50…and 1/2

I now have been in Kosovo for 50 days. Despite the extreme weather and a couple of sick days, my time has passed quickly and quietly. I arrived thinking that my greatest challenge would be adjusting to a daily life lacking the familiarity and comforts of home. I’ve discovered, however, that “the livin’ is easy” (forgive me, Gershwin): I am safe, well housed and fed, healthy and happy.

The real challenge for me, as it turns out, is communication–not just coping with an unfamiliar and difficult language–but, rather, trying to understand and thrive within the protocols of people and politics (all those P words!) so that I can do my job as effectively as possible.

Communication here is a mystery to me, a mystery that I find both fascinating and frustrating. I realize that, for better and worse, in addition to my own myriad idiosyncrasies, I possess a high degree of cultural presumption about how things “should” be done.

In the long run, the real challenge for me is looking at the proverbial glass of water and deciding whether it is half full or half empty.

Today, after stepping in yet another muddy mudpuddle, I looked up and saw these beautiful flowers. And, as it turns out, there were beautiful flowers on every street.

About David McTier

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