So many things have happened over the past week and a half. The most important thing was the revealing of the our permanent sites. I’m happy to announce that I will be moving to Arniqija, Saraj (R-knee-chee-ja, Su-rye) by the first of December. It is a primarily Muslim community and the school I will be working in teaches their students in Shqip. It will still mean a moratorium on wine at the house but I am so close to Skopje that it won’t matter! I’ll be able to shop for my wine in many different places.If you are really interested in where I will be, do a google search on Saraj or Matka Canyon. It is a beautiful area. I hope to get my own place after the first of June so that I can cook to my heart’s delight!
I still have to maintain my Macedonian language skills as I will be attending conferences and traveling about the country and will need that language as well. The Peace Corps will provide me with a stipend to pay for a tutor three times a week. I will probably meet with a Shqip tutor twice a week and a Macedonian once a week. I already have my Shqip tutor lined up. He is currently tutoring the volunteer in my village who will be leaving in January. I get this stipend for tutoring up until my last three months in the country!
Have also applied to be on the staff of Camp GLOW next summer. Camp GLOW is a camp for young women to develop their leadership skills. GLOW stands for Girls Leading Our World and I think it is an excellent fit for me and my experience. I am looking at the sustainability feature of that program and with my finance background and experience with AAUW-CA I think I bring a lot of knowledge to the table.
This weekend gives us another hub day–back to Skopje for more training. Also gives us a chance to visit with PCT’s from other training sites and perhaps have a glass of wine or two or three or…… In addition to hub day, we also will be going back to Skopje on Saturday for Field Day. That is when all of the currently serving PCV’s get to officially meet the new PCT’s. We will get a walking tour of Skopje, the Peace Corps office and have a pot luck meal. As long as it isn’t peppers, I will be happy.
Language training is moving forward. I can now talk about my American family in both Macedonian and Shqip. Don’t worry guys, the only bad thing I can say about my family is that they are ugly and I wouldn’t use that word on anyone I know. Now about that jacket……….
We went to Veles last weekend for a training session with an HCN (Host Country National) and it was an excellent session. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with wonderful ideas to use in our classrooms. However, getting there was another story. Our bus was here in plenty of time to pick us up. We all got on and were ready to head to Veles. The driver originally wanted to take us to Skopje but we got him headed in the right direction. So about five miles out of Dobroshtë we stop at a gas station to put air in the front tire–a lot of air! Okay, let’s hit the road. Next thing we know, we are in Skopje! Wait, this isn’t the way to Veles! But we got a nice tour of Skopje. Next thing we know we are pulling into the bus station and the driver says педнаесет кафе пауза. (15 minute coffee break). Well time is not a particularly important cultural value to the people of this country so we were not surprised when it stretched to half an hour. However, we realized that we were due in Veles in about 20 minutes and according to the GPS on our phones we were at least 45 minutes away. So, phone call to training coordinator and she asks to speaks to driver. He talks and she then tells us that we are getting a new bus. Guess that must have had something to do with our tire issue. So we waited and finally got our new bus. Oops, now we are an hour late for our training. Fortunately we were able to catch up and not have to stay after class. After class, we hit the thriving metropolis of Veles which just happened to be in the middle of their “pita” fest which consisted of a stall of wine, then beer, then pita, then wine, then beer, then pita…….. So a couple of us 50+ people plopped ourselves down and got a bottle of wine for the ridiculous amount of 150 denare. Oh, did I mention that it is about 50 den to one dollar? Yup a three buck bottle of wine–and it certainly beat three buck Chuck hands down! We had a lovely time just catching up on what is happening in each other’s training community, what are the challenges and how is it going being amongst the younger trainees.
This past Monday we got to participate in a Halloween Party at the Albanian school in our community. Was great fun. Did word searches with the kids and sang “traditional” Halloween Carols. Sure! We sing these at Halloween!
Oh you better not shriek
You better not moan………
You remember, we sang it ever year in school 😉 ! We all just looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and sang the songs for them. They had Macedonian students visiting from Ohrid and we were the major celebrities. Sure is fun being a rock star!
Over the weekend we conducted a “Clean Up Dobroshtë” campaign and collected more trash than you can possibly imagine. We were all exhausted when it was done but it is so nice to walk down the street to our coffee house and not see tons of trash everywhere. Wonder how long it will last. We did this in conjunction with the Environmental Working Group which was piggy backing off the Global Clean Up Day which was actually 4 October. We couldn’t do it then since it was Bajram so we picked our own day to clean up the place.
Our language classes are now getting us ready to leave the nest. Turn left, turn right, go straight, where is the железничка станица, where is the bus station, go straight………. In three weeks we will go on a site visit and spend three days in our new community. I’m looking forward to it. Then we will have a conference somewhere with our counterparts. Should be great fun. Everyday is a new learning experience and it is really more fun than I anticipated. Haven’t seen one case of home-sickness yet. Everyone seems to be incredibly happy and having the time of their lives.