Whoops, It’s been a minute

HEEEEEEEEY, sorry I’ve been dark for so long! the last three months have been crazy! and I promise to catch you all up on it in some throw back posts! But let me keep it current and tell you what is going on with me RIGHT. NOW!

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Lumit (river) Çorovodë

Well, I Got to my permanent site a week ago yesterday! So technically this is my 7th day waking up in Çorovodë! First, I want to try to express to you all how unbelievably beautiful Çorovodë is:

Imagine you are walking around in a 19th century fairy tail town, you have two beautiful chalky blue rivers that bubble along over rocks and stones under various hanging bridges (which are one of the very few things that remind you you’re actually in real life). you look up and there are countless old style stone stairways, some of which, curls slowly up the side of the mountain like the wisps of smoke coming from the lokals below (restaurant, coffee, bar shops that are literally everywhere). As you walk up one of these staircases you can hear the tricking of these little springs that the people of Çorovode have carved around to form a sort of drinking fountain, and you can see countless roses and other fragrant flowers. Once you make it up one of these staircases you look out over the town below and at the mountains that surround this town on 3 if not all sides and your senses are overtaken by the vibrance of the colors surrounding you. There’s the poppy colored bashkia (municipality), my purple apartment building, the many colored shops, the white-grey streets that wind through the town in anything but a straight line, the emerald mountains that seem to have risen out of the ground overnight with their lushly jagged teeth meeting an almost-always-sunny blue sky. Without fail you can find at least two of the following: a sheep, cow, goat, turtle, lizard, or  goat calmly grazing in a field, and especially if you have food one of the many community dogs or cats strolling along.

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Water fountains and one of the many staircases

So yeah, Çorovode is absolutely beautiful.

So what did I do my first week?

Well: I spoke a lot of shqiplish, got introduced to so many classes of students I can basically recite in shqip all of what my counterpart tells about me (she really enjoys introducing me so I let her…I’m also still pretty limited with my speaking and my accent is pretty strong). I was invited, on the fly, to come up with games to play not once but 5 FIVE times!!!! I led a gym class with all of 3 days notice (we played sharks and minnows because it’s SUPER simple). And I spent a ridiculous amount of time complaining that I don’t have an oven…It’s a huge deal for someone who put on literally all of their aspiration statements how much she likes to cook, wants to learn more about cooking, and LOVES FOOD. Like. A LOT. Plus I can’t support my love of pizza on this peace corps budget without one….

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A group of students after one of the summer camp discussion sessions

All stressful situations aside, I got to do a lot of fulfilling and useful things.

1. I met with most of the teachers and am well on my way to knowing all their names.

2. I bought a mop and cleaning supplies (today) so I can keep up my new place.

3. I got to meet my wonderful site mate and we made fried chicken on Friday to celebrate my survival of the school week!

4. I have unpacked! a feat that for some can only be a far off dream….now to say I’m organized would be a hugely misleading statement as I have only managed to group things in rough estimates of where they ought to go. I can attribute this to the fact that its crazy stressful to move to a town with only one other Peace Corps Volunteer and I’m attempting to get used to a lack of storage in my apartment. Albanians are minimalist but even by Albanian standards this place is a little short on options (read: I have a wardrobe and a side table in the bedroom, small bookcase/storage tv table, coffee table, and two cabinets in the kitchen, end of list).

5. I have located very importantly, the cheese shop which sells two cheeses: say melty cheese and crumbly white non melty cheese (just writing this I had a flashback to my top cheesey cheese moments…I miss you cheddar (and the cheese aisle in every store, market, and specialty shop! don’t you ever change…unless you’re kraft singles…please, just admit you’re not cheese and you don’t belong next to the MVP’s like feta, gouda, sharp cheddar, brie etc.

6. I have also found that the bazaar comes to town on Saturdays (just like my first love garage sales) and its RIGHT. OUTSIDE. MY. APARTMENT. *thank you goddess of thriftiness*

7. I have, at the behest of nearly every student in my 9 year school, created a suggestion box for the summer camp that all my students knew I was doing before i did. I’m honestly super excited that these students are so eager to let me lead them…and hopefully teach them a thing or two.

8. I have also already gotten the kids’ opinions on what they would like to name the camp and I’ve had several inquiries as to when the camp will be so they can make sure to attend! Shout out to my amazing counterpart who has got to be the reason behind their excitement and motivation.

9. I have gotten to sleep in on a Saturday!!!! (more on that later).

10. I have been asked to put together a celebration for the national day of children with the special needs school and the 4th grade class at my 9 year school.

Alright, well I’ve got to get back to planning, organizing and writing up a few more of these posts to catch y’all up! ‘Til next time (sooner than the last I promise)!

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