PST is an incredibly busy time. I dont even have time to daydream during language class, my favorite past time during school. Sometimes I feel like I’m back in middle school; I wake up at 6:30, eat breakfast (sometimes yogurt, or preserves, or eggs and bread, etc), walk ten minutes to school with the other kids, and wait for the bell to ring for class. My class is a cool cement closet space that fits the hour other HE trainees, my teacher, and the extra chemistry supplies. It doesn’t sound like much, but this space occupies a significant portion of my life and is a space I’m growing to love.
Language classes go on for about four hours (when the mouths learning Shqip don’t have the muscles needed to produce the sounds, you cannot help but laugh at the noise that is produced), then the other hours of school are dedicated to learning about various Albanian culture and health topics. For today’s lesson, we met with the minister or public health and attended a 7th and 3rd grade bio class.
After school, I usually walk with a couple classmates to the cafe/bar (where I am now) and use the internet (uploading photos is especially hard, so excuse with me). Mostly men and the fog of smoke are some things I’m sure I’ll eventually get used to. Family, if I smell, it’s not my fault. Afterwards, if it’s not too dark, we go and play some futbol.
At 8 or 9, familja ima makes dinner (mostly vegetarian, as the price of mishe is costly, and almost always salty - I miss my low sodium diet). At ten I do some homework and head to bed only to have it start the next morning. I find myself wanting to tell you of all the fantastic things I see and what I do, but alas my time is limited. Make sure to ask questions or e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me tales of home.
Yesterday, after quite a bit of traveling, we arrived in Tirana and took a two-hour bus to Elbasan. It’s so beautiful here. I’ve got Albanian phone, my leke, and it’s already starting to feel like home. Of course, I’m still in a hotel awaiting the move to my host family on Sunday. Tonight, my biggest task is to stop saying “I am America.” Une jam nga Americka, silly.
This morning I woke up, after nine hours of sleep (desperately needed), to the reality that I’m officially in the Peace Corps (albeit as a trainee). Yesterday was rough. Saying goodbye to family was by far the hardest of the events and I’m pretty sure it was the first time in my life I felt physically ill from nerves. Despite resistance from me and my heavy bags I made it to DC and immediately fell to sleep (probably a good thing, as when there’s the slightest chance to be homesick I prefer to be with others or asleep).
Orientation events didn’t start until noon, awaiting the arrival of the other PC trainees, so I had the morning to relax and take in this city. By now DC feels like a second home or something. Between my trip to DC in February to visit dear friends and my trip last week, being here seems very normal.
All 44 (I think) gathered in the hotel to begin orientation. Lots of safety training and what to expect upon arrival (expect nothing), mingling and bonding activities. There are so many things to learn! Seven hours later, I’m filled to the brim with information that I fear I might forget. I feel so much more secure. Things are set; I have flights, I know my fellow volunteers, I know where I’m going and what I’ll be doing and all is well.
Photos will come eventually…celebrating my last night in the US with my fellow trainees has made me too tired, and I’m afraid it’s beyond my abilities. Tomorrow I catch a flight to Albania and the process continues!
OMG Ihaveonedayleft. As soon as I opened my eyes this morning, those are the only words I could create. I could care less about daylight savings, it lost me an hour of this busiest of days. My room looks like no packing has been completed, copious amounts of laundry must be done, paperwork must be signed, sealed, delivered, emergency Albanian must be learned written down, hugs must be given, and oh so much more.
I’ve done this to myself. I procrastinate, like right now, and it’s what makes my life so entertaining. This week, I’ve spent my time on things that matter more; things I love, things I will miss, and things that give me happiness as the looming date of my departure comes near. Like the sounds of the morning song sparrows and other soundscapes of the PNW, puzzles, family, more puzzles, reading and watching the weather change, and visiting with friends and family.
Today is the start of a new week. I’ve bottled up the above things to take with me (metaphorically, of course) and can now focus on the many requirements before departure. Ready…Go!