This past Friday, I decided to visit Prizren for the day. I had been there once before, but it was only a short visit for our “non-majority community visits” during PST. I have a lot of free time during this break between Swearing In and school starting, so I figured it would be fun to just spend a day in a city that’s renowned for its beauty. And it definitely was fun!
I didn’t really have any sort of game plan for my day—just aimless wandering. But when you have views like this, aimless wandering is pretty great!
And then I stumbled upon an old Serbian Orthodox church! I wandered around the property and found myself reading the (thankfully in English) signs; which also told me that this church is actually called the Cathedral of Saint George. It was destroyed back in 2004 but has since been restored!
At this point I was starving, and you’d think “Hey Eric, you’re in a completely unique European country! Why don’t you eat some traditional food?” But let me tell you, friends, there’s only so many times you can eat byrek or some other type of bread. So where did I go…?
That’s right! There are KFCs in Kosovo! I may have overeaten, but feeling connected to America through food is something I really enjoy. (So if any of you ever want to send me snacks hit me up for my mailing address!)
And then I decided to sit alone and listen to the rush of the river. Taking in just how beautiful Prizren is.
I unexpectedly ran into some fellow volunteers, and that was definitely something I didn’t realize I needed. I’ll be honest, adjusting to my permanent site has been very stressful for me; so to be surrounded by such positive friends really helped to clear my mind.
…And then I missed my bus back home…and the next one never came. I checked the bus schedule over and over again but after two hours I realized the scheduled buses would never come. And that’s when I found out about the bus strikes! To say I started panicking would be an understatement! But after reaching out to staff, I got the okay to stay the night in Prizren and off I went to find a place to sleep! I eventually found a hostel with ONE available bed and my prayers were answered!
The place was actually very cute, but for privacy sake I’m choosing to exclude the name. There, I met a traveler from China who had been backpacking through the Balkans for just over a month. I thought it was a very interesting to hear the perspective of the Balkans from someone who didn’t know much about the culture, language, or history. To him, Kosovo wasn’t very exciting—and that’s completely fair. But Kosovo is so much more for me. I find excitement in finding caramel iced coffees at cafes. I find excitement in hearing the call to prayer five times a day. I find excitement in trying different versions of traditional foods. And I find excitement in just existing in a place with so much natural beauty. I have so much love and pride for Kosovo.
As I rode my bus back to site the next morning, I couldn’t help but be thankful for the series of events that unfolded the previous day. It allowed me to view such a captivating place in many different lights. And it also taught me to never trust the bus schedule!