Breaking up is hard to do

A reflection on a passionate but short lived relationship:

I was going steady with Pristina but instead of a class ring we sealed the deal with this amazing half of chicken. Those that know me know that chicken isn’t really my thing, but for those that don’t please don’t take the next sentence lightly – This was some seriously swoon worthy chicken. So much that I had to tell the world about it (or the small fraction of the world reading my blog:). I now have a favorite “chicken joint”. I never expected that I would be the kind of person to have a favorite “chicken joint”.

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The chicken of fantasies that I didn’t even know I had.

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The chicken shop proprietor and my friend
Josh who is shooting a cool documentary on musicians in Kosovo

Pristina is easy to hate, it was harder to love but I feel like I did a pretty good job.

There are some real gems, like the chicken featured above and like the Gracanica Monastery. The church itself was completed in 1321 and built by the legendary king of Serbia, Milutin Nemanjic. The community that lives around the monastery is part of the Serbian ethnic minority living in Kosovo and this Orthodox church represents the height of Serbian Byzantine tradition. In some ways it is like visiting a piece of Serbia itself, as they really are completely separated from the Kosovar and Albanian culture in their enclave.

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Outside of the church – taken on the sly.

I really have a soft spot for nuns and nun made products, so visiting a working monastery is always pretty exciting for me. This place blew my mind. For one the church was absolutely incredible. Josh and I got yelled at several times in serbian by nuns for taking pictures but we just COULD NOT STOP. (For fellow art history and conservation dorks like me don’t worry no flash was used in the making of these pictures)

Look at these intact frescos!

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These are seriously un-real in their preservation quality. Some had graffiti carved into them from travelers from the 14th century and while I am not normally a proponent of defacing beautiful art, the graffati really cemented the depth of the history for me.

After being blown away by the church we stopped at the gift shop on the way out only to discover this was a working winery and liqueur creation center. Huzzah! They also make some pretty rad slipper socks.

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A wine tasting?! Don’t mind if I do!

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Oh why didn’t I leave some room in my suitcase for nun made liqueur!

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I had self control, I resisted this huge jug of wine for 6 euros. I still don’t know how I managed.

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What gets more cozy than slipper socks knitted by nuns? (Answer: Nothing!)

Pristina and I really hit it off. We had some good times, some amazing meals (remember if it comes in a clay pot it is going to be awesome!), some great friends, and even some surprise veggies, but in the end it wasn’t meant to be.

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Look at all that deliciousness inside clay!

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Two americans, two spaniards, and one guy from malta walk into a bar….

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A feast for the eyes after days of meat patties!

Due to a change in my fellowship (to be discussed at a later date but let me say this – development work is not for the faint of heart) I have been relocated to Tirana, Albania where I will be serving out the rest of my time with Kiva.org and their partner Visionfund Albania. Stay tuned as maybe soon I will be able to post some actual stories about microfinance in action.

So long Pristina, I am sure like all passionate relationships we will most likely meet for coffee or a drink sometime in the future and maybe who knows give it another shot?