Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Albanian Coffee Cup Fortune

Today I met a villager from Fushe Milot (Field Milot) which is a little village right outside of Milot. His profession is painting, and I have never met or seen him before. After exchanging greetings, he asked me if I would let him read my fortune. In Albania, because we drink Turkish coffee here, there is always residue left in the cup, and from your residue, Albanians believe you can read fortunes. Corny, I know. However, I was in the mood today for some mystical fortune action. I mean...pse jo? (Why not?)

After I finished my coffee, swirling and smudging took place, and then it was time for me to hear about my future.Here is what Zhela said:

I have a beautiful future. Someone in my home is very sick and it seems there is nothing they can do to get better, but they will. I will not be happy with my next job because I will be too busy thinking of somebody else. I am accepting of every type of people, and in my future that will lead me to happiness. I am meant to take a long journey in order to figure myself out. Someone in my extended family will prove not to be such a great person, but they will not cause me any problems. I will have a wonderful meal with my family sometime in Albania in my house. I will eventually light a candle for someone and it will have a very special meaning. I will affect many people positively in my lifetime.

It was an interesting fortune reading. I was really expecting him to tell me I would get married to a fine Albanian man and have 9 children, but his fortune for me involved travel and acceptance of other cultures. Because I don't believe in fortune reading, I was really impressed with his ability to come up with these predictions. In a way, I felt it showed growth for Albania--movement in the right direction.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cutting around the mold and bucket showers

Hello readers! Here are today's topics: Adjustments, Albanian Expectations, and RPB. Warning, this entry contains bitching and complaining..

The 2 big ones are a non-working fridge and a lack of hot water. When you don't have a lot of money, there is nothing more discouraging than opening a fridge to find spoiled, ant-infested food. If I were in the States, I would demand for my landlord to fix the fridge, and I would immediately discard the rotten food covered in ants. However, this is Albania, and I am poor, and there is no way my landlord could fix/afford a new fridge. So.. what do I do? I cut off all the spoiled parts of the food, rinse off the ants, and eat the remains. Yum. Hot water..my water heater is very small so it only heats enough water for about 1 minute's worth of shower. Here is my solution: The water comes out piping hot, so I fill up half a bucket with the hot water (30 seconds worth) and the other half with cold water. I use this bucket and a sponge for body washing and shaving, and then I have enough warm water left in the shower head to rinse my hair. Voila! Only issue is all the wiring for my water heater is on the outside of the wall so there is a higher chance of electrocution, and recently it has started dripping water all over the wires so I am afraid to plug it in. But anyway... let's talk about coffee :) I can't leave my house without being invited to several coffees. Due to my recent struggles with boredom, I've been accepting almost all my coffee invites, and I stupidly have been drinking coffee every time. WIRED. DEHYDRATED. Coffee problems.. Ok, this problem has an easy solution: stop ordering coffee. However, sometimes I find myself unsure what to order, and before I can say anything an espresso is being placed right in front of me. Oh well.. guess it's better than raki.

Albanian Expectations-
Mostly regarding time... I go from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. For example, I'll be sitting on my couch staring at my Yoga mat when all the sudden I get a call from my director telling me I need to begin several fundraising projects all before school starts in September. Oh yeah, and my school director doesn't speak English which always makes it a fun conversation, especially on the phone where I can't use visual aids to communicate. We are on the same page with our desired projects, but the time part is the issue. Also, if I was supposed to raise all this money before school started, shouldn't we have discussed the projects a little earlier? Mehh

If you weren't aware, there is A LOT of free time for volunteers during the Summer months in Peace Corps. It is difficult to start school projects and/or camps in the Summer because we have not met our students yet, and everyone is gone on vacation. Anyway -- free time. When you have a lot of free time, you have a lot of time to think, watch movies, work out (or at least think about the idea of working out), study, have coffee, blog, Skype, start hobbies, read, cook...pinterest, yeah you get the point. I am struggling to find a hobby that I enjoy. I have tried drawing, crafting, dancing, singing, but nothing seems to stick. I get bored pretty easily. There was a series of 4 days where I just went to the beach with my host family, but that quickly led to serious dehydration and possible skin damage. Happy side note--My (almost) sitemate, Mark, celebrated his birthday and it was a lot of fun. His sister came into town with her friend, and it was cool to have some non-PCV Americans to hang out with. It was also nice to see Mark so happy on his birthday, and I was happy to take part in the celebration! It made me really excited for when people from America come to visit me :) --  I think the most difficult part of having too much free time lies in 2 things: 1. Feeling like you're not accomplishing anything and 2. Too much thinking time. Seriously, I think so much these days. I over analyze every part of my life, and it gets exhausting. There is nothing more sad than getting tired from sitting in your house, on your couch doing nothing but thinking.

On the brighter side, I am getting really excited for my host sister's wedding September 1st, and for school to start! It will be nice to be on a schedule and to finally feel like I am doing consistent work. It will also be nice to have my counterpart back to translate for me! I have been practicing my shqip by reading books, the newspaper, and by chatting with my community members over coffee.

Ok, picture time!

My host mom helping me put on the traditional Albanian dress that I'll wear to my sister's wedding:
 Me and my host dad:
 My most-visited shopkeeper, Vera.
 Hanging with the girls:
 Days of having a washing machine are long gone!