When my alarm went off at 7 o’clock this morning I needed a few seconds to realize where I was: Pristina, finally. The next thing I know there is a knock on the door, Bardha’s adorable mother is serving us breakfast in bed! When I am talking about us, I am talking about Carolin, Joon, Rebecca, Henriette, Roxy and me, Zoë. And yes, we are with six and Bardha and her family are being so kind to lend us their beds while the whole family sleeps in the living room, gotta love that Kosovar hospitality. After our luxurious breakfast we ran to the Newborn sign, our daily meeting spot, but not before Roxy, Rebecca and Bardha get their morning coffee of course. Our first appointment is with some students and a professor of the University of Pristina. After a slightly awkward introduction the students really warm up – both figuratively as literally speaking, the room takes on tropical temperatures – and they tell us passionately about the university, Albanian identity and the future of Kosovo, as one student says: “We cannot forget our history, but we should use that history to build a better future”. Born politicians I would say.
After the meeting we decided to stuff our faces with 3 euro plates of pasta while enjoying the sun and a 1 euro coke at a local restaurant, can we stay here forever please? Next up was a meeting with a very critical and slightly frustrated mister at RIDEA, an EU think tank. Nonetheless, what he had to say was extremely interesting and Roxy and I did not waste a minute to introduce ourselves and get his business card (#internship). After a short but much needed nap we again rushed to the Newborn sign to meet the people of the LGBT organization Qesh, another highlight of the day. Walking towards the Qesh building, we were already enthusiastically greeted by some members standing on the balcony, and when we walked inside we were again cheerfully greeted, now by three shorthaired lesbian women, two handsome gay men and one very sweet and shy transgender boy. Filled with passion and humour the founder and her girlfriend told us about the amazing work that the organization is doing and afterwards they asked us to join them for drinks at a bar close by. The drinks were flowing and we had a great time and were immediately invited to join a pool party and a hip club opening on Friday. These are our kind of people.
The fun didn’t stop there because the whole family – even after one day our group already feels a bit like a family – went to a traditional Albanian restaurant were we ate until we almost couldn’t walk. Almost. An hour later we were definitely ready to walk again or actually, dance. It was a Monday night so we were limited in our options – even though you can basically go out every day in Pristina because, according to our lovely host Envar: “no one has jobs so people party every day” – Bardha brought us to “a glorified version of the Gieter” (a bar in Amsterdam: don’t, just don’t), as Vera described, called the Maroon. When we entered the Maroon there was literally no one so, party people as we are, we decided to start our own party. The drinks were again flowing and the booties were shaking and let’s just say that we had a great time. In summary: day one was amazing and I can’t wait for what’s in store for us next (except for the hangover, which can definitely wait).