We have all made it through one entire week of training! A lot of Power Points, homework and training sessions are now under our belt. It is still hard to believe that I am actually here but on the flip side it feels like I have been living in Pajove longer than a just seven days!
Learning Albanian is hard. I have started to accept that I am probably always going to feel somewhat behind in our language lessons. There is so much to learn and just not enough time to do it! Considering that I didn’t know any Shqip less than two weeks ago, I need to keep reminding myself that I am doing alright.
We have language training six days out of the week along with other cross cultural sessions and for me health education seminars. Alongside of that we are expected to spend time with our host families and study during the evening. I feel like I am in college again as I try to juggle this busy schedule and figure out how to fit everything in. Our one day off tomorrow is supposed to rain. I hope the rain makes me feel like studying Shqip!
My host family is amazing and I think our personalities mesh quite well. They are not overbearing and don’t mind if I am out during the day or spending time studying at the cafe in town. It allows me to keep some of my independence and that will probably help keep me sane over these next ten weeks. I have found that I really enjoy having host sisters. Growing up with two brothers is such a different experience compared to being around girls. My host sisters are 7 and 15 and I hope I can be a good role model for them. I am going to teach them how to make chocolate chip cookies and brownies since they are chocoholics like me! I am glad times are changing in Albania for women and the traditional gender roles. The modern world is slowly making its way over here and you can see small improvements being made.
The produce here is amazing and I cannot wait to have my own place so that I can control a little more of what I am eating. The food here is good but I will say it again and again through this blog I am sure; there is too much oil and salt!! I started to feel like oil was seeping through my pores today so I finally got my butt outside to go for a run. A friend from the town close to ours went with me and it felt so GOOD to get some exercise!! The views are beautiful here and running in the hills is a good change of pace for me compared to North Dakota.
Yes, people do stare at you when you run but if you wave and say hello they always return your greeting. It is not normal for them to see people running for fun and so you can’t blame the stares. I am here to promote health and what better way to do that then to set a good example. My host family saw that I had went for a run and asked me at dinner if I was on a diet. They don’t think I eat enough and so they concluded that I must be dieting. You would not believe the serving size that they are giving me, I would never be able to eat all of that! I need to start taking pictures of my meals so that I can emphasize my point! Luckily I am still getting the same meal for breakfast; 2 hard boiled eggs and an apple/orange/ basket of fruit that my grandma tries to make me eat!
Our chocolate chip cookie experience turned out to be more of an experiment. We were at the market with our Albanian dictionary trying to figure out if we were buying the right ingredients. The ingredients we buy here are different than that of what we get in the states so I think we will have to try a few recipes to find one that turns out perfect! I can’t say I will mind trying out different cookie recipes though. 🙂
One week into our ten week training and I can honestly say that I am enjoying myself. I have a great group of people in the same boat as me and I can’t tell you how much it helps to make this process easier. I am trying to soak up every new day and experience that I am having and so far there has not been a dull moment.