Village Life

Time has melted a little, since we’ve been moving around so much and following other people’s schedules, but I’ve been here about a week and a half now, and things are going well. For training we’re living in villages a couple of miles apart from one another in eastern Kosovo. We’ve got nearly daily language and cultural sessions, and bi-weekly Peace Corps mandated trainings in TEFL, health, safety, integration, and so on.

My host family grows a number of different fruits and vegetables (and sweet green peppers which are lovely roasted) in their garden, and a lot of rose bushes. As far as I can tell, they grow wild rosebushes out in the field, and more delicate roses in the garden on long trimmed stalks, then at some point they cut the top bushy part off and graft the garden rose onto the wild one. This area of Kosovo is kind of a plant nursery, where they grow a lot of decorative trees  (some of them pruned into topiary trees) along with some fruit trees and rose bushes, then pot and sell them. We have a dog and some chickens, and a lot of other families have other village animals like cows and goats.

The food is generally quite good. There are a lot of fresh vegetables right now, especially green onions and peppers, and the cherries are starting to get ripe. Pita is layered pastry with savory filling (so far chives and garlic). One of their national specialties is flia — kind of a giant pan of stacked pancakes, which takes quite a long time to make, because it’s cooked from above rather than from below. You pour a striped layer of runny batter, heat it with a metal lid covered in hot ash, then add the spaces between the stripes, cook them, spread a thin layer of yoghurt miked with oil, then another striped layer. This takes a long time, since you have to keep watching it while each layer cooks.

Last Friday we went to a ruined fortress for lunch and a tour, and it was very beautiful. It’s lovely here as well, with rolling green hills and fields of white lacy flowers and red poppies (as well, of course, as the decorative trees, orchards, and grain). Otherwise we’ve mostly been in classes, hanging out, or drinking coffee with our host families. The pattern seems to be that there’s Turkish coffee and tea at home and macchiatos at the cafe, and we more or less alternate between visiting relative’s houses and going to the cafe. Like in America, it’s fine to go out for coffee and not actually order a coffee, which is convenient, especially for the 9pm coffee outing.

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