That was interesting

Well, the snow finally came and came and came. We got about 10 inches.  Unlike many other places in the world, there were no pick-ups with snow blades mounted on the front to clear roads, driveways, parking lots etc. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see a single device designed to remove snow.  Well, I did see a real snow shovel but only one! The rest of the shovels were just that–shovels which I think of as being designed to dig holes. Add to this mix, frigid temperatures and you have the potential for all kinds of problems. Problems like–no power for 14 hours and no water for six hours.  Fortunately we have a wood stove in one of the family rooms which kept us nice and warm and allowed us to cook dinner and make tea throughout the day. It also required that we all stay together in one space. Makes it hard to do anything productive–especially with a two year old around.

But since there were only two days of school left in the term, I figured I should make it into school which is about 1.5 km away. I had the 9th graders final test of the marking period and it needed to be posted to the red book. The buses aren’t running–apparently one slid off the road, so Faton volunteered to take me to school. I’m met at the gates by about five students. They inform me that no one is there. “No one?” Well, a couple of teachers and some students. So I went on in, hoping that my co-teacher was in attendance. Nope! And the Ministry of Education does not permit PCV’s to be in the classroom on their own. Well, perhaps she will be here shortly. I am a bit early. She did not show and the director (who happens to be my host family father’s twin brother–identical twin!) indicated that she wouldn’t be coming in because of the bus situation. Okay, let me call Faton and ask him to come pick me up. Oops, my phone is now down. It has a message saying “немате кредит.” I have no credit. And no way to get any since there is no power for the entire length of the valley we are nestled in. There is no such thing as a phone in the school either.  Hmmmm. Guess I will have to walk. And walk I did. Yes, I was cold by the time I got home but I had dressed appropriately. Had long silk underwear on, had my Canadian mukluks with thermal foot liners on, gloves plus mittens, my hat and my trusty loden coat. The road was a bit icy but the traffic that was traveling the road was moving slowly and many of those vehicles had chains on. I didn’t have a single near miss! Once I saw the minaret for the mosque, I knew I was just about home. But I had one last obstacle to overcome–getting the gate open. It is generally bolted closed to keep strangers out.  Normally, I just ring the bell to have someone come open it. No electricity=no bell.  Bang on the gate, bang on it some more and some more.  Finally Faton came out and opened the gate. He had gotten a call from a friend at the store across the street telling him I was outside banging on the gate! Sound does not carry in these houses made of brick.

Dinner was potatoes baked in the wood stove and then a glass (not a cup) of ruski tea after that. In order to get the wood stove to cooking temperature, a good bit of wood was added which really upped the temperature in the family room. I was taking off sweaters it was so warm. Then for about two hours we had flashes of electricity  for a few seconds and then it was gone. Finally at about 8 PM the lights came on for good and the water came back on  about half an hour after that. My room was like an ice box and the bed was a bit chilly but it soon warmed up and I was able to get a good night’s sleep. So now I just have to survive the bitter cold.  We have minus temperatures the rest of this week (that’s celsius scale temps) and then we should move back on to the other side of freezing. Maybe that will melt the snow! Good thing I’m on winter break and can stay inside!

Pasta Sauce Suicide Saga and other Christmas Tales

Christmas Day. A busy agenda planned. No time to think about people in the states and what they might be doing.  Doesn’t matter–I’m not there and made the choice to be here. So what kind of new memories can I make for Christmas Day Macedonian style? Well, first of all, I gave a test to the 9th graders. What a bunch of con artists! And I love them to death!  Then as I was leaving the school I was mobbed by my students and hugged and kissed to the point that they almost knocked me over a couple of times.  Yeah, this is why I teach!

We had a busy day planned in Skopje and it started by getting a ride into Saraj to catch a bus that we don’t normally get to ride–a double decker! We stayed on the lower level. Okay, into Skopje and let’s see if we can find the pasta place. Sure enough? Right where I remembered it.  Got five sheets of pasta–probably way too much but better to have too much than not enough. So after some discussion it was decided we would head for the book store, the RamStore, the burrito place and then pick up Katie and Susie at the Corner for coffee and pastry.

