Oh hi there! I have a lot to post about, but I'll do my best to keep this somewhat short..and interesting. I have been in Albania for 3 weeks now and I am still very happy here. Anyway..The general things I will discuss in this post are:
1) I went on a volunteer visit to Kucove (and Berat).
2) My experience with learning the Albanian language
3) Struggles and expected struggles
4) Funny stories
5) Miscellaneous Panda Banter (MPB)
The volunteer visit is an awesome thing. It is a time for current trainees to visit a current volunteer somewhere in the country for 4 days. To make things less complicated, I am going to generalize this experience by saying it is a time for trainees to take a break from their host families and other trainees, make use of wifi, eat volunteer-made Mexican food, see what it's like to be a real PCV, and put many many workout videos, movies, ebooks, and music on flash drives. I had an awesome time, and now I can't wait until NEXT FRIDAY to find out where in Albania I'll be placed!!! Apparently someone cries every year due to disappointment in placement, but I have faith in group 16. Let's hope for all smiles. I know I'll be happy with wherever I get sent.
I am actually having a fairly easy time learning this language. I am very proud of the progress I am making. The grammar is a it hard to pick up, but my technique is just to not stress about it, and speak without thinking.
Sickness. Sickness constantly flows through the trainees. We are disgusting germ machines. I currently have a terrible cough with a lot of chest congestion. It may be bronchitis. Last week I had a fever, and the week before that I had a headache/soar throat combo. Also, my nails are turning yellow..which the Health volunteers tell me is a sign of iron deficiency. The only other real struggle I have is seeing all the starving/beaten animals on the street.
Struggles I predict for the future: 1. Loneliness at site 2. Corrupt school systems 3. More sickness 4. Losing things and/or being robbed of things
Funny stories- one volunteer said the word "to be f*ck*d" instead of "to be called"
I was mistaken for a small child who doesn't speak Albanian
Got locked out of my house, tried to jump the wall, the brick came loose --> i fell on my back
MPB- I have observed some big issues while being here. there is a lot of cheating and corruption in the schools, and that is just how life is here. also, the hospitals lack proper conditions including elevators (for a 6 story building), sanitary needles, and heat :(( I am super excited to find out where I'll be placed for the next 2 years this Friday! Also, today we did a 5 hour hike up to a tree in Librazhd. It was awesome because volunteers from other villages came. I'm running out of internet time so it's time to go. Nect time I post, I'll have my site placement. Woo!