Here's a little something we threw together when Elizabeth said to Sam, "Hey, why don't you teach me how to harmonize!" Now that we're helping out with Albanian-speaking church services, we've been singing lots of familiar carols in our new local language. Hope you enjoy it, despite our pronunciation mishaps (and the fact that Liz is, in her words, not quite up to Steere-level singing...yet).
One of our Thanksgiving dinners with friends.
Despite being away from the usual American Christmas insanity (e.g. the crowded malls, festive music, holiday ads, front yards teeming with Santa figurines), we have had quite the busy holiday season here in Kosovo. Our American friends are making sure that we get our fill of Turkey, pumpkin pie, apple cider, carols, and twinkle lights until next year. We were invited to two separate Thanksgiving dinners—one with Prishtina High School, another with our friends from Calvary Church—which were both delicious and full of good fellowship and laughter.
Sam and I also celebrated Thanksgiving break (a wonderful long weekend off from teaching) by visiting Prizren, a small city in southern Kosovo, with a couple of friends. We enjoyed eating Turkish food, climbing up to the old fortress ruins that overlook the city, and window shopping along the cobblestone streets. It was a relaxing, fun time and definitely made us want to travel more in and around Kosovo. Even the countryside from the bus was beautiful, as we drove through foothills and colorful fall forests.
We also recently traveled to Skopje, Macedonia, which was very different from Prishtina, though only a few hours away. The city is full of Alexander the Great statues, giant malls, and Mother Teresa paraphernalia. The whole thing seemed a little over the top to me, but I did enjoy picking up some grocery items that are hard to come by here in Kosovo. And of course it was a fun adventure with friends just walking around.
Now that it's almost Christmas (can you believe it!?), we're trying to make our apartment look as festive as possible without a proper tree. They sell twinkle lights and ornaments at the grocery stores, so we'll be raiding them this weekend and getting our creativity on! It does help that it's been SNOWING here for the past few days, making the whole city look quaint and wintery. As nice as it may look, it does make getting places a bit more difficult, as we often have to walk up and down icy hills to get to and from our apartment. Ah well, at least I get to stay in our warm house most days!
On Christmas eve, we will probably be serving at our local church, where Sam has begun to help out with worship leading. Then, on Christmas day, all of the churches in Kosovo (that's right—the whole country!) will be gathering together to celebrate. We're looking forward to seeing all the Christians put aside church loyalty (which can get pretty intense here) and uniting as one body of believers.
As for Sam and I, our real Christmas treat will happen after the December 25. We'll be flying to Sweden on the 28th, where we'll stay near Denmark for a few days, then take a train to Stockholm. We are really looking forward to a vacation. Even though we love Prishtina, it's always nice to get "fresh air" as our American friends here would say. We are hoping the trip will be a time of refreshment and fun for us, and we are looking forward to some quality time together, which we don't always get in the busyness of life here.
We hope that you are warm and well wherever you are. If you want to treat us to something special for the holidays, we are happy to receive! Our main needs are (1) monthly support and/or one-time donations (/partner-with-us.html), (2) notes of encouragement, (3) photos of friends (our fridge is so bare!), (4) anything the spirit leads you to send us! We are very comfortable with a few things here, but we enjoy surprises as much as anyone!
Our mailing address is:
Prishtina High School
Fahu Postal 322
10000 Prishtina, Kosovo
As usual, thank you all for your support and encouragement! Even if we just see that people are reading our blog, it's nice to know that you are thinking of us and taking the time to invest in our journey. May the season bring you joy, and may you know the value of all that God has given you.
Elizabeth and Sam