First of all, traffic was being diverted–another motorcade. That meant the bus took an alternate route and we had to re-orient ourselves to find the bookstore and the RamStore. After asking about five or six people, we were on the right track. There was RamStore and the book store was right across the street.  Streets are labeled mysteriously–street names appear about half way down the block on a fence.  So knowing a street address around here doesn’t usually help. It turns out that the book store is no longer a distributor for the book we need. Strike 1! Let’s hit the RamStore.  I need a number of items to make my lasagna besides noodles. I find Parmesan but no mozzarella or ricotta. I did find some good pasta sauce–Barilla! So I bought four jars of it. We roamed around and also picked up a bag of bagel chips, a jar of Italian Seasoning and a lovely little bottle of Cabernet. It’s a little over 1000 MKD. Not bad. We will see about getting the rest of the ingredients at the Saraj market on our way home.

Hey, I’m getting hungry. Let’s go find the burrito place. I think I’ll have the “guacamole burrito.” It comes with guacamole (duh), chicken, corn relish, spanish rice, chili sauce and something else for which I do not have a name–a spicy mayonnaise .  Set our bags on the counter behind us. CRASH! Damn! Our bag has just performed a suicide plunge and two of the bottles of sauce are given last rites and sent to the pasta sauce burial ground.  Well, everything else is in pretty good shape so we set the bag back up on the counter in a more secure place. Just as we are finishing, this blasted bag takes another suicide plunge! Now the other two jars are history as is the spice bottle. However, the wine having far more intelligence than these other glass containers has somehow managed to survive. And look at this, the bagel chips are ripped open and smashed. We are batting one thousand. The afternoon can do nothing but get better and it most assuredly does.

We head over to the corner and pick up Susie and Katie and head for Ooo-La-La. A wonderful French bakery. Susie and Katie both ordered the pancakes with nutella and raspberry sauce. Oh, heavenly goddesses. I have a new favorite.  After we make sure Susie can find her bus to get home, we decide to roam around Macedonian Square and enjoy the festivities. This really looks like Christmas–except for the fact that there are at least six Santa’s roaming around and at least one of them has his top on backwards!  The stripe is running down the back. (He’s called Baba Dimer here) We IMG_0519 IMG_0518 IMG_0516know that as soon as we turn the corner to Saraj, the decorations are virtually non-existent. And actually we don’t mind.  It is alright with us.

When we finally arrive in Saraj, we are able to get the ingredients I will need to make my lasagna and decide to call it a day and grab a taxi home. No more suicide leaps for my sauce! And once I got home, Elsa was hugging and kissing on me.  She is such a sweetheart.  Then we had a lovely chat with Nazifete and Haxhbi via Skype and she keeps threatening me with being gone for tre muaj! She better not! I miss her! (and of course, her amazing bread) So now I am ready to finish out my week at school tomorrow and then stay snuggled in for the 5-45 cm of snow we are supposed to get. Not sure how much we will actually get. They keep changing the prediction. Guess we just have to wait and see! There’s really nothing you can do about the weather except to survive it.

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m in Macedonia!

And I’m working!  I haven’t worked on Christmas Eve for many years–at least not for the whole day.  And technically I work for the whole day today except that my day starts at 10.40 and ends at 13.30. Not a bad day if I say so myself.  Then I will head into Skopje with my partner in crime to do a little window shopping, have a spiced wine and then have a lovely Italian dinner.

Every day here is like opening another cabinet door and finding new treasures. Yesterday I experienced traffic at a standstill while the Turkish Prime Minister was escorted through town and then saw the road rage that the bus driver was feeling as he almost ran over a police man. The interesting thing about the motorcade is that it seemed to make just a big loop through town. So it held up traffic twice within an hour. And I got to see one of the three helicopters that Macedonia owns flying along the route.

Then I found out where the fresh pasta shop is here in town.  It is a store of absolutely nothing but pasta. And the best part? I can buy freshly made pasta any day of the week except Monday there.  They make lasagne daily and it is in whole sheets not strips of noodles so that certainly makes it easier to layer. Now I have to find the ricotta cheese. Should not be too hard.  Do you see lasagne in my near future?  I do! Possibly as soon as this weekend!

The last couple of days have been gloriously sunny but according to our weather forecasts we should have 5 – 10 cm of snow this weekend. I had hoped to go to Dobroshtë this weekend but I’m not sure I want to be traveling rural roads in the snow. I have no experience with snow here yet so will probably postpone it.

And I bought a printer! Yes, it is just an inkjet. I will not be  printing a lot and it is so much easier when I am writing a test to have a printer rather than have someone have to decipher my chicken scratch. And the nicest part is that it only cost 3000 denar. Have to check out the price of the cartridges–probably cost as much as the printer! Oh well! The printer will be a gift to someone when I leave if it holds up that long.

