Some Minor Changes at D4D

I returned to work on Wednesday to find a new American intern at D4D. Mark is a rising 2L at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He actually found out about D4D by reading the blogs of William & Mary students who have interned here during summers past. He will be with D4D for the month of July. We have found many similarities between our individual 1L experiences. We have taken the same classes, both been served large amounts of cheap pizza at law school events, had the same career planning website forced on us by Career Services, and gone through similar journal competitions.

Mark's arrival revealed how limited my knowledge of Pristina restaurants is.  We have been going for lunch everyday. I don't eat out much, in order to save money. When I did go out for lunch, I either went to a specific bakery if I needed food or a specific cafe if I just needed coffee. Though I do miss my solitary lunches, I have been visiting a lot of new restaurants with Mark. I have liked everything I have tried so far, though I generally only order cheap sandwiches (sendvices). The service at restaurants here is much more laid back than the service I am used to in the United States. It can take several minutes for a server to come to my table after I am seated. Multiple times I have watched a server sitting at a table nearby, chatting with friends and finishing a cigarette before coming to take my order. After the server brings out my food, I usually have to track him or her (usually him) down or aggressively wave if I need anything else or wish to pay for my meal. At most restaurants, there seems to be only one server who carries a change pouch who all patrons must pay their checks to. Mark has observed the same behavior. I have witnessed this relaxed style of service in almost every establishment I have visited in the Balkans. At first I found it irritating but now it amuses me.

This is burek, widely available in bakeries in Pristina. It is usually a long, flaky roll stuffed with cheese or meat. At this particular bakery the burek is served in smaller portions. Many restaurants, including bakeries and kebab shops, serve meals with drinkable, unflavored yogurt. 


In other D4D news, I moved to a new desk in a different office. It's more secluded, but has a nice view of one of the city's older residential neighborhoods. Upon my return to the office, the new director told me to start research for the paper on inter-ethnic relations that he mentioned several weeks ago. He also mentioned possible subjects I might interview, including members of Kosovo's Assembly. However, I am not sure how much I can realistically get done in my three remaining weeks at the office. Nevertheless, I have been reading a lot about issues of ethnicity in the country. As I mentioned previously, Serbs and Albanians are quite segregated in Kosovo. Northern Kosovo Serbs have low election turnout rates, and generally refuse to recognize Kosovo's statehood, preferring to look to Belgrade for leadership. Serbs living in southern Kosovo are more receptive to the government in Pristina, possibly because the Serb population there is smaller and farther from Serbia. 


Though my asignment is to research relations specifically between Serbs and Albanians, I have also learned a bit about another ethnic group, the Romas. The Romas make up a small minority; according to a 2010 UN Human Development Report, there were 30,000 of them in Kosovo at the time. They are largely excluded from society, and experience incredibly high levels of unemployment, poverty and illiteracy. I'm interested to learn more about this group, but D4D has not published any studies or reports on the Romas. 

When I am not researching, I am usually completing a task that was given to me with no prior notice, to be completed quickly. This has happened regularly all summer. For example, on Tuesday a staff member came to me with a ten page report to edit, that was due to a donor within the hour. The English was quite poorly written, so it was a struggle to get the paper in decent shape within the time alotted. In these situations, I cannot be as thorough as I like, but try to at least make sure that each sentence clearly conveys its idea. On Wednesday, just as I was leaving, the director approached me with a list of possible research topics and asked me to come up with a few more ideas for research topics to add to the list. The list was due to another donor by nine the next morning. The topics were to do with the idea of state consolidation in Kosovo. I managed to come up with three ideas. The next morning the director sent the final list back to me to edit, and I saw that two of the five proposed research topics were mine.

On Friday, Marty and I were sitting silently in our little room when a staff member walked in and showed us a picture on his laptop. The picture was of an infamous striped dress, and he asked us what colors we saw in the dress. I laughed and said I thought the dress was white and gold, much to his surprise. The D4D staff members are incredibly active on Facebook, much moreso than I am. I was surprised to learn that my coworkers had not seen this picture when it was in heavy social media rotation over a year ago.

I have been meaning to take a picture of my favorite stray puppy in Pristina but I have not seen him recently. In the meantime, this is a dog I met in Budva.


And this is a goat I met while hiking in Kotor. He was hanging out outside an old abandoned church.