Avokat - Lawyer

I'm taking a leaf out of Erica's book this week and doing an Albanian blog title with its English translation. I love the Albanian word for lawyer: avokat. This summer has broadened my understanding of what it means to advocate for my organization, D4D's clients, as well as for my own career. The amount of research I've done, papers I've edited, and incredible people I've been fortunate enough to network with has truly helped me build the skills necessary to become an effective lawyer and advocate one day. 

After a hectic few days of travel - Monday in Pristina, Tuesday in Macedonia, Wednesday in Chicago, and finally Thursday at home in Tennessee - I am now able to sit down and reflect on the incredible summer I had. My last week was very memorable, starting on Monday when my coworkers very sweetly presented me with a certificate to signify the successful completion of my internship with D4D:

Later that night, my boss invited all of the D4D staff to Hotel Sirius' rooftop restaurant for Iftar, the meal that breaks the fast during Ramadan. We waited for the mosques to give the call to prayer and then we broke the fast with dates and Turkish delight, as is tradition.

The meal was excellent - soup, salad, a dish with three different types of meats, and flan for dessert. It was a great night to sit on a rooftop with my coworkers. Plus, I finally got to see the fireworks that I hear on an almost daily basis in Pristina - someone was shooting them off of a rooftop in another part of the city. I miss my friends and coworkers already:

I tried hard not to think too much about the fact that I was walking into work at D4D for the last time when I arrived on Friday. The last day was pretty low-key. Two co-interns and I met with my boss to go over the internship manual that had recently been created. Then, several coworkers and I went to Bon Vivant for lunch together one last time.

Arta, my co-intern and dear friend, took some pictures with me before I cleaned out my desk and left. 

It's still strange that I didn't go into work this week, but I'm grateful for the wonderful experiences I've had and all of the amazing people I've gotten to know this summer at D4D. I will truly miss all of my friends and colleagues.

Later that night, Erica and I went out to dinner with the judge William & Mary alum who we've gotten to know so well over the summer. I will continue doing some research for him while I'm home before school starts. Saying bye to this individual was particularly hard because we've learned so much from him this summer. Erica and I are trying vigilantly to persuade him to stop in Williamsburg for a visit if he's ever stateside, so perhaps we'll see him soon.

Beyond that, it was a week of saying bye to people who I hope to remain in contact with for many years to come. 

Erica and I also marked several items off of our Pristina bucket list, such as taking cheesy tourist pictures in front of the Bill Clinton monument. 

Words don't adequately sum up what this experience has meant to me. Before I left for the internship, I hoped that the experience would help me discern if I wanted to continue to pursue international law. Over the past ten weeks, my answer has become a resolute yes. Although I can't predict the future or where in the world I might end up, I look forward to what's ahead.