Ok, ne problem.

Week one is over.

It went pretty fast and I have to say I’m not having a hard time adjusting or anything. My relationships with my host family members are getting richer all the time and I can’t wait to talk to them in Albanian. My hypothesis for why I am not freaking out is that I’m not particularly attached to any particular way of life. Shower without a curtain or showerhead holder? Ok no problem. Each strange food at every meal? No problem. Iron my underwear? Ok no problem. (Yes, they do that. There is decent reasoning too. Ironing serves as a way of sterilizing air dried clothes.) Being around people all the time? Surprisingly, no problem.

Im taking everything as it comes. Nothing has gotten me to the point of hysterics and I am skeptical that I will get there at all. Maybe once im on my own in skopje. I trust my host family implicitly, so much so that it does scare me a bit that I never once considered the fact that I am completely reliant on them.

I went to Cherkese today to meet Razija’s family. Razija was happy to drive the car. I had a great time with her family. And, I came home with the following in my bag: A Chicken Leg and a Package of Pantyhose. I didn’t eat lunch before we went to Cherkese because I had a feeling I would end up being offered about 10 different food items and about 5 glasses of regular Koka Kola. So we get there and round 1 is soda and Turkish coffee. Round 2 is soda refill, even though I declined. Round 3 is eat cookies. Round 4 is eat freshly cut melon (very yummy). Round 5 is eat chunks of strange, tart pears, compared to US pears, dipped in straight up sugar. Round 6 is someone pushing a bowl of seeds in my direction and me pretending not to see them. Round 7, more soda. Round 8- CHICKEN LEGS? That one came from left field. All of a sudden, I hear the word “Puhle” or however it is spelled and I know that means chicken. Then voila! Two Chicken legs are in front of me, on a left over foil bag from a snack mix. Well, I ate a leg. I don’t have enough Albanian skillz to politely decline and Razija tells me to eat it. No one else is eating anything so this is totally awwwwkwaard. After the one, I say thank you. Then, Albanian conversation directed at me, which amuses me since everyone knows I have no clue whats being said. The English speakers then tell me to take the other leg home! I try to say no, but that didn’t work any better than my other attempts at ‘jo’. So, I re-wrap the leftover leg of chicken in the snack mix foil and toss it in my bag.

On the way out, Razija’s sister in law shakes my hand, we exchange “diten e mir”s, and then she tucks a small box of knee high pantyhose into my hand. Why? I have no idea. I saw her and Razija’s mom pointing at my feet earlier, I was wearing black socks. Maybe girls don’t wear socks? I don’t know. But I now have some extra knee-hi pantyhose.

To get to Cherkese from Romanovce, you have to go through Kumanovo, if you are driving. There is a walking path to Cherkese, but it takes about 45 mins to walk and you need a big stick to ward off stray dogs. We roll back into Kumanovo after visiting and its shopping time. We pull up onto the sidewalk, that’s how you park your car in the Balkans, by the big market. As we walk toward the market, Razija checks the prices of peppers and tomatoes and eggplant from street vendors. I know what this means: Ayvar. Its ayvar time! Ayvar is this delicious spread that I have been eating for breakfast this week and I will definitely bring it back to the US. Razija cooks scrambled eggs and then mixes in ayvar. Yummms. After perusing the market, we walk back to the car and Razija buys her vegetables in bulk. I’ve never seen someone buy so much vegetables at once for non-commercial consumption. The peppers are now chilling out in the courtyard area drying.

After buying vegetables, we went to the stores to look for a huge pot/pan. Its gigantic. I’ll try to take a picture of it. I noticed that the store has all of the furnishings I’ve seen in our house or the houses of people we visit: the bedspread on my bed, the chai glasses, the bread dough plastic tub, the light fixtures. Everything.

We head over to the Musli Market and Razija charades to me that I can get anything I need with my money while we are here. We also meet a relative of Benson’s host family who works there AND speaks English. She helps me find tea bags, but there were no boxes of black tea. I wanted to make iced tea. I settled for mint tea.

I just got back tonight from another house for coffee/tea. The family had satellite tv and the father put BBC on. Well, can someone clue me in on what is going on in the global economy? I’m having the time of my life here in this fun little village but it looks like the rest of the world is falling apart financially. British banks are biting the dust? Are we totally screwed?