Off to another day of discovery!  Happy Holidays everyone! christmas-holly-clipart-holly_corner_large

Оревокршачка

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The Bolshoi Theater

Welcome to the Bolshoi! It is beautiful, it is amazing and it is all on my movie screen! The theater is just breathtaking. Much as the Metropolitan Opera does live HD broadcasts, so does the Bolshoi! And I went to see the Nutcracker (Cascanueces in Spanish) in all of its glory. It included some commentary and glimpses of the performers warming up before the program, backstage interviews between acts and glimpses all around the theater.  I was absolutely enthralled!  Some differences from other productions I have seen: Clara isn’t Clara–she is Marie. Curtain calls were done after both acts. Mother Ginger did not appear at all. Instead the dance was done by all the sweets. And the Russian dancers did not do the traditional leg kick dance. And still it was amazing. The person that went with me had never seen the Nutcracker and she was just over the moon when it was done. Truly magical. One of my greatest joys in life is introducing people to the beauty and elegance of this wonderful ballet.

Even more magical is that they will perform again in January! Not the Nutcracker but perhaps the most beautiful ballet of all time: Swan Lake! Guess who will be there for that one? You bet your sweet bippy! I may live out in the sticks but I do have all the wonderful advantages of living right next to a big city and the serenity that comes with living in the country.

Gëzuar ditën e Krishtlindjeve

I’ve spent a number of Christmases away from family. It is nothing new for me.  I had a number of years when my children left to spend the day with their father, a Christmas in Germany entirely by myself, a tinsel filled Christmas in Korea and when my children left home it just didn’t seem to make much sense to do anything for the holiday as they were celebrating  with their new loved ones and perhaps new families. So living in a community where Christmas is not celebrated will be a piece of cake for me.

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Christmas Market (not in MK)

Yes, you heard that right–where Christmas is not celebrated.  I live and work in an Albanian community that is also about 99% Muslim. They don’t celebrate Christmas at all. The only thing “celebrated” is “New” New Year and “Old” New Year. That is traditionally done by cleaning the house from top to bottom and perhaps setting off some fireworks. We work right up until 31 December and then take three weeks off for winter break. However, the teachers still have to show up at school if only for 15 minutes each day. They will come in and have a cup of coffee and then leave. There are no decorations here in the villages. In Skopje there are some decorations  and Christmas music plays in anticipation of Orthodox Christmas on 7 January. The mall is very festive but I have yet to see a real Christmas tree or a Christmas tree lot.

A couple of friends and I have a few holiday activities planned. The Bolshoi Ballet is broadcasting a live stream of The Nutcracker at a theater tomorrow. That will be an amazing experience. May be the only way I ever get to see the Bolshoi perform.  Then Christmas Eve we are going out to dinner at my favorite little Italian place. Christmas Day after work we are going out for coffee at a yet undetermined location. Some of the younger volunteers are having a Christmas party this weekend but I don’t plan to attend. Sleeping on someone’s floor is not my idea of a relaxing way to spend the night after people have had more to drink and eat than they should. I’ll stay home and read.

My host family parents have taken off for Switzerland for three weeks to visit Nazifete’s brother. I understand she comes back with a suitcase full of chocolate when she does this. And since she is using my middle size suitcase I would imagine it will be a lot of chocolate! But that leaves me and four young adults plus a two year old in the house. Hopefully they will not leave any messes around the house. Having observed them in action, I don’t think they will but one never knows. They jokingly got me an apron when they went shopping last night (it was actually a promotional give away) for when I have to cook for this crew. Nazifete keeps joking that they are going to be gone three months. I told her if she does that, after a month I’m going to Switzerland and bringing her back home.

So Christmas will come and go unmarked by any of the extravagance that we Americans ascribe to the holiday. It will be a day like any other day of the week.  I’m living in an Albanian community, working in an Albanian school and thus will observe the day the way Albanians do–by doing what I do every other day of the week.

