Hey guys! Just so you know...it's my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!! Sorry for not writing so often. I plan to form a routine for writing in my blog once I get to my site, but for now...since it's still PST (pre service training), my blogs reflect the life of a trainee: unorganized, confusing, and slightly chaotic. Ok, today's categories are: 1) Site Visit and Counterpart Conference 2) Fake it 'til you make it 3) How to cope with stress 4) Funny Things 5) A day in Thanë 6) Random Panda Banter (RPB)
1) Site Visit and CPC
This weekend (and I say this weekend meaning sometime within the next 5 days because I never have any clue when things are actually happening..or for that fact what day it is) we are going to Tirana, Durres, and our site. We are going to Tirana to explore the capital, to Durres to meet our counterpart, and to our site to see where we will be living and working for the next 2 years. It's really an exciting time because Tirana is supposed to be really cool, and if you come visit me that's where you will fly into ;). Meeting our counterparts will be pretty awesome as well because that is who we will be working with for the next 2 years, and obviously seeing our site is the most exciting thing! I believe I will be living in a villa with a family close to the school in Milot, but I am not expecting much. I think it is better to set my hopes very low so that I can only be pleasantly surprised. Also, the site gives us a chance to move half of our bags there so we don't have to carry so many things when we actually move. I am excited to tell you all about Tirana, my counterpart, and my site when I come back!
2) Fake it 'til you make it
There are a lot of things to fake/lie about here in Albania that make living here easier. For example.. When taking the Language placement test, if you're asked about your favorite genre of book, and you don't know how to say "fiction" in shqip, just say any genre you do know. If single, creepy men want to know if you're single and you don't feel like being harassed..tell them you're married! PS. Another volunteer and I may be having a fake wedding in the near future...I'll keep you posted. If you're teaching English, and you write a mistake on the board and a student points it out...just tell them it's British English instead of American (that one is my favorite). Happen to hate a certain type of food in Albania (sheep brain..and/or cos)? No worries! Tell whomever is serving you that you have an allergy to this food, or that Peace Corps recommended not to eat this particular food product. Can't drink any more Raki, but a friendly uncle keeps filling up your glass every time you finish? Pour water in that glass!
3) How to cope with stress
My methods are pretty simple: activities. I go to the river, play frisbee and whiffle ball, and do Insanity in my room. I also write in a personal journal, Skype with friends, and watch movies/listen to music on my computer. I also think my friends here in Albania are very important. I often go to coffee or lunch with volunteers, and spending time with them makes me happy. I also have a few really close friends here who help keep me sane :)).
4) Funny Things
-One of the volunteers shaves her legs on the bidet. Resourceful. Hilarious. And Awesome.
-My host dad always puts Pokemon on the television for me and then leaves..I can't tell if it's because he thinks I'm really young or that I'll like it because I'm Asian...maybe both?
-One volunteer tried to write "badminton" up on the board during Practicum, but she forgot the correct spelling of it and wrote "bad mitten" instead.
-The volunteers going up north have decided to put on a "Mr. Northern Albania" competition which will include a wood chopping contest, an animal skinning contest, and my favorite...a beard dance (dance with incorporated beard showing off-ness)
-When I say "I'm full" my mom always sneaks 2 more things on my plate
5) A day in Thanë
Every Sunday we try to visit one PST site. Last Sunday, all the Volunteers went to Thanë. Thanë is a small village not too far away from Elbasan. The volunteers there put on a "Community Gathering" day when we visited, and it was very successful! My host sister came, and she was awesome! She decided to MC the event, and she really rallied up the children, and led them to do fun games and dances with each other and the volunteers. It was a lot of fun, and all the kids were really cute.
To begin.. There is a strange noise coming from my closet. A type of scratching, crawling sound. At night, I picture a giant tarantula with boots and sharp fangs sitting in my closet, preparing to eat me. However, alas I have discovered what/where the noise is coming from. It's... Wood worms! Ew. To continue with the theme of creepy crawlies..there are water snakes in the river! Yep, not cool at all. Also, it's puppy/kitten season. 2 volunteers have already found newborn baby animals that have been abandoned. It's pretty sad, but there's not much you can do about it here. As PST goes on, I get more and more bored and restless with my free time. I think it gives me a lot of self -reflection time which I try to use to my advantage, but sometimes, it's just too much time. A lot of volunteers are having a difficult time staying on budget. I spend most of my money on coffee, ice cream, furgon rides, and chocolate, hah. I never knew how much I liked Snickers until now. Damn you, Snickers. may is an awesome month because not only is it going to be my birthday, but my mom will also have a birthday (happy birthday mommy Der) and it's mother's day. I love you mom!
Hope you've enjoyed this entry! Sorry I'm not sorry that I don't spell check or edit this blog :))