Kombi to Kumanovo

I shared the community 'bus' to town with my fellow trainees today. We got out at a market at a place that i thought i recognized- apparently i did not.

I took the scavenger hunt route (thats a real concept, we had a scavenger hunt of kumanovo back during orientation week and that was the only way i could find my destination. it was a scenic route to the Dom na Kultur. this isnt too abnormal in macedonia actually. there are no street numbers and although there are street names, no one knows em. so when you need to get somewhere, people use visual cues, even when directing taxis. i was looking for the Euro College. I was to meet my practikum partner and go to DAJA, an NGO for Roma women. We will be working there 2 hours per day, 2 days a week to get a feel for the working life of a non profit in macedonia. it should be interesting. Our counterpart, Dilbera, wasnt in when we finally found the place, but we delivered our letter and we expect to get phone calls for a time to meet in the near future.

i learned how to play bridge last night with my host family. mitat, arjad and ferxhan showed me the game. i say 'know how to play' in a very light way. i still have no clue how to count points and some of the other finer aspects of play, but it was fun. the bridge game grew out of a quick idea to play tic tac toe with Arife, one of the cousins who was sitting all alone as the boys crowded around the computer and the women talked over chai tea. you dont need language to play tic tac toe. suddenly everyone was into playing tic tac toe and it went on for a good half hour.

i also had an amusing milk/dairy situation arise. during training last week, Dr. Mimi said not to consume dairy that was unpasturized. ok. well, in the past week, i had not heard cow mooing. then, bam, there are obviously cows in one of the sheds surrounding the 'driveway' type area. that night, Razija plunks down a glass of fresh milk from a jar. im not sure how to proceed. i tell Arjad that peace corps told me not to drink milk that wasnt from a carton and he said thats fine.

then, there was yogurt. Razija put a container of yogurt on the table and i figured, ok its good, it came from a labeled plastic container that says YOGURT, but in Macedonian and Albanian and Language X. I eat some and Arjad looks at me funny. The yogurt, apparently, comes from the same cow the milk comes from. As in, the one in the shed out front. So, score one for heidi, total cultural miscommunication. (ps. the yogurt and cheese is amazing! i can taste the cow it came from, no lie.)

Sunday we had a meet and greet pony show to take all of us to each other's homestays. It was an 8 hour coffee, rakije (brandy/moonshine), Koka Kola, fanta, seltzer water, wine and yummies fest. Eight hours for 6 houses. The 6th house was our teacher's house, which is amazing. he is renting from an older couple and when they saw us, they came over with their homemade wine and chocolate goodies. My host mom made Byrek, it was fantastic. she makes all the bread for the house, she makes me ayvar n eggs for breakfast. Thankfully, the village is all hills and mountains, so im (believe it or not) losing weight throughout this adventure.

im going to find a way to post some pics and a video of folk dancing, so im going to cut this entry short. Hope you are all doing well in the US.



Anonymous said...

Your counterpart Dilbert?

Anonymous said...

Bridge is just like hearts or spades, but the trunp suit changes based on the bidding at the start of the round.

Kait said...

hey heidi! your family seems cute, like american game night in macedonia. those language skillz are coming in handy! what are the other PCs like? life's good here-- the phillies are winning!!

Gillian said...

kleister!!! love reading your blog!!! words can't describe how awesome it is that we are all going through this together.