Public Transportation

Peace Corps Volunteers are not permitted to drive a vehicle or ride on a motorcycle or scooter while serving. It is grounds for administrative separation.  That leaves us with limited options: hope for a ride with a co-worker or family member, taxi or public  (i.e. public bus) transportation.  I have not seen a single vehicle parked at my school other than the kombi which transports kids to school and the occasional police car investigating the theft of our computers, so that eliminates the possibility of a ride with a co-worker. The family vehicle is used by the eldest son to get to his workplace which is not serviced by a bus and for the occasional social visits. That leaves me with taxi or bus!  Taxi from the city is about ten dollars and the bus is about seventy five cents.  As a volunteer, you know which option I am going to select–the bus.

Buses run about once an hour on weekdays out to my village or into the city.  On Thursday, I have to leave around 15.00 to go to the store to buy food for my cooking demonstration at 18.00 and to hopefully get a bite to eat. This past Thursday was no different.  Beverly met me at the school and we walked out to the bus stop and boarded the bus.  It wasn’t packed but there was not an overabundance of seats so we ended up in those seats in the very back of the bus.  I think all the traffic along the road that runs through the villages to Saraj likes to compete with the traffic on the adjacent freeway. So we were moving along at a fairly fast pace when a slow moving vehicle pulled in front of the bus. He slammed on his brakes and it was all I could do to keep from falling off my seat and flat on the floor of the bus.  I managed, but in the process twisted my hip. Ouch!  The rest of the trip was remarkably uneventful but I continued to hold onto my seat for dear life.  A face plant on a city bus is so unattractive!

Red Bus
Double long bus

American Corner was a wonderful event.  We had about 20 people for our sandwich salads event.  We made egg salad, tuna salad and chicken salad, all with locally available ingredients.  Yes, I could even get cranberries and curry powder for my chicken salad.  However, the evenings there are always cut short by the necessity of catching a bus at 19.00. If we don’t catch that one, the frequency has now been reduced to every two hours and we would have to hang out until 21.00–not an option for an early to bed person. Unfortunately for us, this particular bus is also the one that is carrying all the afternoon shift high school students home for the day. It is packed! It is one of those double long buses that has the flexible center so you can imagine how many people are on this bus.  The students always make sure that any “older” people riding the bus has a seat and for that I am grateful. They can be so polite at times. And then there was Thursday evening!  I did get a seat but I was surrounded by a group of young males who were behaving quite poorly. Their actions were not typical of the students I have seen in the past. They were desperately seeking attention in any way they could get it.  They were offering marriage proposals to me, behaving in a crude manner and wanting me to talk on their cellular phones. Additionally as I was leaving the bus, one of them grabbed at my hat and another grabbed my arm. I did have one young lady lean over and apologize to me for their behavior but it was still a very unpleasant trip.  This being said, I think in the future, I will splurge and take the taxi home from American Corner. It will be much less stressful. I will continue to utilize the bus in other instances but I just don’t want the additional stress that riding the 19.00  engenders.

Food!

Oh the things I have eaten and am learning to eat!  The first thing I learned about eating in Macedonia, is that it is done differently.  First of all, there generally are not three meals a day.  You eat a late breakfast and an early dinner.  That works just fine for me.  Breakfast around 9.30 and lunch/dinner at about 16.30. If you are hungry later in the day you can eat whatever was leftover from the previous two meals. This works well with my work schedule.  Eat before I leave for work (my school day starts around 10.30) and eat a couple of hours after I come home (around 14.30). It gives the meal plenty of time to digest before I head for bed!

Now, what do we eat? Well it is a vegetable and carb heavy diet. However, i do get a little more meat here than I did at my last house.  The vegetables tend to consist of raw cabbage, tomatoes and peppers.  Peppers are done in many ways: fried, stuffed, minced, raw……and of course as ajvar (pronounced eye-var), the most delicious tangy pepper spread ever put on a piece of bread. That brings us to bread. I have never eaten so much bread in so many different forms in my life.  All of it is made here at the house, as well! Every single day we have freshly made homemade bread! Sometimes it is just done as a loaf or as it was done today, as a coil of dough wound into a spiral and baked like that. Oh heavenly delight–and that was the extent of the meal–bukë! Then there is the beverage of choice–yogurt. Has taken me a while to adjust to drinking my yogurt but I now do it as the locals do. Another delicacy that I could eat until it comes out of my ears is dolma–stuffed grape leaves. Oh, goodness!

Dining out is an option rarely exercised by families.  I have grabbed a burger or a sandwich when I’m out but my favorite item to order is a shopska salata. I’m  figuring out what the substitute for the cheese will be in the states so I can feature it prominently in my meals. That salad is enough to make a meal by itself. Interestingly enough, a salad or two is usually put on the table and everyone just digs in and eats from the serving plate.  So don’t surprised when a fork is stabbed into a salad that you thought was yours! Share and share alike!

