Thursday, April 19, 2012

We're Going To ...

Pristina, Kosovo!

Congratulations to our winner, MK, who blogs over at The More ... The Mery-er! You should have received your gift card in your email account already. For those who want to know, we had 14 guessers, 10 of whom came up with the correct answer. The first correct answer came on clue #3. There were a total of 70 entries in the drawing, and I used to pick the winning entry.

Now for those complete and total nerds (like me), here's a little explanation/elaboration on the clues.

Clue 1: We'll actually have winter again! With snow! But we'll also have warm-to-hot, dry summers.

Wikipedia describes Pristina's climate as a "humid continental climate with very warm summers and cold and often snowy winters." The average high temperature ranges from 37 degrees Fahrenheit in January to 82 degrees Fahrenheit in August, with average lows from 23 to 57. The average number of days with precipitation ranges from 4 in March to 13 in both April and May.

Clue 2: I'll still be in the religious minority; only about 10% of the population is Christian.

Approximately 90% of the population is Muslim, again according to Wikipedia. Most of the population is ethnic Albanian, and they overwhelmingly are Muslim. Around 10% of the population is Serbian, overwhelmingly Christian. I guess I'll be hearing those calls to prayer again!

Clue 3: We'll be living in yet another poor country. Almost half of the population is unemployed, and the average per capita income is around $6,500/year.

That figure comes from the CIA's Kosovo page in The World Factbook. This average income is the lowest in Europe. Approximately 45% of Kosovans (to choose a language-neutral term; the locals call themselves Kosovars or Kosovacs, depending on their language) are unemployed.

Clue 4: As of 2010, the country boasted only 8 airports, 4 of them with paved runways.

This number also comes courtesy of The World Factbook's Kosovo page. I'm not sure where all of them are located. Wikipedia lists only three: Pristina International Airport, Dakovica Airport, and Batlava-Donja Penduha Airfield.

Clue 5: It'll be our smallest capital city yet. The population is only 10% the size of Phnom Penh's.

Pristina has a population of around 200,000 (source: Wikipedia). Phnom Penh has a population of over 2 million (source: Wikipedia).

Clue 6: The country has two official languages. If you use the wrong one in the wrong area, you may find yourself in trouble!

According to The World Factbook and the Department of State's Kosovo page, Kosovo has two official languages--Albanian and Serbian. Bosnian, Turkish, and Roma also are spoken. Blogger MTCowgirl, an American working with the UN in Pristina, says, "Now, in the beginning, the UN suggested that you don’t learn any of the local language…but learning some simple things can help…as long as you know how when to use your knowledge." Now, she doesn't actually say that you could find yourself in trouble for using the wrong language in the wrong place, but ... why else would the UN suggest that their workers not learn the local languages? She also suggests that we not use our thumb and first two fingers to signal the number 3 (as I became accustomed to doing when I started learning American Sign Language), in order to avoid inadvertently signalling "Serbian Victory."

Clue 7: Once I move there, I will have lived on a total of four continents.

I grew up in North America, then lived in northern Africa for three years (although with the Middle East being its own distinct area, many people don't think about the fact that Egypt is, in fact, on the continent of Africa). By the time I leave Cambodia, I will have lived in Asia for two years. Kosovo is located in the Balkans, a part of eastern Europe--although I have to admit that I had to look it up to know for certain whether the Balkans are considered eastern Europe or Western Asia! 

Clue 8: This country was at war even more recently than Cambodia! It's one of the newest countries in the world, recognized by some--but not yet all--of its neighbors.

I'm not going to go into the whole long story, but I assume that most of my readers have heard of Kosovo as a war zone. Kosovo was a province of Serbia in Yugoslavia from the end of World War II. In the 1980s, Kosovan Albanians began calling for independence. Slobodan Milosevic responded by revoking Kosovo's relatively autonomous status. Kosovan independence was declared in 1991, and Milosevic engaged in a brutal campaign against Kosovan Albanians. In 1999, Kosovo was placed under the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). On 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo an independent country. Over 85 countries have recognized Kosovo as an independent nation, including the United States, but Serbia has not (source for all of the preceding historical information: The World Factbook). Apparently, Serbia has not relinquished its perceived sovereignty over Kosovo, and currently is planning for local municipal elections to be held in northern Kosovo (source: MTCowgirl).

Clue 9: It's a small country, not quite 11,000 square kilometers. The whole country has about as many people living in it as Phnom Penh, our current city!

Kosovo comprises an area of 10,887 square kilometers (or around 4,211 square miles) and its population consists of approximately 1.8 million (The World Factbook). As mentioned earlier, Phnom Penh is home to upwards of 2 million. Kosovo is slightly smaller than the American state of Connecticut, which has an area of 5,544 square miles (source: Netstate). Although Kosovo's land area is approximately 75% of Connecticut's, it has only half as many people--Connecticut had a population of almost 3.6 million as of July 2011 (source: Google, using information from the U. S. Census Bureau).

Clue 10: The name of the capital city rhymes with a popular feminine English name.

The capital of Kosovo is Pristina. Change the "P" to a "K" for Kristina, or as it more commonly is spelled, Christina.

There you have it. I hope you enjoyed this foray into the land of random information about Kosovo!


  1. :-D Thank you! And I love the way you did this announcement (the whole clue's thing). Was fun... and interesting!

  2. You're welcome! Now ... to go turn comment moderation back off ...

  3. I feel good just knowing I guessed the correct city :-) I bet it will be really interesting living in Kosovo! So jealous of the places you've gotten to live (and will in the future)!

  4. Well, that was a fun way to announce it! I hope you can continue loving Cambodia until the day you move to Kosovo and start loving it! :) FOUR continents! So cool!


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