While the kids napped I traveled 10km outside Prishtina with Shaban to visit one of his best friends. The car ride to his home I asked a couple of questions to get some history on their friendship. They met doing business together in 2004 after the war. They never knew each other before that. “He is my brother” Shaban says. I learned the word “shok” (friend) quickly during that car ride.
The man, the myth, the legend
Shaban’s friend enjoys being a giver. He gives him chickens, and fresh produce on the regular. They greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on the cheek. He shows me his rabbits, apples, chickens, and “1st class peppers”. We retire to the porch where his daughter in law makes us tea and fresh homemade passionfruit juice. They argue for a few minutes about peppers and how much things cost. The friend insists Shaban take a trunkload of peppers to make fresh ajvar for us to take back to America. Literally, a trunkload…
I’ve never seen a better bromance. He calls him “Shabi” for short. He served us ajvar made from his peppers. It’s the most delicious pepper related thing I’ve ever ate. After tea he hands me a pair of clogs and says ‘lets go’ in his language. We walk to the field to collect peppers. Before we walked to the field he handed me a fresh apple. I ate it quickly.
Picking the peppers
About 10 kilos of peppers later he finally agreed it was enough for me. He wanted to give me more but we had to strong arm him to stop picking. We walked by some chickens he snatched up a rooster and said it was for me. Giving someone your rooster is a huge honor BTW. He also gave me a huge bag of apples, cucumbers, and eggplant.
Tying the legs on my rooster
The ride back to Prishtina makes me wonder:
A. How will I get it all back to America?
B. How generous is this man to give me so much stuff just for visiting his home?
Hospitality is just indescribable in this country.
I bet there isn’t even a word in the dictionary to translate.
Aren’t pepper fields gorgeous?
Apple trees line his front yard
I’ve been suffering from a muscle pinching my shoulder to the point of it causing migraines over the past 2 days so I decided it was time to find myself a massage therapist. We called a place and they said no appointment necessary just stop by (so unheard of in the US) and at only 30 euros an hour I was game. Not going to lie I was a little worried it could be the ‘other’ type of massage parlor but I figured I would take the chance.
Florent and Altin dropped me off at the place. It was a 3rd floor walk up above the place where we buy our bootlegged cd’s. I was greeted by a tall woman with short hair and really good English skills. I explained my ailment and she was confident we could fix it with the kombination massage. The place inside was well decorated with relaxing music and clean linens. She had a heat lamp attached to the ceiling which was pretty cool, I’ve never seen one of those before!
Fast forward to the massage- I give her an A+. I’ve been getting massages for nearly 15 years so I am confident in the ability to give a grade here. She talked a little bit not too much and was very educational as well as entertaining.
“You must attack the muscles you see!”
“Muscles are like lovers, need to be smooth and not broken and knotted.”
“These pressure points here are for headaches or when you drink too much wine”
“Your shoulders are making less blood travel to your brain. You need 2 more massages with this specific treatment from me.”
“When cold air hits on the muscles it causes this pain in your back.”
After my 1 hour kombination massage with this woman I decided I wanted to bring her back to the US with me. I felt like she could instantly be my dear friend. The type of lady you could easily put down a bottle of wine with and share stories about motherhood, stress and body ailments. Whats not to love, am I right?
*No photos included because no one wants to see that*
I also forgot to mention ten minutes into the treatment she took off her shoes and jumped on the table and massaged me while sitting on my lower butt.
My conclusion is this: Even in potential awkward situations Albanians still know how to have quality conversation and make me feel at home no matter if they are sitting on my back or next to me on a couch.