Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kosovo: Making the Most of Every Opportunity, Chapter 2, Scene 3

if you look in the distance you'll see the mountains
bordering Montenegro. This is taken from the drive
in front of my apartment building.

People have a wide range of ideas about what it is like to live in a small country like Kosovo. Actually, I’m quite sure most of the people I know in the States haven’t even heard of this European country. The few who have ask me, “Is that the place where there was a war or something?” Uh…yeah. That was in the late 1990’s.

Others wonder about my safety or if I’ll starve to death or have to eat strange foods. I’ve had people ask my mother and kids why in the world I would risk everything to go to such a place.

Risk everything? I don’t see my journey as a risk. I view it as an opportunity.

Here are a few opportunities I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy that I never would have experienced in the States:

v Two days at the US Embassy in a training session with other teachers was fun…especially when we were treated to Oreo cookie milkshakes at lunch! (It’s the little things that count.)

v Attending a film premiere in Prishtina as a guest of my friend, Arijeta who happened to be the casting director for the movie. As such, she was able to cast another friend, Ruth in a supporting role. It was such a fun evening of dressing up and photo opportunities with the actors and actresses.

v The school where I teach celebrated its ten-year anniversary. It was a big deal. And rightly so. Prishtina High School is a model of excellence in education with 99% of graduates continuing their education at universities throughout the world. I’ve only been here a couple of months so none of the success is due to my efforts, yet I found myself filled with joy when the large prestigious crowd gathered to celebrate the school’s success.  I sat behind the Prime Minister of Kosovo who was one of the featured speakers.

My friend Arijeta (the pretty blond) being
 interviewed at the movie premiere.
The profile of the man on the left is
the Prime Minister of Kosovo.

Those are incredible experiences but the real opportunities…the true experiences of living in this little country come from the people I see every day.

I get to teach an amazing group of fourth graders.
I get to interact with a faculty and staff who care deeply about what they do.
I’m getting to know the little family that runs the market where I buy my bread, fruit and vegetables.
I’m meeting new people who live near me.
I’m spending time with new friends over a cup of coffee and enjoying an occasional dinner with people I’ve actually known for over twenty-five years.

The real opportunities are right out my front door and I want to make the most of every one of them while I’m here.

By the way, I found a terrific post about Kosovo on a travel blog. Check it out HERE to see what I see!

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