Life in Pristina: The Culture

Muslim Majority

I have never lived in a city with mosques on every block. In Pristina, I hear the call to prayer five times a day, every day. It was distracting at first, but now I barely notice it. I often see women wearing hijabs, although the practice is not as common as I expected. Ramadan is currently underway, and Muslims do not eat from sunrise to sunset. I try avoid eating or drinking in front of my co-workers who are fasting, just to be considerate.  Other than that, living in a Muslim majority city is not as different as one might expect it to be.

War Stories

I was at dinner last week, and a cat came up to our table looking for food. This happens often, and usually the waiters try to wave the animals away. At this particular restaurant, though, the waiter picked up the cat, started petting it, and told us a story about how he loves animals. He casually mentioned that he had the dog during the war, and the dog made it through the war by his side. Now, that is a not a gruesome story at all, but during my time here, I have also heard stories about lost family members, rape, and beatings during the war. It is still an incredibly sensitive subject, and discussing relations between Kosovo and Serbia is not something you want to do over dinner.

The Coffee Culture

In Williamsburg, I was an avid coffee drinker. I would brew a pot every morning-- no exceptions. Before I left the U.S., I was told that Kosovo had a "coffee culture." That was the biggest understatement. Coffee dates are a daily occurrence, and at work, everyone will ask you if you would like a coffee multiple times a day (but I'm not complaining). One of the major differences between Kosovo and the U.S. is that their coffee comes in much smaller cups. It’s tempting to drink it all in one gulp. The coffee culture definitely gives Pristina a certain character.

The Food

I really enjoy Balkan food. Apparently, this doesn't mean much, because I like pretty much everything, but flia and burek are incredible. Balkan food usually consists of bread and meat. Below is a picture of flia that my co-worker made.