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 it...it 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.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I have arrived in Macedonia (or Македонија in Macedonian). It has been a great experience so far. We were the first group ever to arrive in the new Alexander the Great Airport (opened only days before we landed) in the capital of Skopje and there were lots of current PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) and Peace Corps Staff there to meet us. Our luggage was loaded into a semi-truck and the 36 weary travelers onto a school bus and driven to our first training site, approximately half an hour from the capital. We are staying at a hotel here in Kumanovo until Friday when we leave for our training communities and our host families.
We have had trainings on medical (same diseases as USA), safety and security (stay away from the dogs and don't pet them and stay vigilant), language (I can now introduce myself in Macedonian), and ethnically diverse Macedonia (home to Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Roma as the main groups) to name just a little of what we have learned thus far.
My fellow MAK-16ers are amazing. Everyone comes from a different background and brings lots of unique skills and experiences to the table. Our group has people from Washington, Kansas, Washington D.C., Georgia, Texas, California, Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Oregon, New York, and many other states. We collectively speak 13 different languages (or around that number). We have top business executives who quit their jobs and people fresh from college. The age of our group ranges from 21 to people in their 60s. However, we all are here with three common goals (and they happen to be the Peace Corps goals): 1. Helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, 2. Helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and 3. Helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
One of the girls in our group has been creating a series of short videos about life in Macedonia so far. There is one video from the airport and one from the first few days in Kumanovo. For some of the new followers, there is an awesome YouTube video that was created by a former volunteer, but its content has excited many of us.