Mirë se vini në Kosovë (Welcome to Kosovo)!

We arrived on a Saturday. Our experience at the airport was not ideal. A self- acclaimed taxi driver attempted to take our baggage to his “taxi,” parked elsewhere, while we waited at the curb. Ashley did not take to his suspicious demeanor and insisted we get a marked taxi. On hindsight, I agreed.

 We collapsed on our beds at the hotel after setting up a meeting with a realtor for 1pm and setting an alarm in accord. We woke up a few minutes before 3pm. I panicked a bit and calmed down only when Ashley’s phone revealed a new message from the relator moving the time up to 3:30 pm.

 We had three choices – two rooms on the 9th floor and on the 10th floor. After some contemplation, we contacted the relator that evening to let him know we wanted the 9th floor room with the large balcony. Our choice cost us 50 euros more each month, but we justified the expenditure with plans to host dinners and socials on our large balcony.

Our balcony

We moved in on Sunday. After unpacking, we quickly identified our bakery, our fruit stall, and market, all a few paces away from our building. Then we met up with my boss, Anton, for a tour of the CLARD office.

 My new workplace is on the second floor of a small building next to the most popular café bar near Mother Theresa street. The office has two rooms with crammed with three to four desks each and a kitchen area that also serves as a conference room and waiting area for clients.

CLARD Office 

CLARD office

 After the quick tour, Anton took treated us to coffee (me tea because I don’t drink coffee) at Soma, the popular café bar next door. He advised us to find Albanian boyfriends if we were serious about learning the language. Then he assured us we were safe in the area and that the Kosovar people would treat us with heightened respect because as a show of gratitude for the role of the United States in their independence. And he’s right, the locals have been super kind to us despite our tendency to get lost and Ashley’s newly acquired habit of cursing at slippery curbs.