I have a new respect for winter. And by respect I mean contempt kept in-check by fear of something incredibly powerful.
I thought I knew winter pretty well. I mean, I grew up in Minnesota, lived in Chicago, and then lived in one of the coldest parts of Alaska for two years. But winter without indoor heating is something else. Even though the temperature did not plummet to the depths I experienced in Alaska, the cold was inescapable.
But the good news is that spring has sprung in Kosovo!
It actually happened very suddenly. One day I was wearing my winter coat, and literally two days later I was wearing sandals and t-shirts.
To celebrate the first day of spring, my host family and I made the traditional Albanian dish flia. (And what I really mean is that my host mother did 98% of the work while I watched, tried to help, and then resigned myself to taking pictures.)
A couple weeks later we went to a giant park outside of Gjakova, where we had a picnic with some extended family. We packed a feast to eat on the picnic.
There’s only a couple months of school left and they are sure to fly by. In a couple weeks we will be celebrating St. George’s Day in a nearby village, which I’ve been told will involve hundreds of animal sacrifices and feasting.
School is also concluding soon, with the 12th graders finishing in early May and the 10th-11th graders going through the first week of June. We also have prom to look forward to in mid-May, which is a big deal for graduating students in Kosovo. It is very formal and includes the teachers, so I will need to figure out what to wear! Stay tuned for pictures!
In the meantime, here are some more pictures of me with my host sisters from our picnic:
To read more about what it’s been like living with a host family, check out this post.