Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thoughts of the Day

Watching a British show called "Living With the Amish" I discovered the Amish in the US have a more sophisticated way of washing clothes than I do.

The critter in my woodburning stove is still there. My solution, just make sure the openings are tightly shut.

Pizza Palma in Delchevo still has the best pastramalija I have had in country, despite what the people of Shtip say.

After battling through the great Balkan freeze, we are now in the midst of a great Balkan heatwave with warnings that there is so much more to come. Hooray for global warming.....not.

Packing for a month away from site is quite the challenge.

After making brownies from scratch the other night, I will never go back to the boxed ones.

If you ever want to make friends with children in your neighbourhood, request for decks of Uno cards to be sent from America. The children come back everyday asking to play.

Life is a Whirlwind

Ok, so it has been quite some time since I have updated, mostly because life has been so busy. Since my last post school has ended, language IST+ happened, I hosted an Uno party, and I now have a new special creature living in my wood burning stove.

As far as the special creature, there isn't much to say other than there is something that has taken up residence in my now not used wood burning stove. Many have suggested I smoke it out, but that would require me to have kindling to start a fire, so not much luck there. My neighbours would really look at me crazy if I explained to them that I want to start a fire in my house now.

The last day of school was June 8th. I had the opportunity to teach my last two days at school with the 4th graders. It was tough, but the kids managed to play vocabulary word B-I-N-G-O for prizes two days in a row. Tough job, but they were up to the challenge!

Today I hosted an Uno Party for some of the neighbour kids. The other day I taught two little girls how to play it. We played for four hours and they demanded more, so today, we had an Uno party. I had five of the neighbour kids over ranging from 8-years-old to 16-years-old. I served them some fresh oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and we played for another almost 3 hours with one game lasting about an hour! When the girls left today, they informed me that they would be at my house every day for the rest of the summer playing. Unfortunately for the kids, I am headed off on my month long summer camp venture soon, so they wont get to play for quite some time.

Finally, Language IST+ happened. I call it IST+ because IST was down in Struga, which is quite a way from my house and requires several days of travel on either end, so it ends up being quite the adventure. I headed out on my journey and stopped first in Shtip where I had a lovely time with one of the volunteers who lives there. Then I headed down to Shannon's village on the shores of Lake Ohrid. It was beautiful, as always. From there, we went across the lake to our hotel for IST just outside of Struga. It was a week full of fun, sun, and language. Most of the classes were created with fun in mind. I took a class on Macedonian slang, woman's talk, newspapers, man's talk, na kafe (where we learned to read our fortunes from Turkish coffee grounds), and an introductory course in Albanian.
One of the no-so-fun classes I took- Macedonian demonstrative prounouns
There was plenty of time outside of classes to catch up with the other volunteers in my group, go swimming (a few of us went swimming at night and despite the very cold water and the water snakes, it was a lot of fun), and celebrate Shannon's birthday in quite a fun way (Julie, in all of her energy and personality, made friends with the waiters early on so we convinced them to make Shannon a cake, turn off the electricity in the dining room, and walk out with the cake, lit tiki torches, and Kenzie on guitar while we all sang Happy Birthday). At IST we also had to do language presentations in groups and the Lozovo crew (minus 2) created Episode 17 of "Нема Мир во Лозово". It was filmed on my camera and hopefully I will get it posted soon. The presentations were a competition and the winning group (Probishtip -Dan, + other Dan) did an absolutely outstanding job reenacting and translating several movie scenes including rewriting the lyrics to Summer Love from Grease. Mad props to them for their hard work- we all were left speechless!
The epic love scene in "Нема Мир во Лозово"
Andres taught Shannon and I how to skip rocks
After IST, I spent a night with the Lozovo crew near Ohrid to continue celebrating Shannon's birthday. Because, once again, I was sick on my birthday- a yearly tradition, I was able to share the funfetti cake mix my mom had sent for my birthday with lots of good friends (a much better use).
Shannon and Julie were the expert decorators. The middle cupcakes spell out Shannon's name and then the other letters are the first initial of everyone who was there.
And then one more night in Shannon's. While there, Shannon and I hiked to one of the coves she knows of on Lake Ohrid and spent the afternoon getting a little sunburned (despite lots of sunscreen), swimming, talking, and witnessing a man doing something that he really should have kept private (but hey, its a story for sure)! We also got to see some gorgeous sunsets, something Shannon sees on a regular basis (kinda jealous).

In just a few days I will be headed off to be the Environmental facilitator for the Young Mens Leadership Project summer camp followed immediately to Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) to be a counselor and soon a trip to Istanbul, maybe Varna, and another summer camp for my kids. I feel like the summer is already gone before it has really started! Before I know it, it will be September and my parents will be here.