Showing posts with label Macedonia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Macedonia. Show all posts

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving America!

The Ladies of Lozovo: Julie was practicing her Macedonian smile!
Team Dushko: Claire, Me, Kenzie, Shannon, and Morgan
While all of you back in America are watching the Macy's parade, eating your turkey, watching football, and socializing with family and friends, Peace Corps Volunteers around the world are celebrating the day a little different. Here in Macedonian, 36 of us were sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers today by the U.S. Ambassador.
I,____________(name) do solemly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, domestic or foreign, that I take this obligation freely. And without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. And that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties in the Peace Corps, so help me God.
The Swearing-In ceremony was great. A traditional Macedonian folk group played, sang, and dance. We had speeches from the Ambassador, the Country Director, the PST Director, a Representative of the Macedonian President's Cabinet, the Minister of Education and Science, and two of our own, Paul and Carly. They did a wonderful job with their dual Macedonian and Albanian speech.
Thanksgiving Buffet: It looks tame in the picture, but believe me, it was a unique experience!
After the ceremony, we had a feast. Peace Corps flew in turkeys from America for today and all of the host families brought food to share, so it was one giant potluck (be careful if you use this word in Macedonia as it means something very, very different in Macedonian). We had been warned that this becomes a feeding frenzy as the concept of lines doesn't really exist here. As soon as food was put out, there was a mad rush by the Macedonians fighting for food. We tried our best to jump in there and were somewhat successful. I talked with a few of the MAK 14s and 15s because they were fighting just as hard as the Macedonians and they said that by next year, I will be a pro at this sort of thing.
Julie, Shannon, Enid, and I
Then it came time for presentations. Each training community developed a movie of sorts to show at the event thanking our families. All of the movies were good, but I think Lozovo really won it with our Turkish soap opera. The video will be up soon on Morgan's YouTube page, so check it out for sure. Once presentations were done, almost every stood up and left, leaving almost no time to say goodbye. But as typical, Lozovo hung out and we ended up having a dance party with Evelina, the PST Director, Ivana, the Language Coordinator, and all of the female LCFs as well as some current volunteers.  
Claire and I
When we got back to Lozovo, we all went over to Julie's with our families so they could see all of the work we did on their garage. They loved it and were quite impressed with how well we had captured Macedonia. We celebrated with wine and more dancing before it was time to say our goodbyes amongst our group.
Cheers to Lozovo!
Shannon, Anna, and I
We came to Macedonia as 36 Trainees and we left Kumanovo today, 36 volunteers. It was, perhaps, the best way to spend Thanksgiving away from our families and friends back home. Tomorrow, while many of you are out there pushing through crowds to get the best Black Friday deals, we all will be pushing onto buses with 2 years worth of stuff, moving to site, to start our lives as Peace Corps Volunteers.

It really was a bittersweet day. There was much happiness and excitement as we are now official volunteers. We are excited to be moving to site and settling in, exiting the stage of limbo we have been in. However, we also had to say goodbye to some of the best friends we have ever had.

To my Lozovo group: You are all amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better training group. I know we will have our ups and downs over the next two years, but we have each other. Remember the pact we made on the bus coming home from Hub Day: If anyone of us starts considering ETing, you owe each and every other person a phone call. And Julie will be mad if you do, "so just don't."

Finally, Peace Corps posted a press release on their website about all of the groups that are Swearing-In this weekend:

Friday, November 11, 2011

You Know You Are In PST Macedonia When.....

As PST is coming to an end shortly, I decided to compile a list of things that I that remind me I am in PST.

- You have been told јади, јади, јади so many times and given in so many times that the Freshman 15 has nothing on you compared to the weight your host mother has forced you to gain.
- You no longer question what sort of animal droppings you are walking in on your way to school and you no longer try to avoid them since they are everywhere.
- You pretend you don't understand a conversation in Macedonian when you really do, just to avoid having to say the same awkward sentences over and over again.
- You no longer are weirded out by throwing your toilet paper in the garbage instead of flushing it.
- You find yourself not being able to remember words in English.
- You accept that showering every day or even every other day is over rated and are lucky if you are able to shower two times a week.
- You don't think twice about being offered ракија, пиво, or сок for breakfast.
- You play dumb with your family so you can listen in on what they are saying to the entire town about you.
- You realize the locals who study English at the University know far more about the English language than you do.
- You have a new "p" word in your vocabulary......промија and you better be scared of might kill you.
- You acknowledge and accept that every person you meet is going to ask you about how much money you had, currently have, and will have.
- Despite the many errors, you have used Google Translate at least once to talk with your family.
- You have been a part of 8 hour на гости.
- When writing in English, you use a combination of Cyrillic and Latin letters and you can't spell in English to save your life.
- Your stomach never really quite gets used to all of the oil used in the food.
- You find yourself agreeing that Тоше was the best musician ever.
- Times that would have been awkward silences in America, are instead welcomed as breaks when you don't have to try and figure out what someone is saying.
- You are cautious when you get in the shower because if you turn the water on just a little too much, you will be burnt.
- Whether you are male or female, you have become quite a good домакинка.
- While on a hike you take photographs of everything in sight so you now have 50 pictures of donkeys and chickens.
- You learn to hate Greece without ever having been there.
- Despite not tasting the best, you get excited when you are given a крем croissant instead of the ham and ketchup variety as it is much less disgusting.
- Your not surprised when the water in your house is suddenly gone and doesn't return for a few days.
- You log into Facebook and discover you have 8 new Macedonian Facebook friends and you don't know any of them.
- You've figured out how to drink just the right amount of coffee so you aren't chewing the grounds.
- You've discovered that mixing Sudafed and ракија is the perfect cure for a cold.
- While on a walk, you are offered coffee by people you don't know.
- You have to walk less that two minutes to find yet another gorgeous view of this country.
- During class you sometimes break into fits of laughter out of no reason other than exhaustion.
- You agree to questions in Macedonian without knowing what they mean, later to realize you just told someone you that you hate them.
- You have had at least four marriage proposals.
- You watch your host siblings creeping on your Facebook profile and "liking" every picture of yours while you are in the room.
- You are given flowers by a Turkish girl that you just met while her mother is yelling to her to ask if you have a boyfriend.
- Even when speaking in English to other PCTs, you throw in a few Macedonian words that have become staples in your vocabulary.
- You have random dance parties and break into song whenever the moment allows.
- You have been frustrated multiple times by the direct and indirect objects in Macedonian.
- You are comfortable walking through random people's yards.
- You have seen more animal's getting it on in the broad daylight on the main street than you ever have before.
- You embarrassed yourself trying to learn the Оро, but that doesn't stop you from trying again.
- You have experienced the ајвар making process....all 10 hours of it.
- You have people standing outside your house yelling your family member's names because they can see you through the window.
- You wake up to roosters crowing, you eat lunch while roosters are crowing, and you go to sleep with roosters crowing as the roosters have no sense of time.
- You wear your jacket, hat, and scarf in the house because even with a fire going, you are still freezing.