Here I am a foreigner. I am an expat [...] even though I have lived here, now it’s been five years, I have learned the language [...] My partner is from here [...] And I don’t see myself as an expat or as a foreigner, I always find the word expat charged and loaded with status and privileges [...] especially here in Kosovo, where these is such a big international community [...] I often get asked here, ‘Do you work in EULEX?’ or, ‘Do you work in KFOR?” It’s either one or the other. They never think that I might work in a civil society organization [...]
And that also comes with ideology, because these institutions have policies or have implemented work here that has some consequences or, and did or not fulfill the expectations of society here. So we’re coming back to how I feel here [...] I always feel that I must be careful because I’m not seen as a person from here [...] And I always think, if people know me, they, they will understand what I’m trying to do and they will not see it as a, or I hope they will not see it as something, as a patronizing approach. Or as a foreigner trying to tell them how things work, ‘Because she is a foreigner, in her country things are different, things work and she can…’ No, actually, in my country things don’t work that well either (laughs).
Cristina Marí was born in Ibiza, Spain, in September 1989. She studied journalism in Madrid, Bucharest, and Utrecht. She first came to Kosovo on a backpacking trip, then she came back for an internship at Kosovo 2.0. where she is now working as a program manager. She is currently living in Pristina.