thecrocodilehunter asked: HAYLEY hi! I'm accepting my peace corps invitation this afternoon; I'll be the first generation of volunteers in country, and I just wanted to say hi! I'll leave June 6th, but I just wanted to hear a little about your own experience in Eastern Europe! Hope you're having a wonderful time and if you ever want to come to Kosovo, let me know :)
AAAH oh my god I’m sorry I’m so late reading this - by now you’re already probably in the middle of that super-fun giant Peace Corps visa tangle, best of luck to you :P Welcome to the Eastern European family! It’s a pretty crazy place!
I don’t know how much Ukraine and Kosovo really have in common, culturally speaking, but here are some things that I’ve been sort of getting used to here. Maybe they’ll transfer on over?
1. Huge food culture. I don’t know what stereotypes you have in mind but multiply them by a thousand because food - and tons of it - is involved in everything, and not eating food for any reason (like, for example, because you already ate a ton of food) is seen as a sign that you are ill and should be fed more food. Or something. Figure out how to say “delicious” and “no thanks, I’m full” in Serbian, ASAP, for all the good it’ll do you.
2. Everyone will always know all of your business, often before you do. For instance you will have a few friends over for tea and then the next day your landlord will appear on your doorstep, bearing oladi that his grandmother (whom you have never met) baked for you, saying “I hear your fridge doesn’t work?” You did not know your fridge did not work. You did not know your friends knew your landlord. And yet.
3. Babushkas reign supreme.
4. From the moment they learn that you do not have a husband in-country with you, people will constantly try to set you up (with their hairdresser’s cousin’s girlfriend’s brother, who is such a nice boy, really) - regardless of whether or not you have an American boyfriend back in the States.
5. Learn to drink homemade vodka with a straight face and no chaser. If you must chase, wait until it seems coincidental and then casually reach for a pickle. This is how you will bring pride to the fatherland.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I have no clue if any of this will carry over to Kosovo, so you’ll have to report back! Maybe I’ll plan a trip your way for next summer :D Congratulations!