroup that meets today, but I'm not sure where -- something about the Luxembourg mission compound. We'll see. There's a lot of hurry up and wait here, so I'm trying to be patient and just go with the flow.

Yesterday it was very pretty - a cool, sunny spring day and we went hiking with some of M's colleagues in a local park. It was pretty mountainous and we're fairly high up in the Balkans anyway so I was huffing and puffing like a steam engine from the get go. Then D got tired so we had to carry her - actually mostly me since every time M picked her up she started crying and screaming "Mommy, hold me!" An older couple hiking nearby gave her a licorice candy to distract her. They love, love, love kids here. Everyone pinches cheeks, waves hello, makes a fuss over little kids and other kids will just run up and kiss her on the cheek or try to touch her. D --ever cautious of stranger danger -- freaks out and runs away.

The wife of one of M's co-workers took me shopping last night for more staples. Flour, sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon, raisins. Tuna in water (the can label showed some kind of salad so there was no way to tell it was tuna!) and cheese. Honey-nut Cheerios too! She also knows a decent fresh fish shop and says the sea bass and salmon are both good. We may try that this week, just to get some protein. There is an egg shop at the end of our street (as mentioned in a previous post) and I think the eggs are fresh. They look freshly laid anyway. It's very strange as I've always thought eggs needed to be refrigerated, but you never see them cool here. They're just laid out in these cardboard cartons all over the place.

People are very friendly and helpful. The locals are used to foreigners because of the UN and all the international aid people here, and most everyone speaks a few words of English. I guess we'd stick out as foreign anyway, even if I weren't the only person traipsing around in capris.

We live near a local mosque and hear the call to prayer throughout the day. The first one is at dawn - about 4:30 a.m. here. At 10:00 every night they have the final call. It's very beautiful, peaceful, not that we understand what's being said. Completely different than anything I could have imagined.

We'll try to get some pictures up later this week.

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