Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I will go where the wind blows me...

Well it has been another few weeks since my last post but I have been a busy girl! On the 4th we had the first meeting of the Lezhe Womens Club. There were probably about 40 women who showed up! It was definitly amazing to see so many women show up. The meeting was held at the Cafe Drini, which is owned by a women and she offered to let all the attendees have free drinks after the meeting. I had to dash out a little early because I had a meeting with my parents on Skype. It was so nice to see them and my aunt, uncle and two cousins. I miss those little rascals! Anyway, later that night we had a party at Winifred's and we ate, drank and had a great time (even without fireworks).

On the 5th we headed off to Tirana for the party at the Embassy. The food was ok but it was nice to see everyone again. It was so weird to walk into the housing complex for the ambassador and other Americans. It was like walking into suburbia in the middle of Albania. I did get to meet a lot of interesting people from the embassy and other Americans who call Albania home for the moment. When we were hearded out of the embassy compound we headed for "the block". There was more drinking, dancing and just an overally good time. I was lucky enough to go back to Tirana for 3 days for a USAID training and was put up in the Hotel Diplomat. I was in heaven! My room had air conditioning, I had a full size bed, a tv and a shower that felt like a waterfall. Oh I was sad to leave.

This last weekend was also busy. On Friday, Rob (a volunteer from Shkoder) came down to Lezhe and we went to Shengjin with five others from my bashkia and we went to a grand opening of a new hotel. There was a live band, a buffett and the guys bought all my drinks so I didn't pay a cent! The next day, I met women from the Lezhe womens club and we had coffee followed by an excursion to Vain, one of Lezhe's lagoons. The restaurant we went to was right on the water and the food was great. I really am enjoying getting to know the women. When we got back, Bethany, Rob and I headed to the beach for the rest of the day. Then on Sunday, I met people from the bashkia again and we headed off to Shkoder on a mini van we rented for the day. We got to our destination and we played volleyball, hiked around a little, took a lot of pictures and just enjoyed time together. I love the people I work with and I'm really happy that they are not too much older than me because I love seeing them outside of work. Anyway, we spent the entire day out in this village and when we got back it felt good to relax!

This whole work I am at work and actually beginning to get small projects. I am helping the manager of a hotel in Shengjin with promotional materials, I'm helping the manager of a transportation service with his website, I'm going to be working on writing two different grants, one with USAID and one with the bashkia here in Lezhe. I'm beginning to find my place here and I couldn't be happier :)

Keep your eyes open for more posts later!
Leslie :)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

On the Road Again....

Out of the three weeks I have now lived in Lezhe, I have been in site about 12 of those days. The first weekend I went to Tirana, Vlore and Dhermi. Tirana was just for fun and boy did I have fun!! Not having a bar close is the best thing ever!! On our way to the Tourism Committee meeting in Dhermi we spent a night in Vlore. Vlore is gorgeous and it is big! You actually have to take a city bus to get from one side to another! Yes, I was in shock too :) However, Vlore has nothing on Dhermi. Dhermi is the most spectacular beach I have ever seen. The water was bluer than blue and so clear!! It was amazing to just float around. Seriously, everyone needs to go to Dhermi.

This last weekend I went to Pogradec and Erseke. In Pogradec we had a gaby party which was basically everyone dressing up in the most ridiculous outfits ever but we had a blast. The club we went to is right on Lake Ohrid and there was lightning in the distance which was just awesome! We went to Erseke to hike through the gorge which if anyone is looking for a little adventure, come to Erseke! The gorge is not only beautiful but if you hike through the whole thing, the rapids get a little dangerous but fun like no other! Those of us who had ventured down from the north, took a 3 am bus back to Tirana. I got back to Lezhe in the early evening on Sunday.

Tomorrow is the 4th and we are having a party here in Lezhe and going to a party at the American Embassy in Tirana on Saturday. It should be fun. And I get to go back to Tirana for 3 days next week for a USAID training. This summer is going to fly by with all this stuff going on. I'm loving the traveling as it gives me something to do and I just love to travel! My trip home to the US for my brothers wedding is going to come fast! Well that's about it for now. I hope everyone is having a great summer! Be grateful for your air conditioning if you have it, because it is HOT here and air conditioning is nowhere to be found.....