Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Kosovo: Chapter 5, Scene 4 "The White Stuff"

Now this is a decent snow...just not in Prishtina.

  I’ve been waiting for this. SNOW. When I moved to Kosovo, I brought my two warmest coats, my snow boots and Smart-Wool socks, my long johns and flannel nighties. I was convinced I was moving to a place that would be dark and cold from November to March. I came prepared.

When I woke up one morning in October to a smattering of snow on my balcony I was convinced I had landed in the land of Dr. Zhivago. I envisioned horse drawn sleighs and people cross-country skiing to school. Even though that particular snow didn’t last past breakfast, I was sure I was facing months of the white stuff. I got my coats, gloves, and boots out and ready.

The snowy mist lasted for hours! I was hopeful.
In Ohio, we usually experienced our first light snow or at least flurries around Thanksgiving. From my home in Kosovo I could see snow on the mountains bordering Montenegro, but the fields of my neighborhood still offered the passing cow some green grass well into November.

Temperatures were sure to drop. We were heading into winter, right?  Still, our average high in December was 43F. I know. My students and I tracked the weather as part of a science study and we calculated the average temperature as part of our introduction to long division when we returned to school in January.

I commented to one of my school friends about the incredibly mild winter. He’s a science teacher. He said we needed some good snows to help the water table. I hadn’t thought of that. I like warm temperatures, but I’m not so selfish as to want this warm weather to continue at the expense of next year’s crops and such. Besides, I came with the idea that this part of the Balkans was surely one of the coldest and snowiest places on earth. Or it would at least feel like it to this Southern Girl. (Florida is the place I’ve called home for more years than I can remember.)
Early on the weekend snow shower
 looked promising!

And so, showing great love and concern for my fellow man, I prayed for a good snow.

It snowed a ton…in Ohio. Actually, it snowed all the way into northern Florida.

Now, I know it wasn’t me. God is fully aware I live in Kosovo. Yet, I felt a little guilty enjoying the no-snow belt in which I was living and talking to my mother on the phone as she prepared for a blizzard.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had some cool temperatures and I’ve worn my coats. My coats and my socks. I’ve turned on the heat and snuggled under my blanket. We’ve had some blasts of cold air here. We simply haven’t had snow.

Until this past weekend. It snowed. It snowed hard. It snowed long. Tiny light flakes so dense it looked like fog filling the sky. It snowed on Saturday as a group of folks from the school where I teach went snow skiing in the mountains. It snowed through Sunday enough to make the field in front of my house begin to turn white. It snowed long enough for children to envision a day off of school. And then it stopped.

Not what I envisioned on Monday morning.
As Monday morning dawned and the misty snow induced cloud lifted, the roads were clear. Stubbles of brown grass and weeds poked through the snow in the field. Two full days of the white stuff coming down and so little to show for it!

I pulled my coat around me, donned my snow boots, and trudged up the lane to catch the bus. The air was crisp but not cold. The sun was shining. As I walked from the bus stop to my school, I couldn’t help but enjoy the calm the light snow brought to the small community where my school is located. I heard a rooster crow and felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Ah…Kosovo.

Join me in Kosova (the Albanian pronunciation for Kosovo) in Southeastern Europe. Each week I share my experiences. Leave your comments and questions below. I’ll try to address each as best I can. And if you don't want to miss a post, simply add your email address in the box on the right where it says "Follow by email." 


  1. Lovely post, Rebecca! Are you teaching English there? How did you get there? It reminds me of my first winter in Japan. Thank you for your post!

    1. First, thank you for reading and commenting. I am teaching in an American school in Kosovo. Everything is taught in English. I was a professor of education in the States and one of my former students was teaching here. I had retired so when she and her husband decided to return to America to have their baby, she asked if I would come here to teach her class. It has been a wonderful experience!


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