At the event I organized Tuesday, in front of hundreds of people, government employed, ambassadors and two famous tv channels, I said “Before we move on from the topic of kinder gardens, I would just like to challenge someone…”
“…I’ve heard that there is only one man in the world who has done construction work at both the Kremlin and The White House, and that that this man from your country. I’m obviously talking about Behgjet Pacolli. And I think if you can do construction work on both the Kremlin and The White House you can build kinder gardens in Kosovo. That’s why I would like to challenge Behget Paccolli to build 10 kinder gardens in Kosovo during 2020.”
Omg! People’s reactions. They looked so surprised. Even more than when I told them about how I wanted to throw blood on Chinese people outside the tv house in Stockholm. And then people laughed. And if you don’t know this guy, he is a major businessman who has built all over the world and also invested a lot in Kosovo. He is also First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs – for only one more maybe since the new government is being formed (hopefully) tomorrow.
Anyways, after the panel discussion I was interviewed by tv I brought up again and yesterday I had a meeting with Paccolli’s advisor. I told the whole story for him and we drank White Russian laughed so much about it. Because it’s funny, completely mad and best of all – it’s totally possible.
So now Pacolli’s advisor is going to set up with a meeting between us and my job (as I see it) will be to bring together the brains (the local NGOs and institutions) with the muscles (Pacolli’s big wallet and building skills) and if we could make this happen together it would be so cool. And it would bring more attention the feminist cause here, the schools would be great and it would result in a positive news about Kosovo.
I think that is the role for me here. The local activists here are the experts and my way of helping out can be more about bringing people together and tell amazing stories from Kosovo as a journalist. Actually, my first day in Kosovo I promised the Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj that I will promote Kosovo internationally and I’m really trying hard to be like an Albanian and keep my word.
So, Friday night I got into a fight at Proper Pizza. You see they made me two small pizzas for two people instead of one big pizza for two people and I completely lost it.
Then this Albanian guy jumped up from his chair and tried to solve the fight and I just started fighting with him too. Then I started fighting with my friend. Then I just fought with the whole place.
You see I have been having problem with women lately. It’s like this: The Albanian men can make me angry, scared and furious, but the women, they make me cry.
I just wanna say first that the women here are definitely the best thing about this country. They are the ones who hold this whole place together I feel, even if the get zero credit for it. They are the very reason I’m here and they are the ones that show me love every day.
This is an example; I was telling a girl I don’t know that I really liked her watch. She took it off and gave it to me. As a welcome to my country present. Can you believe it?
So of course, I knew even before here that my job as a feminist activist in the Balkans was going to be challenging. But I thought my problems on a personal level was going to be with the men. But I understood quite early on that my biggest challenge with this difficult job was going to be with the women.
The women here are the ones that has been here working with the feminist cause for decades. They know so much more about the challenges for women in Kosovo than me and it’s their long ongoing revolution that I’m now joining – and if I’m not doing it in a respectful way the local activists will not like me, I will fail completely and there will be no point in me being here in Kosovo.
So how to do my work here in the right way is actually one of the things I’ve been thinking about and discussed with people the most since coming here.
It has been felt so difficult and challenging. It has stressed me out, exhausted me and made me both confused and paranoid. And at the exact same time I have had these experienced with women that I’m not used to at all.
Like women not saying hello when I have said hi to them, or freezing me out, pretend like I don’t exist, or saying or writing bad things about me that hurts my feelings.
So, I have been so sad about it. And then I have wondered WHY. Why am I letting this affect me so much? Why do I become so sad? Why do I care?
One reason is definitely that there is a lot of competition here and I’m not used to it. Women here has such a little piece of the cake – which creates a bigger competition.
Then also because women are my biggest passion, my cause and my purpose. I can hear the angels sing and see the sky open when I have sex with a man, but there is nothing as spiritual and emotional for me as my relationships to women. So I want these relationships to always be good and when they are not, I’m hurting.
