Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Off to Kosovo

By Nora Kajamaa

After an intense week learning about the region's entire history from when it was part of the Roman empire up until now, topped with an exam, we finally flew to Kosovo.

At Schipol

At Schipol
It was one of those travel days where you spend more time at the airport figuring out what to do with yourself than actually flying, but I don’t think any of us really minded. Schipol has so much room for activity. And after what was probably the shortest flight in history catapulting us to Frankfurt, I managed to get my hands on that brezel I was craving for since forever. The next flight (with probably the highest number of babies per capita I’ve ever seen on such a small flight) took around two hours and then we were finally Pristina!

I blame the Netherlands for this, but I was quite surprised that it was warm. I mean, Anne told us it’d be warm, but I think living in the Netherlands sort of made me skeptical about this strange idea that summer is the warmest season in the year. Also, there’re hills! 

On the bus ride to our host families, it was great to see some of the things we learned about become reality. For example, the city Pec/Peja was only some random place in Kosovo for me before, but yesterday, all the bus had to do was take a different exit at the roundabout and we could go there instead.

But at the same I have this bitter taste on my tongue. Kosovo is becoming a tangible place in my mind, but so is its history. So when I looked out of that bus window, at the quaint the countryside and the orange tinted city, all I can ask myself is how? Everything looks so normal; how did it look like during certain events? How does violence even break out in such a quaint-looking place? What did the people do when there was no fighting? It brought the distant reality of violence right to my doorstep, that it could happen wherever, no matter how peaceful it looks.

On a lighter note, my host family is just wonderful. They’ve been feeding Lea and me ever since we arrived yesterday with rice pudding and fresh cherries from their garden and we have had a good chat with them at the same time. 

Overall, I’m just super excited for the coming week and can’t wait to see what else we’ll be doing. Also, thank you everyone, for our dinner last night. It was epic.

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