Pristina is Kosovo’s capital city and headquarters for the NATO forces that have been protecting Kosovo since 1999.
Pristina is not an altogether impressive city in comparison with the other capitals of the the Former Yugoslavia, but it has a really nice promenade, named after Mother Teresa, that cuts through the center of town from the university to the city’s biggest mosque.
The first thing you notice in Pristina is the amount of American flags. Outside government buildings, museums, libraries and the university there is an American flag, a tribute to the U.S. efforts, via NATO, to give Kosovo independence from Serbia.
Walking down the promenade after lunch, we were approached by a young Albanian man named Areg who, upon hearing where we were from, was very emphatic in expressing just how much he and all of Kosovo loves America. “You are my brother, Bill Clinton is my brother, Madeleine Albright is my sister” he kept saying. Areg’s goal in life is to move to America so he can “thank more people for my country’s independence.” We then went into the inevitable conversation of television and movies where people like to tell us what American shows they’ve seen. “I love Chuck Norris, he’s a great actor. And I love Beverly Hills 90210!” He started listing off the characters: “Brandon, Brenda, Dylan, Donna, I love them all, so good!” Then he told us there was one god who loves and accepts everyone and then he wished us a great stay in Kosovo.
Soon after, Molly and I walked into the main library in town to find the a section of the library called “The American Corner” where the public is invited to take free English classes, have discussions on American history and politics and learn about all things American.
As we left town the next day we pulled over at the intersection of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush boulevards, dedicated to the two American men who helped Kosovo become an independent country.