Vanessa Herrick's Kosovo Report
Vanessa Herrick
is a Canadian journalist reporting in Kosovo and Montenegro. You can reach her at vanessa_herrick
Posted 06.25.08
Pristina, Kosovo



[EDITOR'S NOTE: Vanessa Herrick is a new contributor to the Log Cabin Chronicles. A Canadian, she's now based in Pristina, Kosovo, which just became independent of Serbia, much to the Serbs' anger. Look for some good stuff from Vanessa coming out of this potential international powder keg. These informal reports will give a glimpse of what life there looks like to hard-working North American reporter who is a Stranger in a Strange Land...]

PRISTINA, KOSOVO | I have triumphed over the food crisis. Not the global one. My personal food crisis.

The kind that occurs when you spend extended periods of time in a foreign country.

In a country where you do not speak the language. Where you are reduced to a diet based on pictures on tins. And, might I add, that Kosovars are not really into menus.

Needless to say this complicates things. For anyone planning on coming over -- here is a trick: Salad is salad in Albanian.

But there is only so much salad and bread I can eat.

I am done having chocolate for dinner
(it is now strictly a breakfast food).

In the garden are pear and cherry trees -- the cherries are ready and the pears are on their way.


It is nice to have something to look forward to.

Have been working like mad -- seventeen hours yesterday and still the paper is going to be late due to a last minute, and very dramatic, switch in designers.

It was all very Balkan (or so I am told), with shouting and door slamming and threats of burning place and people. But all has been quiet on the western front for a few days, so I assume that everything is fine.

We have mice in the office, teeny-tiny mice the size of your thumb. I am not bothered in the least. However, there is a great deal of energy being expended in this place, not to produce a newspaper but to "invite" the rats to leave.

This has caused numerous attempts by various people to sneak horrific torture contraptions into the house to try and kill these creatures. I think we just need to get the neighbor's cat in for a few hours and the rats will pack up and leave.

There is confusion as to why I am not as freaked out as everyone else about the plague amongst us. Having lived in a jungle where we once had a wild puma under the cabin I slept in, I don't care about mice.

Last night, for fun, I told everyone about beavers -- fifty pound rats with huge teeth who are so clever they build damns and cause floods, they also build their own little homes in the water where we can't get them!

I may have exaggerated the ferociousness of beavers. Just a little.

They were shocked and could not figure out why people live in Canada with these terrifying beasts.

I fell asleep, smiling.