During my stay in Kosovo I was blessed with the opportunity to venture to the small village of Brod, Kosovo - about 37 kilometres from the historical city of Prizren.
Easily this was one of the most challenging and telling days of my life as I struggled with my 'lost in translation' with no firm foundation to stand on feeling that had been present since I landed.
However, there have been so many opportunities to appreciate the kindness and courteous behavior of friends and strangers.
The level of hospitality I received from locals as I nervously entered a Serbian speaking Muslim community made me ashamed of my anxious mindset based on the stereotypes I had because of the nation's racial tensions.
From the moment we were on the road - my fellow journo and Albanian/Kosovar translator travelling companions and I were overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.
Starting from Prizren a local man drove his car and let us follow him to the city limits so we could get on our way.
A local man in the village of Brod helped us park in front of his home, assuring us that no one would bother our car and refused any form of payment for his troubles.
The local shopkeeper, previously a resident of Italy, gave us lovely chocolates to welcome us to the area and conversed with us in a mix of English/Italian.
Above and Beyond
Lost inside the narrow maze of streets inside of Brod, a local man and his darling granddaughter got into the car with us providing us with turn by turn directions until we reached the main road again. Our translator, who only spoke Albanian, couldn't understand the man's speech but our local navigator patiently and enthusiastically got us back on track to return to Prizren.
Our translator was a local Albanian speaking Kosovar whose previous stereotype of the Gorani people in Brod was that of 'savages' - the reality could not have been farther from the truth, she humbly accepted her own ignorance. This tiny village of 8,000 people hidden in the Sharr mountains is mostly likely isolated for months at a time in the winter lending to their strong community spirit and courteous curiosity of visitors.
I came to Kosovo for love and perspective and I have found so much of it here. My heart has been in a lot of pain as of late but sometimes we have to break in order to heal even stronger. The kindness of strangers and the generosity of friends in troubling times is a blessing unto itself.