But here’s the thing, I’m not just a sensitive person. I’m sick too.
I almost never think about it, but it hit me yesterday when I was listening to an interview with a famous Swedish actor, Mikael Persbrandt, speaking about lithium and about being bipolar.
Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness that causes a person to have dramatic shifts in emotions, moods and energy. You live your life in cycles and you have episodes of extreme highs and extreme lows. It’s an illness with no cure and many people die from it by committing suicide.
Do you know the character Carrie Mattisson in the Netflix documentary “Homeland”. She’s a brilliant and super talented CIA agent and she’s also bipolar. And in the series you get to follow her difficult but also rewarding journey chasing terrorist while tackling being bipolar. I see myself so much in her. In her lows and highs. In her way of believing in her ideas. In her way of driving the car with the craziest jazz playing out loud. In her way of falling in love with a soldier.
I can write more about bipolar disorder in another post, but I just would like to mention it now because yesterday was the first time I really thought about my illness since I moved to Kosovo and it felt like such a big puzzle piece falling to place when it comes to understanding my own feelings and the sadness I have been trying to handle lately.
So yes, I have been sick for many years, but I was diagnosed and put on medication just a few years ago. I take 250 mg Quetiapine every night. The medicine has really stabilized me and it’s such a normal part of my daily routine that I don’t even think about it.
But yesterday I got really reminded. And it gave me so much grace and peace. I finally got reminded of why I react differently and, in many circumstances, so much stronger than other people. I live with bipolar disorder every day and even if it feels like a gift most of the times and even if my medicine has stabilized me a lot, it is a serious illness that from time to time really makes me suffer.
Anyways, I just felt like I wanted to share this bipolar thing and insight you all, both to fight the stigma around mental illness, but also for you to understand me better. However now I would really like to give this post a happy ending.
So when I calmed down at Proper Pizza I started noticing that this Albanian man who interfered the fight was actually so hot. I mean wow, his face. Looking at it I just wanted to feel him inside me.
So I asked if we could go home together. And lucky me, he said yes! So we went to his place and I was so tired of all the fighting and drunk so I fell asleep. But in the morning when we woke up we just started talking. Wow, he was so smart. So brilliant. And so funny. He made fun of Kosovo in the way you can only do if you’re from here and he just made me laugh so much.
And then I thought I could tell him about why I was fighting at the pizza place. That I wasn’t really angry, but hurt.
So I started telling him and it just felt so good. And he really listened and understood. So I just talked and talked and talked and talked. I sat there naked and just had the longest explanations of things while he was laying down in front of me smiling and joking. Then he took my painful experiences and turned them into the funniest jokes and we just laughed and laughed about it.
I can’t remember the last time a man gave me so much comfort. I mean I have many male friends here are great and they can make me feel so happy, but they are not my lovers. It’s not the same thing. And of course, my ex gave me great sex, but he didn’t have to comfort me like I needed comfort now.
So after hours of talking, hugging, laughing and just being close together he just suddenly had to go and visit some relatives. They do that a lot here and they take care of the old people too. Not like in Sweden where we just put them in a nursing home and forget all about them.
Anyways, started getting dressed and I really didn’t want him to leave so I got up and I straddled him, I looked him in the eyes and said “Please stay.”
The sun was shining on him as I pushed him down gently on his back and told him to take his shirt off. I undressed him. I leaned over him. I touched him. I kissed him. And his lips felt so good and soft. I just felt so happy about what he was going to do to me. What he was going to make me feel.
Then he stopped kissing me, looked me in the eyes and asked me if I was really sure of it. I said yes. Then he asked me again and I kissed him more and said yes.
A few seconds later I felt him entering me and as he did the angels started singing and the sky over the whole Balkans opened.
The light I experienced was brighter and bigger than the most explosive northern light in the Swedish winter. I could feel my whole body shiver.
He took my pain away.
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