There are many ethnic restaurants here in Skopje–Thai, Sushi, Mexican, Italian, Turkish etc. I have found my Italian restaurant of choice.  Good cheap wine and a freshly made tortellini with a cream sauce made with gorgonzola and walnuts for under 300 denari. And no tip need be left! You just can’t eat better than that.

The market features so many fresh fruits and vegetables that it isn’t funny. I think the only thing I haven’t seen is artichokes and that is probably because I wasn’t looking for them.  The mandarins I currently have in my room are delicious, juicy and seedless. So never any need to buy your produce at the store–just go to the пазар–or one the many small markets all over the city! The old пазар is the largest one in the Balkans. Just watch your purse/wallet and you will have a multi sensory experience and want to go back multiple times.

TW3 (That Was The Week That Was)

Jimi said it best….Are You Experienced? Well, if I wasn’t I am now! My inauspicious first day turned into a truly awesome week in many ways.  And I don’t even know where to begin! Wednesday was “Tree Day” so there was no school for me. It was a day when students come to the school to help clean it up and plant trees. They also managed to patch up the hole in the ceiling quite nicely.  I did find out that the school was financed (in part) and built by my host family father and his twin brother along with a number of other prominent citizens a number of years ago. So they have a very vested interest in maintaining the school in operating condition.

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Phillip II
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Olympia Statue (Alexander’s mother)
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Standing in the middle of Stone Bridge built in the 15th Century

So instead of going to school on Wednesday, I went into Skopje and did shopping for our cooking class and then got a wonderful tour of the old Turkish Bazaar. What a delight that was. I actually found my жалфија (sage) and a beautiful duvet cover and pillow cover for my new granddaughter to be born in March. (not terribly practical but beautiful none the less). It was sensory overload going through there. I don’t think there is anything in the world you can’t find in this bazaar if you look hard enough. When we came out on the other side of it, we were in the Center of town and right next to a shop specializing in antiques and…..stamps! Cross the Stone Bridge and right in the center of town is a wonderful mall that also happens to have a French bakery.  Heavenly and extremely tasty pastries. Needless to say I was exhausted upon my return home.

Melting Snowmen
They are a couple!

I am the deputy warden for the Skopje area of Macedonia (I will be the senior warden next year). My responsibilities lie primarily in the area of monitoring what is happening locally and helping in the case of an emergency. To that end, I had to have training in what exactly is expected of me.  So Thursday that is exactly what I did–go into the Peace Corps office and get trained. After that was over, I went to the City Mall, purchased a 5 m. long extension cord and then headed off to the American Corner for a baking session. My fellow volunteer met me there. Interestingly enough, another brand new PC volunteer was there to volunteer her services as well. She is going to do a book group for young adults. We got set up for our cookie decorating session that night and waited for the eager participants to show up. They had a wonderful time and again, I arrived home exhausted.  But not before I had agreed to do some kind of activity with a group of 11 year olds on Saturday morning at the Corner.

Friday I was back in school and immediately thrust into a class. As PCV’s we are never supposed to have a class all  to ourselves. Well, not only did I have a class but it was Macedonian class! There is no such thing as a substitute teacher here.  So it is either a warm body at the teacher’s table or leave the kids to their own devices for 40 minutes. And apparently the Macedonian teacher has been out for two months! Oy vey!  And they were 9th graders! Fortunately we only had about 10 minutes until I was rescued.  However, after that, I had another class all my own but this time it was an English class of 6th graders who were the most lovable and adoring students you could ask for.  Two sets of twins in the class were adorable. Absolutely had a ball and knew that this is going to be an amazing two years!

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Rudolph
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Dasher? or Dancer?

Now my Boy Scout training has to kick in figure out something to do with a bunch of students on Saturday morning. I know–let’s focus on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Teach them the song, tell them the story and then we will make pictures of reindeer tracing a foot for the face and our hands for antlers. Color, decorate and share and voila! I’m done! Another fun day at the corner. And did I mention how close the Corner is to the bazaar and City Center?

