Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Day to Forget...Well Parts of It

If I had internet, this would have been my blog post for yesterday (Wednesday).

It snowed. A lot. It is supposed to continue snowing. A lot.

I went to the gradinka (Preschool/Kindergarten) for the first time today. Kids were full of energy and didn’t listen very well.

Hung out at coffee bar with Macedonian males for first time. Talked a lot of economics and politics.

Got puked on by a kid. Landlady washed clothes.

Discovered my Discovery Channel is back. All is good again.

However, lucky for you I didn’t have internet because that would have been kind of a downer of a post. Instead, I will say the same thing only I will stretch my thoughts/sentences, which will make it, in the words of Andres, “podobro”.

Everything I said about no snow, forget it. I have snow, lots of snow. It started Tuesday night and is still going strong now. It is supposed to continue snowing with big, heavy, flakes until Friday morning. The total for today was about a foot and it made walking up and down my hill to my house a little tricky. This morning I wasn’t sure if it would be icy so I pulled out the lovely Yak-Traks Peace Corps gave me after they saw my walk. I was laughed at my one lady because I looked funny wearing snow boots with Yak-Traks, my coat, hat, scarf, and gloves (I should point out that if I had been in Minnesota, I would have fit right in, no one would have noticed me wearing anything out of the ordinary. The Macedonians here don’t prepare for the outdoors quite the same).

Today was my first day at the Gradinka (Preschool/Kindergarten). I will be there once a week working with the lady who teaches English to some of the children there. It was fun to see the kids because they remind me of my preschoolers back in St. Peter. Most of the kids didn’t really listen today and just sort of ran about not paying attention to anything. My counterpart was flustered by their squirreliness. I told her kids are the same everywhere and I have had many days where my little ones just wouldn’t listen, especially when you factor in today was their third day back since the holidays and it was snowing like crazy. Those two factors, plus the fact there was a visitor are a recipe for disaster. 

After our classes at the Gradinka, my counterpart asked me if I would like to go to one of the coffee bars with her, her boyfriend, and one of his friends. I said sure as I had nothing going on and here was a chance to hang out with people my own age. On the way we stopped to pick up a little girl who has private English lessons with my counterpart. She is 6 and is really shy, but she was pretty cute. We get to the coffee bar, sit down, order drinks and about two minutes after our drinks come, the little girl gets sick. She starts coughing and then puking and I quick scoot my chair out of the way so the teacher can get her to the bathroom. Nope, the teacher asks for napkins and the kid keeps puking. Sweet. After getting her somewhat cleaned up, they leave (thank goodness). I am left with the boyfriend and his friend. Luckily the boyfriend speaks pretty good English (despite saying he doesn’t) and the friend understands everything I say even if he can’t speak much back. This was the first time since Lozovo I have actually hung out with Macedonian males and I didn’t have to worry about them thinking it was anything more than just having coffee (or actually tea and juice as no coffee was ordered). We talked a lot about politics (kind of a taboo subject for PCVs to get involved in, however I did very little of the talking and made it clear I can not express my opinion on anything related to Macedonian politics- Peace Corps rules). Hopefully I will be able to hang out more with them and their friends because it was nice being around people my own age.

I noticed a little kid puke on my pants and boots and wasn’t sure if she had gotten any on my coat or anywhere else. It was only a little, but those of you who know me, know I don’t do puke in any shape, form, etc. However, since I was with new people I had to keep my freak out on the inside. *Side note, as soon as I got home I ripped off my clothes in my doorway, threw them in a bag, and brought them down to my landlady to wash in her machine. There was no way I was hand washing those puppies. Oh and because I feel like someone (i.e. my father) would make a joke here if I don’t specify, I did put on other clothing before going down to my landlady’s, no worries there.

At least the night ended on a good note. When I came home from Vevchani/Veles, I noticed I had lost my Discovery Channel on TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV here, in fact, you might be thinking, wait you’re a PCV and you have a TV? I have two actually and my landlord pays for the TV service, and was so confused when I hadn’t used the TVs within the first month, so I tried it out one night and discovered I had Discovery Channel- Its good background noise when I am cooking or just need an English break. However, without Discovery Channel, I have had to resort to old fishing shows or shows about WWII (while WWII is interesting, you can only watch so much about Hitler and Mengele before getting kind of depressed). I also feel the need to mention that I have maybe 20 channels and within those, I have channels in Macedonian, Bulgarian, Serbian, German, Italian, and English, so if I get sick of one language, I can switch to another. Best part is Discovery Channel came back today and Wednesday nights are when my current favourite show, Border Security, is on. There are two versions, Australia and USA and it features the many different agencies that control the borders of the two countries. Yes, it is kinda trashy TV and there definitely are some rather racist moments in each episode, but its still better than the soap operas that are popular here, right? Debatable I know. However, the episode tonight featured Roseau, Minnesota (pronounced on the show as Row-so) and the people who sneak between the U.S./ Canada border during the winter when the lakes are frozen.  Ah, the accents- it makes me feel at home! Clearly that is a sign I was meant to watch this show instead of na gosti-ing the neighbours tonight.

Did You Know…. About 400 semi-trucks full of garbage come in from Canada to Michigan every day and some border control agents have the job of searching through the garbage.

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