It is officially here. Bajram. Lots of cooking, lots of sweets, lots of food, ¬†and ritual slaughtering of animals (cows and sheep–mostly cows).

All of the men went to mosque this morning at 6 AM and came home around 8 AM to a breakfast of soup, rice, chicken and more bread. Then the house is cleaned from top to bottom and then the social part begins. People go to visit each other (misafir) and eat baklava (poor me ūüėČ ), drink coffee–this is one of two days when we don’t do tea but coffee and juice and water and soda but no alcohol and no tea. We went to one house where the recent bride was wearing her bridal regalia. See the picture below. Pretty incredible! And then she switched into a more traditional wedding dress–also below. They wear their bridal clothing for special occasions during the first year of marriage. Much better than the one time it is worn in our country and hope that our daughters want to wear it when they get married.

Has been an incredibly busy week and only promises to get crazier. We have language four times a week for four hours–two days of each language and we are only two lessons behind those who are studying nothing but Macedonian! Then in the afternoon we have cross cultural training, medical training, and teacher training. Somedays we get all of 15 minutes for lunch. One of the facilitators brought some Ajvar (eye-var) and bread for us. Was greatly appreciated. Ajvar is a wonderful spread made out of their peppers. ¬†After that we have homework and then interaction with the community. The local coffee house keeps giving us free coffee when we go for coffee after class. The other night, Stacie and I went to a housewarming. It was incredible and the house was amazing.

Next week we have back to back trainings for six days. Friday will find us in Skopje for “Hub Day” It is held in the TCC Grand Plaza Hotel. ¬†Beautiful hotel ¬†and not too badly priced: 75 Euros a night is the average price. ¬†The following week we will find out our communities for the next two years. Two people will stay here in Dobroshte: one at the primary school and one working with the community on various initiatives.

Was pleasantly surprised to receive my absentee ballot. Of course, at the moment any mail I get has to be delivered by hand if one of the trainers is coming from the PC office. Otherwise we wait for hub day. Many of our trainers are currently serving PCV’s and thus come directly from their communities to us.

image imageMore visitors have arrived: Happy Bajram: Faleminderit, gjithashtu

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

7 thoughts on “Bajram”

  1. Eileen, I have loved reading your blog! Fascinating cultural bits, even the food items (hmmmm liquid yoghurt with garlic for breakfast? thanks, I’ll pass!). Keep up the good studying! We pray for you every Sunday at St. John’s – for your well-being, your good health, your energy, and for protection. Bless ya!

  2. The hotel in Skopje has a very nice website. Looks quite modern and inviting. And at $95US, it does look like a good deal. I would likely pass on the yoghurt as well. The wedding outfits are very attractive and wearing them to special events the first year means they get used more than once.

  3. Eileen,

    What an experience. Closest thing to this for me is Pine Ridge but it is really a far distant closest thing.
    When your training, culture immersion is officially over, and I know you’ll be on a continual cultural journey, what is it that you will be doing there. How wil you serve ? Jim

    1. I will be teaching English to either Albanian or Macedonian students. I could also have a few Roma students. Will be a challenge but they are preparing us quite well. Too bad colleges don’t use this approach to teach teachers how to teach. Instead they fill their heads with a bunch of pedagogical gunk that can stand in the way of effective teaching.

      We swear in officially as PC volunteers the day after Thanksgiving–so as you are bemoaning how much you ate on Turkey day just imagine me with my suitcases trying to get to my new duty station. Will know what it will be on this Tuesday the 14th. Will be posting it and any information I have at that point.

  4. I love reading your posts. What exactly is Bajram celebrating? Yohurt with garlic to drink no but it might be good as a cooking sauce for chicken or lamb. I really admire your ability to learn 2 difficult languages.

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