We had our language exams at the end of week nine. The exam consists of a twenty minute conversation with one of the teachers. All in shqip. No english. They ask us questions about ourselves and our life and we are expected to understand, comprehend and reply. We are then graded based on our answers. I am told that most volunteers fall into the intermediate low to intermediate mid level at the end of PST. Not going to lie, I was pretty nervous when 1:30 on Friday rolled around. I am sure I freaked my teacher out a little bit because I was staring at her so intently as I tried to understand what she was saying. They are also trained to keep smiling and nodding even if we are answering the question completely wrong or not making any sense. Needless to say, I passed, as does pretty much everyone. If you don’t pass then Peace Corps requires you to get a language tutor once you get to site. I plan on doing that anyway so I can hopefully start talking to my counterpart more and more.
Emily came to stay with my host family again this last week and it was a special event since it was her birthday.
I am starting to pick up more and more shqip and was even able to contribute to the dinner conversation. I am so lucky to have such an awesome host family. My grandparents are amazing people and they told us that they now have 5 kids (former/current volunteers) from America in their family. We ended the night by watching Mr. Bean with my host sisters. My little sister, Brikena told me it was her favorite show the other week. It is the perfect thing for us to watch together since there is very little talking. I am looking forward to moving to Permet and having my own place but I am really going to miss my new family here!
I found out from my new sitemate that she found me an apartment to live in! I am no longer homeless and it is a fantastic feeling. It even has a decent kitchen which means I will be able to cook again soon!! I will be able to unpack my suitcases in a matter of days. Words cannot describe how excited that makes me! Hopefully once I am there I won’t be woken up every morning by noisy baby turkeys and chickens!
I am told by the rest of my group members that I have a relatively thick ND accent. That is probably not the coolest accent one could have but oh well. A few people seem to be regularly entertained by the way I talk. I’m hoping that is why Albanians sometime laugh at me when I talk to them in shqip. So far there isn’t an Albanian I have met that knows where North Dakota is. I have started saying I am from ND, close to Canada. That usually sparks some sort of recognition.
I only have four days left of training and then I will officially swear in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. It is hard to believe I have lived here for almost ten weeks already. I have already made so many memories with wonderful new friends. I can’t wait to see what the next two years will hold!