Friday, August 20, 2004

Container for the Joy

 I'm having difficulty containing the joy I feel in being back in Kosovo.  I missed having dribble showers in the mornings and playing the power-schedule guess games!  It is wonderful to be back in the uncivilized world!  Most of the time the power is off or goes off when I get home and dinner is usually served around 9-10pm when and if the power comes on.  The water pressure suddenly dropped two days ago after I was thinking the problems were over...and I got a trickle shower this morning :) 
I need to bring a plumber over to the flat sometime next week to fix the kitchen sink and bathroom toilet.  Both are flowing a bit too freely for my taste.  It is virtually impossible to completely turn off the cold water in the kitchen so I finally stuck a post-it note says "Do Not Use Cold Water" after ripping the knob off and using pliers to turn the tap off.  Sometime the boiler above the sink creates a waterfall down from the cabinet where it is hidden into the sink area which is annoying when you happen to be standing there when the water starts flowing!  I imagine that the kitchen faucet and boiler will need to be replaced.  Then the toilet is missing a large chunk of the porcelain from inside.  I normally have a decorated towel covering the ugly tank with a heavy candleholder sitting on top of it to make the bathroom a little nicer looking.  Smokey wanted to see what it was and ended up knocking the very heavy candleholder into the toilet and breaking the piece off from the inside.  Plus the toilet is frightfully ugly and the water-pipe from the reservoir to the toilet leaks...while it is clean water, it still kind of grosses me out.

You know what I miss about being home?  The ability to identify food!  Yesterday, Didem asked me about a special type of flour that she needed to make a Turkish cake.  While I knew what she needed, neither of us knew how to correctly identify it at the supermarket because basically everything is in a Balkan language (Serbian, Albanian, Slovenian).  I also have trouble finding good cheese (man do I miss cheddar!)  They don't call Swiss cheese Swiss cheese here...and trying to identify the different types with how they taste...well, I'm a lost cause.  Mozzarella comes in a package with water and is not dry as it is in the US.  The cheddar I find here is from England and tastes very different than our Wisconsin cheddar.  And the only shredded cheese you'll find is if you want cheese for your gotta do it yourself.

I think I may have a new neighbor as I saw a vehicle with Oklahoma license plates this morning.  That was kind of weird!  Kosovo is about the last place I would expect to find license plates for a Native American Indian tribe!  There isn't a checkpoint per se anymore except the occasional one set-up by the inept KPS who stare at you like you have sprouted three heads as you drive by.  They sometimes take a break from gossiping to check the documents of passing vehicles but mostly it seems to be a coffee break minus the coffee.