Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away....

It has been raining every day for the past two weeks and after I thought long and hard about building an ark, it stopped! The sun is out and shining and I plan on doing laundry (which will be very exciting!). Anyways, it's nice to finally have some good weather. It's been a long two weeks.
Another happy thing is that I think I have a masive project about to start. When I was back home in September I gave a presentation to my old high school. One of my former teachers was very excited to be able to do anything for me so they held a drive to collect clothes, shoes and school supplies for me to distribute to the Roma children. Their drive went very well and they collected over 20 boxes of stuff. Then it was on me to figure out how to get the stuff to the kids. After talking to some people in the community we came up with an idea....
We're going to build a new kindergarden! It will be just for the Roma children so that they can preserve their own culture while learning Albanian so that they can really integrate into society and have a brighter future then their parents could've ever hopped for. I am very excited about this!
On April 8th, we plan on having a concert in honor of the National Day for Roma Communities. Roma children will sing and put on a short drama. After the concert they will be given things that were sent her from my old high school. The proceeds from the concert will go towards the new kindergarden. To finance the rest of the project I'm hoping to do a Peace Corps Partnership Grant. Basically 25% of the project funded by my community here in Lezha and the rest coming from people back home.
We still have a lot to talk about and we have to figure it out fast. I know that this will be a great project as long as I can get the support I need from my community here and at home. I'm just hoping the sun stays out to keep my spirits high!
Hugs to you all,

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oh the Places You'll Go...

Happy New Year's!!!! What a few weeks I have had! My time in Bangkok was amazing. Here are some of the hi-lites... I got to Bangkok and after checking in at my hotel it was off to the hospital for my first appointment. Well the dentist ended up removing my lower right wisdom tooth right then and there! It wasn't too bad except I was awake during it and could hear them drilling and the sound of my tooth cracking. Yuck. The next few days I just kinda lounged around to get used to the time and enjoy the comforts of air conditioning and t.v.

On my first Saturday I went on a temple tour and saw the Temple of the Dawn, Wat-Po (home to the reclining Buddha) and the Marble Temple. My favorite was definitly the Temple of the Dawn. It was breathtaking and absolutely the most beautiful thing I have ever seen! Wat-Po was beautiful in it's own way. The cool thing about Wat-Po was the line of buckets it had to collect 1 Baht coins that people dropped in for good luck. The Marble Temple was also cool and it is also a school for munks. There was a guy undergoing the ceremony to become a monk while I was there. Definitely cool.
On Sunday I went to some of the sights around downtown. I saw the Victory Monument and walked around the shopping district there. Then I went to Siam Center and was in awe at the stores you could find there. Versace, Gucci, Dolce & Gabanna just to name a few... Way above my per diem amounts. I did however enjoy McDonalds (known as McThai in Thailand).
That Monday I had both of my wisdom teeth on the left removed. Again not a pleasant situation as I was awake and could hear it all happening. The pain lasted a lot longer with those two. I didn't do much at all on Tuesday or Wednesday to prepare for my Christmas excursion on Thursday. I was picked up from my hotel at 6 am and we were off to the floating market. Probably one of the coolest things ever! A must see if you find yourself in Thailand. After that it was off to a snake show, then to a handicraft outlet, then lunch on the River Kwai (gorgeous!), then we stopped at a cemetary, and then it was time for what I had waited for - the Tiger Temple!!! We got there in time to pet the tigers before they were walked back to their enclosures for the night. It was awesome! We made one final stop at the World World II Museum before heading back to the hotel for the night. It was probably the coolest thing I could've done while in Bangkok on Christmas and I will never forget it.
The rest of my time in Bangkok was just wandering around and I left on the 28th. I was happy when I landed in Tirana that there wasn't snow on the ground. It was cold, but there wasn't snow. New Year's Eve I spent in Durres with two other volunteers. It was insane!!! People buy fireworks and just shoot them off where ever they feel like it. We had a blast though.
Now I'm getting back into the swing of things around Lezhe. It feels good to be back here and I'm excited for my projects that I have coming up. If I could change one thing it would be having heat in my house but hey now, that's what being a Peace Corps volunteer is all about right? If anything it's making my skin thicker. Alright time to do some work. I hope you all have had great holidays and a great New Year's!
Hugs to you all!