We are wrapping up week 7 with more free time then we have gotten in the past month. In hindsight, this is our last somewhat normal week in the few weeks remaining of PST. We have had a lot of classroom time and more time to study lately, which was much needed.
I was able to go shopping for some “new” clothes at the Gabby in Elbasan. Jill and I found a few things that were in good shape and that fit us. You have to be dedicated to sifting through the mountains and mountains of clothes but it is worth it if you end up paying $0.50 for a skirt!
As always, the ride home consisted of trying to find a furgon that would go to Pajove. Peace Corps volunteers are not allowed to drive at all during their service. We completely rely on methods of public transportation. Don’t worry mom, I haven’t resorted to hitchhiking yet! J Depending on the time of day, this can actually be quite a challenge. We ended up getting into a man’s furgon that was meant for 9 people. He was crazy and Jill and I found ourselves squished among 18 people on the ride back home. This is not uncommon and I am sure I will break that record many times over the next couple years.
Next week we are gone for the entire week. First we head to the capital of Tirana to go on a tour of the city. We head to Durres directly after that to meet our counterparts. Our counterparts are essentially our coworkers at our new sites and they are the people we will probably end up working with the most over the next couple years. My counterpart has very limited English skills I am told. A few of the volunteers will have counterparts that speak English but for the most part we are expected to rely on our newfound Shqip skills. It is going to be an interesting few days!
After we are done with the counterpart conference we head to our sites with our counterparts showing us the way. We are told to bring as much luggage as possible to our new sites since we will have an extra hand with carrying it all. I cannot wait to get to Permet and finally unpack my suitcases!
More free time has given me more time to think about missing my family and friends. I am extremely thankful that I have access to the internet and am able to email and Skype. I am also grateful to be here, which I remind myself of whenever these pangs of homesickness show up. My newfound friends and experiences that I continue to gain make this journey one of a kind.
“Truly enjoying your life usually doesn’t involve wishing for some other moment to replace this one or trying to fit as many things into this moment as possible. It involves being present, appreciate where you are and making the most of it. Often it’s not the end that we need to enjoy; it’s the small moments that make up our lives. Enjoy where you are, what you have, who you are with and all the other reasons that got you to this point. Right where you are is going to make up some of the greatest moments of your life. “
– Excerpt from Unofficial Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook