School Daze

We are back at school and have been for a couple of weeks but nothing is set in concrete yet. The first couple of days there were no schedules and so I really didn’t know where to be or what to do. We worked on cleaning up the teacher’s lounge and killing flies. I’m getting pretty good at that! Just when we finally got a schedule, the teachers decided to take a trip to Albania and so our first weekend of school ended up being four days long. They cancelled school on Monday and Tuesday was a national holiday so after being off for almost three months, we had a four day weekend. Ah, but we had to pay for that! We had a full day of school on Saturday. And amazingly most of the students showed up! And then we received a new revised schedule. Hopefully this is the last revision!

And, oh, the controversy I caused! Since I had to be at school on Saturday by 10 AM and the buses run at 9 AM and 11 AM, I decided to walk to school. It is a little over a mile. Now, there are no sidewalks and there is no shoulder for the road, so I must walk in the road. It can be fairly dangerous but it was a lovely morning and I wanted the exercise. Nazifete told me I could not walk. I said I could. The German stubbornness that I possess reared its head and flat out told her that I was walking and that was that!  And obviously I made it without incident. I even tried to walk home from school but about 2/3 of the way home, the city bus stopped and the driver told me to get on the bus. So now she tells everyone that comes in the house I walked to school and the shock on their faces is measurable. What’s the big deal? Exercise is good for you and it  truly was a delightful morning. There is so much more that you notice as you walk. I’m sure she will have a fit the next time I walk as well but there will be nothing she can do about it. The women here in the village really are homebodies and don’t go out much except to visit their neighbors and relatives and have coffee. And when they do go places, they are driven. Very few women drive. Some do but the majority do not.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in country for a year now. I’ve  been working on new skills and strengthening old ones. I made a video and managed to splice pieces of it together and then I figured out how to use Google Drive to send it. I think I would like to try to make a movie of life in Macedonia. I’ve also created a couple of surveys on Survey Monkey to evaluate camp. I love being continually challenged to do new things. My language is getting stronger and I’m trying to also use some of my Macedonian. There isn’t much need for it here in the village but it helps when I’m in Skopje. I’m pretty good at reading Cyrillic and many times, once you can read the word the meaning becomes very obvious. I have to keep the brain engaged to avoid dementia. I refuse to get old gracefully.

Field Day is coming up and I’m on the organizing committee for that. That is where we get to say goodbye to those people departing and greet the new arrivals to the country. We are thinking of making it a scavenger hunt combined with a pot luck. I just hope the weather holds for it. It will be late October and the weather can be a bit temperamental at that point in time. I suspect there will be lots of tears as the 18’s begin leaving on 29 October. We (the 19’s) have come to know the 18’s quite well and have worked on a variety of projects with them. But we are also excited to meet the 20’s who are arriving on Sunday. We are all reliving our first couple of weeks in country through them. I wish them much success. I actually should be able to see the buses go past on Sunday when they take them to Tetovo for their orientation week.

Our days are getting much shorter and the nights much cooler. I’ve actually slept under the covers the last couple of days. During the summer, I usually just sleep on top of the covers.  No need to get the sheets messed up. Of course, Nazifete strips the bed anyhow out of habit I suspect. The hoja is continually adjusting the times for call to prayer. What had been at 4 AM is now at almost 6 AM and the time between the last two calls to prayer of the day are much shorter–less than an hour. The tomatoes are plentiful and delicious. It is obvious that fall is upon us.

I’m back at the American Corner again this year with cooking class. Last week we did Peanut Butter and stuff and they loved it.  The next class will be tostadas. And yes, we can get tortillas in country. Beans now are another thing. We get plenty of butter beans but no pintos. So Susie’s daughter brought some refried beans with her when she came to visit. My budget for this is quite limited so we are thinking of things that are easy to make and very cheap!  My first group was 23 people. Wiped out two jars of peanut butter, two jars of jam, four bananas and two loaves of bread. If I had had more, it would have been gone as well.

Life goes on  oobla dee oobla daa.

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Eileen

A 60 something woman who has run off to faraway places with the Peace Corps.

4 thoughts on “School Daze”

  1. Just think – one year ago you were just arriving with not much more than hopes and guesses about what was to come. Now you are definitely aware (ahem) of what has been easy and what has been more difficult – all good things to know!
    I, too, have been enjoying wonderful tomatoes (from your garden here in Mount Pleasant!) and eating them happily and with joy. I do not look forward to the fall and winter when they will not be available.
    The leaves have started turning and the nights are cooler. We are getting the last few days of warm weather before fall is here to stay.
    It is so much fun reading about your school, family and locale. Thank you for sharing,
    Ireta

  2. Interesting that she objected to you walking when the weather is nice, yet you walked (or had to walk) a couple of times in the ice and snow, when it was much more dangerous. The road is narrow and the cars move along rather fast, until they get to the speed bump anyway. Nazifete is a good person though, she just wants to be in charge 🙂
    One year this week – wow. Old friends leave for home or new assignments and now to become friends with the new cohort. Lifetime friendships. That is really neat. And new people for me to meet every time you take me somewhere and there are the PCVs.

    1. Just as an FYI, NF was not in country when I walked from school in snow and ice. She was in Switzer.

  3. What a interesting beginning of the school year….cleaning sounds familiar, even here that’s what we did. Arranging the furniture, etc.

    Hard to believe no pinto beans or black beans….gues im too used to the Southwest (So. Calif., Ariz. and New Amex.).

    Sounds like you are doing well. Love reading about your adventures. I’m off to Ireland for 2 weeks…taking my oldest grand daughter. 😀

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