Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thanksgiving. 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: