You don't have to eat the cow intestine/stomach

I will try hard to keep up to date with this, but you must understand, this week is blowing by. We arrived in vienna on Monday morning, had some free internetz in the airport, bummed for hours, flew into Skopje and since then, its been a nonstop type dealie.

We are in Kumanovo. I feel comfortable saying that much. We are at a hotel and I think we serve as 24/7 entertainment for the hotel staff at the moment. We learn pidgin macedonian and then we go off practicing on any native speaker we can find. We also drink coffee about 3-4 times daily. LLLLOVEEE IT! Morning breakfast is like germany breakfast- bread, cheeses (both spreadable and pieces), the best tasting cucumbers and tomatos in this world, and Coffee. Break at 10 includes expresso. Lunch doesnt include coffee, because after all the food they feed us, there really is no room for anything else, even a liquid. Afternoon break- more expresso. Dinner- SKOPSKO. Thats macedonian beer, btw. Its quite wonderful. Nightttime- coffee in town with PCTs (Peace COrps trainees). The peace corps loves these acronyms, so now you will too.

We have been slowly learning semi-useless macedonian words. I say semi useless because they really are until we get some other words and phrases to pair them with. I've been secretly listening to my mp3 files of both albanian and macedonian to try and pick up some useful phrases like: "What is ______ in Macedonian?" "What is that" "Where is____?" "How much?" etc. My roommates might think I am a bit weird mouthing things to myself at night, possibly even wierder if they heard slight breathy and terrible versions of the things i am trying to say.

I signed up for a site placement that will include learning both Albanian and Macedonian. We will find out tomorrow who gets them. 11 spots for 11-12 interested people. Looks good. Unfortunately, there are more breakdowns depending on sector- NGO development or teaching etc. Me and Rene are in the pool. My last count put the number of NGO rivals at 3, so including myself, we each would have a placement in the dual language sites. As for learning 2 languages at once, i say BRING IT ON. thats what im here for. thats what i do. and you know what, throw on some Turkish too.

I got the hep A and typhoid vaccines today so both of my arms feel like lead. We got the security and safety briefing today, well actually, the first of MANY, and Kosovo is a no go. meh. Albania is a go. AND! Important! We are actually restricted from traveling during the first 3 months after swearing in, which instantly struck me with fear since Jenny will be in Turkey in march, but if we swear in on the 12th of december, we will be clear on march 12. so that is still hopeful.

By the way, Macedonians do not function on time. They do not plan for specific dates. Things happen when they happen. Ima vreme-there is time.

I'm excited to get into the homestay. I think i am not nervous because Ive already had the homestay experience in germany and well, some of the AWKWAAAARD moments that happened there cannot be topped. for example, coming down to use the bathroom in the night and finding not only my host mother darting down the hallway naked, but her man friend naked in the bathroom as well. At least germans are not easily embarassed, thats all i can say. Chances are good that if i get this dual placement with an Albanian (muslim) family, nudity will not be a concern.

I'm going to leave it there for now, i dont want to spend more than 30 mins at the cafe, ill start writing entries ahead of time on my laptop and bring them with me.

Prijatno! (goodbye!)

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