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Monday, June 9, 2008

PST University Week

After returning from our respective future site placements, we spent this week regrouping and gossiping about our experiences, killing time in Elbasan by attending optional language courses and fun PST University sessions. The classes of PST University were created and voted on by the volunteers- whoever could offer a skill or topic that enough people were interested in got a 75 minute time slot; with topics that varied from grant writing to knitting to networking skills to cooking Albanian foods. A lot of the time people were lounging in the office training room on their computers, or reading Newsweek (as gov’t workers we each get a complimentary subscription), socializing, or preparing for the language exam. On Friday I took mine—messing up completely the first time out of sheer nervousness—but luckily we were all allowed to retake the test if we felt bad about our scores. I was so shocked I cried! It was ridiculous because the test is really not a big deal, as long as we get above the very basics and can say simple strings of words, but I worked myself up and knew that I could do much better than it turned out. However the second time I calmed down and performed fantastically, so I’m very happy.

Thursday night was particularly fun because we had a History Club film series after class, and since the furgons stop running after 7 pm or so, we were all allowed to spend the night in Elbasan together. About half of the PCTs showed up to class with backpacks and blankets, and in the evening there was a lengthy pushimi i birrёs (beer break) before the marathon began. We watched 5 of the 6 DVD episodes of ‘The Death of Yugoslavia’, which is extremely well produced and significant knowledge for us as we live so near the region and need to understand more about the Kosovo-Serbia issue. Just before midnight, Chris and I went with a small group to sleep in the comfortable beds at Agim’s house, which is around the corner from the office, and in the morning I walked around the city with my Ipod to kill the time we saved in transit.

Now, our last weekend in Cerrik, I think we will hang out with the family on Saturday (they don’t really seem to leave the house much, and as far as I can tell they don’t have any hobbies except Serxhio, who plays chess incessantly) and then on Sunday maybe having a final PCT rendez-vous in Cerrik. I am both sad to leave all the PCVs, even though we will all see each other again, but only once every few months, as well as leaving my family. I feel like we’ve become part of the Çepa’s lives, so I will miss coming home and trying to translate the day’s events for them...

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