2 Months…and Everything is About to Change…

This past week I met my new host family and the school I am going to be working at for the next two years. It was a very chaotic and overwhelming experience.  I met everyone in the school and the satellite school (a school that is the same school, but just in a different town).  I don’t think I can say anyone’s name from the school besides my director and my main counterpart.  There were so many names.  It would be one thing if these names I was familiar with.  These names are in Albanian, Arabic, or Turkish. I may be in language class 5 times a week, but these names are completely foreign. I will need to practice their names a thousand times in order to get them accurately and confidently.

My host family: I have one host brother, one host sister, one host mother, and one host father…and apparently a grandmother who hops from one house to another. My host brother lives in Austria and I skyped him for several minutes, his english is absolutely amazing!  I will see him come summertime. My host sister is 15 years old and treated me like a sister from the very beginning.  I see movie watching, painting nails, and late night conversations in the future with her.  She is eager to have a sister and I am eager to have a friend and sister.  My host mother has a huge job.  The house is massive and so her time is occupied in keeping up with the size.  My host father is a construction owner and so wakes up early and is wearing outfits I am very familiar with in the manual labor professions in America.  

My host family’s house is absolutely amazing.  It is large and very elegant.  They gave me quiet a large room and I am going to savor that space come winter!

The Albanian dialect in Tetovo is extremely different to the dialect spoken in Rromanli.  I honestly did not know what my host family was asking me or telling me…most of the time.  My Albanian teacher in PST–Edi–reassured me with time I will be back on my feet gliding in the language.  I sure hope he is right because I felt downright stupid during the visit.  My Albanian is very little at this point, but at least with my current host family I feel like I understand a little. 

My school is extremely excited to have a volunteer. I went to every classroom and introduced myself in Albanian and English.  I can’t wait to get started!

It felt weird to be without the volunteers for a couple of days and this is just the beginning. I will need to go months without seeing some of the close relationships I have developed over the past couple of months. Its amazing what great friendships I have made and it really does take me back to my wonderful time studying abroad in Ghana.  My travel buddies in Ghana I still think of and I only wish they could join me now in my journey. 🙂

Athletics.  Women in my new placement don’t exercise.  There is no time for them to exercise.  They have to cook and clean constantly.  I want to change this perspective, but I have to do so in a way that is safe. There are violent dog packs in my area and men that see women running as flaunting what they have. It is going to be a daily battle, but I want to be able to take care of my health and sanity. During my placement interview they asked what I valued.  My health and well-being will always be number one.  If I am not well, then nobody around me will get the successful impacts. I will keep you updated on this fitness journey.  As a collegiate athlete my health is important.

In preparing for the transition to my new host family I have been going on a couple of hikes to get a taste of nature before the winter weather engulfs my everyday activities.  This past weekend I went on a hike in Lake Matka.  It was absolutely paradise.  I plan on going back as much as possible because the relaxation and peace I felt fill my body was priceless.

I only have three more weeks with my current host family.  They have been everything and more.  They treat me as one of their daughters/sisters and I truly will cry when I leave.  I know I can lean on them for support and I know I am always welcome in their home. My host brother is hilarious. He is a ball of energy that can take on the world.  My host sister is going to be a brilliant dentist soon.  Sunday night her and I had a wonderful heart-to-heart.  We watched The Secret Life of Bees, one of my favorite films, as we ate chocolate and I braided her hair.  I teared up during the film and she did too.  I truly love them.  I would give anything to stay with them because I know them.  I know what they like and I know how to act appropriately and they understand how much I know and how I learn successfully. Its wonderful to know I have a family here and that through the thick and thin I can turn to them and they will remark on how much I have learned when I visit–these mental boosters are so reassuring and needed throughout Peace Corps.

I am nervous and I a bit on edge about my two years.  It is not going to be easy, but I never wanted it to be. I just don’t want to leave the family I have established and I honestly don’t wait to learn a third language.

I will learn and adapt. I will grow–and I have already.

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One thought on “2 Months…and Everything is About to Change…

  1. Girl, you have gone through so many transitions and flourished with flying colors! I have no doubt that this next one will have its hills (that sometimes feel like mountains), but remember when you reach the top, the view is AMAZING! Never forget your passion! Never forget that you can do anything you put your mind to! And most importantly, never forget that I love you!!! ❤

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