I did my first business negotiation in the bazaar. Got a bunch of stamps from Macedonia for 1800 denari. The proprietor originally wanted 2400 but I told him I just could’t afford that so we negotiated until we got to 1800 denari. Felt quite pleased with myself. I probably over paid but still I negotiated!  And I made a friend in the process. He told me to come back another time and look at more of his stamps.

Monday is a holiday so I have another day to recover from my busy week. It is St. Clement of Ohrid Day. Then on Tuesday it is back to school and more adventures in navigating the Macedonian School System, Albanian Style. I find that I have a number of very interesting discussions with my host family about the disparity in how the government deals with Albanian vs. Macedonian Schools. A number of years ago when the Albanians demanded a voice in the government they were also given the right to have schools that were  taught in Albanian. So they in effect have their own school system but it still falls under the jurisdiction of the Macedonian Ministry of Education.

Old World Language Families
Language Tree

And speaking of Albanian/Shqip language.  I have been looking at the language tree of Indo-European languages and it appears that Albanian is on a  branch all of its own as is Armenian (one of the other country choices I had) . I think this picture is fascinating whether you are a linguist or not.  It really says a lot about how we all sort of speak the same language.

 

 

An (in)auspicious start at Shkolla Fillore Emin Duraku

Okay. It’s finally here.  My chance to save the world! My chance to make the changes! My chance to be the most amazing teacher on the face of the earth! Or not.

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Broken ceiling at Shkolla Emin Duraku.

My morning started fairly routinely: getting up, getting a shower, brushing my teeth, fixing my own breakfast etc.  But before I can go to school, I must go to the police station in Skopje to register my new place of residence.  I thought I was going to have to call for reinforcements as I hadn’t had the police in Теарце sign off on my residence permit. Peace Corps told us to not worry about it–our departing host families would take care of it.  Well, the very nice police officer decided to call Теарце instead of sending me back there and got me signed out of Dobroshtë and into Skopje. Okay. Now it is time for school. When we arrived at the school, there was a large Police van parked in the lot.  Maybe officer friendly is giving a talk. As we walked in, everyone was greeting us and telling us we could not go into the second (non-smoking) teachers’ lounge. Why?  Well when we got to the door we saw–a large piece of the ceiling was lying on the floor! Hmmmm. This doesn’t appear like it was a simple ceiling collapse–the boards are splintered and that doesn’t look like wet ceiling tiles.  That might explain why three of Skopje’s finest are here investigating. Turns out that someone broke into the school, stole the computers and apparently some money that was in the school to buy paint.  I listened to the computer teacher telling the lead investigator that they stole just the CPU’s, not the mice or monitors.( I think they were actually servers because there were only two of them for the whole school.) Okay, so none of the teachers can get their materials out of their lockers and we are all playing it on a wing and a prayer today.

As much as I said I didn’t want to have to use Turkish toilets which are in use at my school, I found that a stop in one was going to become necessary before I went into class.  So I grabbed my purse, which had my own TP in it, and marched down to the female bathroom–kids and adults share it. Opened the stall door, locked the stall door, hung my purse around my neck and took care of my business. Okay, open door and exit. Ummm. I can’t get the door unlocked. Let me lean against it. Nope, that doesn’t work. Let me shake it. Doesn’t work either. Crap! I don’t want to have to scream on my first day of school. Oh, wait! I have a leather-man tool in my purse.  Whip out the plier part and apply directly to the lock and turn it. Hallelujah! It worked. Calmly put tool away and walked to class. Act like nothing happened. I’m cool–yeah, I’m cool!

I also found out that there is a team of two men that wheel around the school with wood in a wheel barrow and  stoke the fires–that’s one job I won’t have to do! Remember this place does not have central heat–wood burning stoves in each classroom. Can you say rural? Definitely a rural community!

Now it is time to go home.  Hmmm. The bus should be here any moment. Sure enough–there it is. Packed to the gills. Good thing I only have to go one stop. Climb off–cross the street and I am home from my first day of school. Whew! What a day! My bonus for the day?  My soon to depart colleague has scanned and copied all of the books, audios, etc. for me and they are waiting for me to drop them into my Drop Box.  Now I have electronic versions of everything I have to use in the classroom. I can prepare for the next day’s lessons easily.

Oh and if any of you are inclined to find me on Google Maps, here are the coordinates.:  41.983901, 21.270034. You can just open google maps and put that in and it will show where I am.  (Pick satellite view) Should have a pin directly on the house! Ta da!

And thus ends Eileen’s first full day as a working Peace Corps Volunteer!