Distance in Your Mind

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There are places where one can travel to in this world where you feel distant and an outsider.  Makes sense of course, you are an outsider.  But here in Prishtina, time and time again, people who I’ve never met before make me feel like I am their neighbor and they’ve been expecting to see me.  Perhaps it is the large number of foreigners who are here working as part of the development and security world. Or maybe it is simply that Kosovars are all over the world and sometimes, they return home for good.  Whatever the reason, you’ll rarely meet someone who  gets wide eyed if you mention New York or Paris, these cities are part of their vocabulary and in some cases, a familiar part of their lives.

It all makes for a strange and alluring atmosphere; wander into a café and one friend will introduce you to another. Before you know it, a conversation that transcends borders and the conventional small-talk erupts.  They will want to meet up again, as often is possible, they will make time for you, don’t worry. No topic seems off the table. Even those probably tired and repetitive visitor questions about the country and its significant list of problems. Its no problem here, we can talk about it, we can even talk about problems in a far away land, no country or context is too distant.

Surely it is an old song. I came to Kosovo and made some fantastic friends that I shall seek to see again and surely never forget . I’ve said that of so many countries I doubt anyone takes it seriously. But this is no polite travel note, this is a seasoned veteran traveller telling it like it is in his experience. The world may often forget about Kosovo these days, but here in Prishtina, Kosovo is very much a part of the great big world.

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