What a day it has been! We left Wilson School yesterday for our training sites for the next 10 weeks. Our group was the first to be dropped off and we had the Director with us because the media had been invited to our reception. The people of the village wanted to show how the Macedonians and Albanians can work together. And they did a beautiful job of it. We had drinks and every kind of sweet that you can imagine. My family representative was the first to greet us. It is tradition to offer visitors bread and salt and so Melinda was holding the bread while her cousin was holding the salt.
The next task was to get our mountains of luggage from the assembly site to the home of our hosts. I’m not sure if my family has a car so another cousin transported me and my stuff along with Melinda to her house. Imagine my surprise when we open the gate and there is a cow.
The household consists of (in addition to the cow), two daughters–both engaged to be married next summer, one 18 year old son who is trying to decide what to do with his life, two wives, a rabbit and a chicken.
A word of explanation about the two wives. Wife number one was apparently unable to have children and so the husband (now deceased) took a second wife who bore him the three children. Wife #2 is much younger than #1. #1 is about 75 or so and #2 is around 52. This is after all a muslim community and multiple wives are not uncommon.
The house is located directly across the street from the place where I will have my classes so there is no chance I will get lost going home. Our home stay person is supposed to walk us to school but has no obligation to pick us up. My roommates and I were plotting our best Hansel and Gretel strategy or else pinning notes to our clothes saying , “Return to………..” At least three of us are very close to the school and each other.
Dinner last evening was delicious but they have decided that I eat nothing! I had a bowl of bean soup, a very large bowl of cabbage slaw, tomatoes and bread. Believe me, it was a ton of food! For breakfast this morning, I had what look like poblano peppers sautéed in oil, bread, cheese and tea. She kept putting more peppers on my plate. I thought I would burst. And the peppers still contained many of the seeds. They were not spicy and were quite tasty, but how many peppers can one person eat? Especially for breakfast. They salt food here very heavily and that will keep me drinking water. And speaking of the water…..it is very drinkable.
Other issues: My bathroom consists of a toilet. That’s it! There is no hot water. (oops, yes there is.) In order to shower or brush my teeth, l must go downstairs. I have postponed my shower until tomorrow. I will brave it then. Electricity is very expensive and therefore, there are no clothes dryers here. Everything gets hung on the line and all laundry and heavy electrical usage is done on the weekends as the rates are significantly lower then. The internet is very slow here so I doubt that there will be many opportunities for Skype or Facetime but we shall see. The mosque is about 100 yards from the house and I am very aware of when there is a call to prayer. Right now that is a bit of a novelty but we shall see how that impacts my daily life over the next 10 or so weeks.