Kosovo and the Kardashians

Last night, my friend Francesca had me over for dinner: she lives on my street, her roommate is a chef and I got to practise my Italian—score! Ismail baked a delicious meat-free lasagna and we ate in the living room while music played on TV. 

Ismail, the chef, has been in London for 12 years. Born and raised in what is now the Republic of Kosovo, he was studying economics when the Serbians started to close all the schools. His father sent him to Germany just before war broke out so that at least one member of the family would survive (thankfully, they all did). He hasn’t been home since, though he’s planning a visit, which he’s very anxious about.

He said he had really liked being in school and I asked if he ever thought about returning. He said he no longer has the energy that he once did, understandable since he works 12-hour days, six days a week in the kitchen. As we were talking, the music videos ceased and one of the Kardashian shows came on, ridiculously juxtaposing our conversation. “Well, Ismail, while your younger brother may have been disabled as he ran for his life from Serbian soldiers, what about Kim’s problems? She just wanted a quiet birthday and it turned into a club!” So surreal and embarrassing. I know several people who’ve had to flee their homes due to war and hearing their stories always puts things in perspective. Life can be brutally unfair and I’m incredibly grateful for all the opportunities I have been given and for how blessed my life has been so far.