Wow, unbelievable that I haven't updated for almost a month. But I did go on vacation for a week at the beginning of the month :)
In Smokey news, he has started climbing on top of his dog house. Emin told us that he saw him doing it while we were gone and I didn't quite believe it until I came home one day and he was indeed standing on top of the dog house like he was king of the world! I am trying my best to get a picture of it because it is just so hilarious looking :) Other than that, Emin informed us that we have an excellent guard dog as while we were gone, a man came by the house at 2am and tried to get into the house. Fortunately, Emin lives below us but his father & grandma left for a summer holiday in Montenegro so he was the only one home. I guess Smokey went wild barking. What a good boy!
As for Kosovo, while we were gone, there was a drive-by shooting in Gracanica where I live. A 16-year-old boy was killed at a hamburger stand...I believe in the middle of town at 2am. I am slightly humored by some of the reports that came out in the media about the shooting. An official spokesperson said that the checkpoints in the village may have been relaxed...my reply is "dude, what checkpoint?" Before leaving for vacation, the checkpoint was unmanned for several days. Now, after the shooting, I believe that the road may be closing at night again and there are KFOR soldiers manning the checkpoint. In fact, I had a tank parked practically in the front yard a couple days ago. It is reassuring but at the same time, disappointing.
It doesn't seem that there is any long-term solution for an agreement about what to do in Kosovo between the Albanians and Serbians in Kosovo. The Albanians for the most part want an independent country while the Serbs of course want Kosovo to remain an autonomous state in Serbia&Montenegro. My personal opinion is that neither side's politicians care much for the people living here but are simply acting out on their own agendas. There is far too much lip-service and little action. Basic social services are lacking on both sides...and the mafia operates pretty much unchecked by local or international authorities. The local Albanian population has recently started showing their displeasure towards the UN-administration by holding anti-UN protests and some of the politicians have suggested that the UN should pack its bags and leave. But I can honestly say that most people believe that if the NATO troops that are in Kosovo leave, war will break out the next day.