Home Sweet Home

For over two weeks now, I have been living in the faculty wing of Konviktit VI (Dorm 6) at the University of Prishtina. Located above a ground-level basement and an administrative floor on entrance level, there are two faculty floors, each with 8-9 bedrooms. Approximately 10’x15′, each bedroom shares a exterior balcony but has its own bathroom and fridge. From my window and balcony, I have a lovely view of the university and downtown.

I bought and assembled the IKEA-style chair and added the throw rug by the bed. As I learned during my year in Vermont, you cannot wear your shoes indoors if you are to keep your floors reasonably clean. Without access to a vacuum, I find that having the rug and wearing slippers really helps. I also added a coat/hat tree by the door and a couple of lamps.

I dress my twin bed in American fashion but keep a rolled duvet on top. I need to write a separate post about bedding in Europe, which is simpler, smaller, and probably more efficient but doesn’t really cover plus-sized bubbas well, particularly when they toss and turn all night and cannot rely on the radiator to provide continuous heat (if any heat at all). Unlike much of the city, however, we at the dorms are blessed with consistent and continuous electricity, but (tap) water is unavailable 6-8 hours each night. The universal adapters I brought from the U.S. have worked quite well. Buying and toting water is getting old, but I have yet to find anything like a simple Brita filter system here. (We have been instructed not to drink tap.)

My gracious theatre liaison loaned me a television, which gets almost 90 channels (several in English!) from Kujtesa, the cable company that also provides my high-speed, wireless internet service. My cable and internet package costs 29€ per month–less than half of what I’d pay in the U.S. I spend an hour or more at night watching American films with Shqip (Albanian) subtitles and, curiously, am building a simple vocabulary.

The bathroom is completely tiled, fully functional, and quite lovely. Because showers are based with shallow basins that do not always drain quickly, both sections of the bathroom have additional drains. I wear the (provided) rubber flip-flops whenever I’m in the bathroom (and shower)…and I wear my wool slippers in the bedroom…and water-proof boots for outside. (Imelda me.) The bathroom has a suspended water heater, which I turn on 2-3 hours before I shower (or need hot water). (This being able to turn water heaters on and off would save us electricity and $$ in the U.S. Why don’t we have this?) So far, I’ve been frugal with toilet paper and, despite our instructions at the DC briefing, have flushed it without problems.

Not having a kitchen (or kitchen access) hasn’t been a major issue so far. I have yoghurt, bread, and coffee (instant) for breakfast and then have a hot meal (either lunch or supper) at a local eatery. If I eat where the locals (not internationals) do, the food is as inexpensive as it is delicious. My concern about getting enough non-dairy protein has resulted in eating lots of canned fish, primarily sardines.

Overall, I am comfortable, warm, secure, and content with my accommodations. Being within 10-15 minutes of easy walking to work and shopping is a major bonus.

I now have a camera and at last can take and post my own pictures. Hooray!

About David McTier

Professor of Theatre Department of Theatre & Musical Theatre Sam Houston State University