Friday, February 11, 2011

Hello again

In what I suppose is a not so surprising turn of events, Albanians like fudge! By which I mean they liked my b-day cake, after all it did have a fudge base. Still waiting to go talk to the school director. The weather is beginning to get warmer, and with it my days nicer. I go to a local cafe sometimes to study, and it appears I have gone enough for them to know my order (granted there are not that many to choose from). I am starting to plan a trip to the Balkans, which is of course not until August, but I love having things to look forward to!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's my birthday! And other happy news...

Ok, so no luck yet on the whole getting pictures off my camera thing but yes luck with things looking up around here! I finally got my heater to work, and while it does appear to put lots of slightly smelly/smoky, gas/smoke into my house... it's warm (well as warm as a drafty house can get)! It's my b-day today, so I spent last night baking a cake, I'm not really thinking the ladies in the Bashkia will be all that impressed, but hey the more and more I live here the more and more I'm taking the saying "it's the thought that counts" to heart. 

I found a similarity to the US... about every other woman I meet (esp those over the age of 40) has some variation of the name "Susan" (Suzan, Suzana, Suzi, ect), who knew cultural similarities would span to things like this?

I finally worked up the nerve to go talk to the health center. If we remember my old fear of making telephone calls (I used to cry, until I took that series of Hillel telemarketing/ Cornell phone survey jobs) we might realize why this going to talking to people (it's like a cold call but in person) has been so difficult for me. But I did it! It may or may not have resulted in people thinking I'm pregnant though.... you would think by now that I would realize you shouldn't go up and ask "to see the women's doctor," aka the pregnancy doctor. I did clear it up with the doctor that I was only going for a project. Shijak is a small community though and people talk, I promptly went to the Bashkia and said if you hear any rumors... not true! It's good that I'm beginning to make friends there enough that we can laugh at incidents such as these.  I was told by the doctors to "come back on Monday" and I wasn't sure whether I would be leading a fitness class (the project I went to talk to them about), if I would be doing things w/ pregnant women or just women from the community (I don't really know enough to be leading pregnancy fitness classes), or just talking to the doctors. Needless to say I prepared for all three, and luckily enough it was the last (just talking to some doctors). It was one of my first times since I got here that I got an actual "yes" to something I asked (not just a yes to appease me so I would stop asking). I'm hoping I can keep moving in this positive direction, I got a confirmation from a women at work that I will be going to talk to the school directors today. 

I went up North this weekend to Shkoder for another one of our Northern potluck dinners, There was an awesome abundance of Chinese food to celebrate the new year. I however chose to be lazy and cook root veggies (Chinese food isn't exactly my specialty). I am working my way through endless Moosewood recipes and should be a much better cook when I return to the States. 

My dad found a journal I kept when I was 11 and went to Alaska, I'm beginning to worry that this particular blog entry is sounding scarily like that 11 year old writing...

Various little tasks are keeping me busy, we're working towards the outdoor ambassadors (oa) camp, I'm trying to plan some hikes for this summer to get up on Bunker trails, trying to start a fitness class in town, design a newsletter for the Bashkia (they didn't ask, but maybe if I just show up with it they will be pleased), and trying to actually start an oa group in Shijak. The new group comes in a month so preparations for that are starting to hit full swing (I can't believe it's been almost a year). 

I have already completed 2/6 New Years resolutions (learn to control the mane known as my hair and apply makeup), what are the other 4, you ask? Well I would like to make a banjo and learn how to play it (1), travel to 3 more countries (2), read 20 books (3), and lastly ace my GRE (4). Sorry this is useful info, I'm not really sure why I'm sharing it, most likely the combination of coffee and the fact I'm pretty excited to learn how to play the banjo....

Monday, January 24, 2011


I am very sorry about the long time no talk, I just haven't really had all that much to say. Things are becoming much more mundane, which I view as positive. So here I offer you, as I usually do, a series of unrelated stories, thoughts, opinions, and happenings. I hope you enjoy! Oh and I'm working on getting the program to get pictures off my camera on this computer, so pictures will come soon.

I went to Istanbul about a month ago now. I enjoyed the trip and had some interesting experiences. Yes the Turkish baths are just as entertaining/scary/funny an experience as they're cracked up to be. Nothing like being all up in an older Turkish ladies business (or her being all up in yours).

I came home to New Years, a huge holiday in Albania, which I spent sick in bed. Luckily here in Albania everyone lights fireworks so I was able to drag myself outside to see a show without infecting anyone or scaring the young children by how disheveled I was.

The other day I was relaxing inside and periodically heard a commotion. I thought nothing of it until I stepped outside to find myself in a stare down with a turkey on my patio wall. I don't think I won, but I made it to the bathroom without it attacking me, so I suppose it might have won the battle but I won the war. I'm starting to think I'm actually going crazy though and it was just in my head. If anyone could confirm either way that would be nice.

Turkeys aren't the only thing hanging around these days. I'm hearing the termites again, and the cats are back on the roof. I really understand why they call them cat fights after the scrambling and sounds (most likely weasly) that I hear from the roof. Really starting to feel like an old cat lady.

I asked my mayor if I could lead an exercise class in the community. She responded by questioning whether I had interested people. While my plan had been to post a flier this seemed to be not good enough, so instead I will be leading exercise classes in the Bashkia. This image might not be as entertaining to you as to me, but trust me, it will be entertaining and I will take pictures.