Monday, June 20, 2016


By Berna Tuvay

Today we had our two-day reunion on the company boat. We went on the holiday package after-party boat trip through the Amsterdam canals, courtesy of Anne and Erik Travel Agency, Inc. It was incredible just stepping out of the bubble and going into the city with the whole gang. After the essential gossiping sesh, we had the time to talk about our experiences in Kosovo and our projects. It was tremendously relieving to not have to think about this course as another abstract construct like other non-field trip courses (which is basically all courses at AUC). The fact that we actually went to Kosovo, saw what was going on and engaged with the different voices, shows that we actually attempted to understand the situation.

Cruising through the canals, with our new Albanian jams blasting through the speakers, was interesting. It is remarkable how different the cities of Amsterdam and Pristina are, how different the attitudes of the people are. If in Pristina you walked up to someone you do not know, nine out of ten times you will have an interesting conversation. If you did the same in Amsterdam, you would get puzzled looks and the occasional ‘wat mot je?’ or wat kijk je kill?’. In Kosovo, if you say that you are a European, the locals thank you. People often tell me that Northern Europeans are generally cold and distant. I tend to agree with them. Nevertheless, I still cannot get my little brain wrapped around it. It appears that Kosovars idolize Europeans. After all, foreigners have been present in the region for almost two decades to ‘stabilize’ and ‘democratize’ the area. Two of the most frequently heard terms during our meetings were ‘rule of law’ and ‘visa liberalization’. But where are the results? EULEX has been extended once again, UNMIK is open-ended anyway. When is Kosovo going to be truly ready to take care of herself?

While contemplating these questions, my mind runs back to that first morning in Kosovo and the vibrant coffee scene it had to offer. I am craving one of those scrumptious cappuccinos once again…

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