(Well for starters, they are called Kosovars, although we rather liked our first guess.)
Last night my roommates and I threw a dinner party for 7 young professionals from Kosovo who are here for 3 weeks participating in a State Department exchange program. Our friend Katie coordinated the program and while we didn’t think we could provide housing for someone for 3 weeks, we most certainly felt we could host half the group for a dinner party.
We were kind of right.
Turns out, there’s nothing like a dinner party for 13 people to make you realize you don’t have 13 of anything, including plates, steak knives, plastic cups, chairs… (We thought surely – surely – the 3 guys in the apartment upstairs would let us borrow a few chairs…yeah…they don’t have a single chair in their entire apartment that’s not a beanbag. Boys.)
Anyway, eventually we got to the “what do you do for work?” conversation. This conversation typically goes 1 of 2 ways for me. With Americans it is a pat on the back. With foreigners it is a slap in the face.
Let’s be honest: football rules American sports. The number of people who could correctly pick Mel Kiper out of a lineup proves that. But outside the States…well, they don’t play it, so why would they care about it? Rugby-lovers think it’s stupid, and soccer-lovers think we’re stupid. I learned this the hard way in Africa as I desperately mimicked dropping back for a pass and staring off into the imagined distance with my throwing arm cocked (and I must say, my imaginary spirals are heads and tails better than my real life ones). “Chee-cah-go Bools!” someone would yell. Eh, yeah, well…close enough.
So last night, when they asked what I do, a gave a big gusty sigh and launched into my feeble talk-it-through-while-miming shpiel.
“Ah, like Jerry Maguire?” asked Haroina. “Oh!” I replied…shocked in my tracks, “well – actually, yeah!”
“And there was that TV show about a sports agent too,” she continued.
“Oh…yeah, you’re right. I don’t even get HBO…”
We then proceeded to spend 15 minutes listing Jim Belushi movies (because he’s Albanian). Did I secretly think no one outside of North America watches movies? How is it I never seem to use these 2 ready-made super easy explanations for my job?
Well, lesson learned. In the future I will use it in tandem with my 3-step drop and fake spiral.