April 7, 2008
Monday ( E He’nё), a brand new week begins. This is the third week and I’m beginning to see what the previous volunteers meant when they said training is long and tiresome! I’m still having a wonderful time and haven’t yet slipped into depression or homesickness, but when I go to bed each night I am exhausted and despite the fact that we do have free time on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, I feel like every moment must still be useful.
Last night I got some phone calls from Cam and Donna and Arlene! Such excitement! It’s funny though because there is so much I’d like to tell everyone and express all the experiences and emotions we are going through, but I feel caught up on the telephone and suddenly dumbstruck…
This morning we had class bright and early, in our chilly little classroom on the second floor of the town’s slightly-decrepit elementary school. When our pocket of volunteers arrive it feel like we’re celebrities on the red carpet because a few hundred school children stop their chattering to gawk at us (some brave ones yell out “hello!” and “who are you!”)—look the amerikans are coming! They have been opening our classroom door to peer in on us less frequently this week, so maybe soon they will get used to us. After class we went to the souflaçe shop, where we ended up meeting with the crew from the nearby village of Shalёs, then soon ran into the volunteers from Gjergjen and Shtermen . Rendez-vous in Cerrik!! Our town happens to be the center point for a few of the PCT sites, and we have the posh internet café, so every once in awhile we all get together here which is truly wonderful to have so many friends. Especially since after this three months is over we will all be completely alone (well, except for the married couples of course).
So we flooded the café and ice cream shop—the owners love us because we bring so many customers—and slowly people faded away, scurrying off to catch furgons back home. Chris and I got picked up by our baba and mama who were at a host-family meeting with the PC reps, then they took us to Belёsh to visit some family members.
The house we drove out to is in the middle of a beautiful valley of farms, near Belёsh’s town lake. The town itself is stunning—cute little homes and cafes dotted around the lake rim and surrounding mountains, walkways lined with grape-vines, donkeys pulling carts, etc. Chris and I also came out yesterday for the first time, with a bunch of PCTs to hang out on our day off.
So we spent some time doing the usual—greet the entire family outside, then go inside and re-do all of the same greetings, sit for an hour or so while they exclaim in rambling Shqip that we can’t possibly follow (every once in awhile we caught on that they were speaking to us, everyone would turn and look expectantly for our remark which of course we had no idea what to say).
Before we left I got to hold some of the baby ducklings in their backyard (then quietly repeated the mantra reminding myself not to touch my face until I got home to a sink...), and they gave me eggs as a parting gift! I think my parents had been talking about how they don't know what to feed me, and that I am always so excited when I get an egg for breakfast...
Tomorrow we find out where we'll go for our two-night site/ volunteer visit! And it's a hub day, which is always so exciting...! :)