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Friday, February 20, 2009

Mardi Gras, Poker Night, Valentine's, and Birthdays

Do we really need an excuse to party? If so, this weekend we had at least 4. Not only did we have double and triple shared b-days, but on Valentine’s night a bunch of volunteers got decked out in Mardi Gras apparel (well, sort of, it was 40 degrees after all), put their dancin’ shoes on, and played Texas Holdem’.

Chris and I caught a direct furgon from Gjiro to Berat on Friday afternoon— joining up with Monica, Alexi, and Meghan who started out from Sarande. The twisted and bumpy road seemed humorously similar to a Disneyland ride—forcing me to sit upright, gripping the seat handle in front and peering quizzically over the edge. I was half wondering if and when we would go teetering over the edge; however, after so many months here I’ve given up the anxiety of impending death on the roads.

We’ve spent the weekend crashing at Lauren’s lovely apartment, which is on the third floor of a pallati [post-communist style concrete apartment] with a body-building gym underneath. Its really quite spacious, with two parallel bathrooms [labeled SEAT UP and SEAT DOWN] and several storage rooms. In the summer she puts a kiddie pool on the roof and sunbathes—I plan to come back a lot more for that!

There is quite a large crew of us here left in the wake of the party, 13? Last night most people crashed at the party (Corrine’s apartment) though we left around 1 am or so, after a series of unfortunate events involving out-of-town futbol players who couldn’t seem to keep their hands off the girls. Today has been a pretty subdued day, allowing hangovers to lift, and by 3 we were all our chipper selves again, ready to go out for coffee and crepes, and then begin a string of goodbyes while friends dispersed back to their hometowns.

For now we’re relaxing near the wood burning stove; various volunteers are reading, cooking, playing with Clara (Lauren’s 3-legged dog). Tonight’s menu includes homemade spinach pasta with garlic tomato sauce and salad, veggie delight! I think we’re gonna take off tomorrow and brave the road at 9:30, giving us enough time to get to work in the afternoon if we want. It’s been a nice break from G-town, too short. I realize how much I miss the other volunteers, and luckily we’re having a new group arrive next month! So there will be several meetings throughout their training (ahhh.. training! Has it been a full year already?) --luckily we will see each other again soon, when we come to meet them in Elbasan and share stories.

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