Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thash i themi.......

Thash i themi is "blah blah blah" in Albanian. There's no one clear subject of this post and I enjoy saying "thash i themi" so there you go. Anyway, a few things to catch everyone up on.

This last Friday, the American Ambassador and German Ambassador came to Lezha to discuss the "Klodi fenominom". For those of you who have no idea what this is, a little background... On the show "Big Brother" this season there is a guy from Lezha who announced a few weeks back that he is gay. There were several protests in Lezha about the fact that he's from Lezha - not that he's gay but from Lezha. Anyway, the protests were followed by threats to him and his family. The American Ambassador has supported him and his family through this whole thing and on Friday came to show his support for Klodi (Klodi by the way is still on the show and has no idea that any of this is going on). So, after the deputy mayor of Lezha gave a welcoming speech and a brief history of the tolerance usually found in Lezha, Klodi's mom spoke, as well as the mayor of the region of Lezha, then the American Ambassador, the German Ambassador then a representative from the ministry in Tirana, and finally the police chief of Lezha.

Overall their messages were very well said and I think it may impact several community members. Community members were given an opportunity to speak their minds as well and most of them had positive things to say. Only one old man was really negative about the whole situation. I was incredibly proud of one of the members of our Youth Parliment, Xhulio. He is a big glimpse of hope in this country and I'm glad he was able to show that to the ambassador.

This weekend I had two trainees come and visit me in Lezha to see what volunteer life is like and to get a little break from training. I met them in Tirana and after an American breakfast we headed into Lezha. The weather was wonderful and we decided to hike up to the castle. Peter and the trainees (Matthew, Terry and Tiffany) all climbed the walls into the castle while I chilled on the outside. It was very amusing for me to get to watch :) That night I made everyone tacos and the trainees got to experience their first Albanian disco! Good times as always. On Sunday, after a delicious french toast breakfast, we went to Shengjin to have a relaxing Easter on the beach. I twisted my ankle so I just watched as they played frisbee. We had an amazing seafood lunch before heading back into Lezha to have a lazy afternoon. Yesterday, we showed them the ropes. We went to Peter's office at the Department of Agriculture and then to the bashkia. After spending time in the social work office, development office, urban planning, foreign affairs, and meeting the mayor we headed off to have a coffee. We are after all introducing them to what life is like for volunteers. For lunch, we went to Ylli and enjoyed some traditional Albanian dishes. Then we enjoyed another lazy afternoon. I taught them all the fun Albanian words to impress their host families and language teachers with :) Last night they had the honor of experiencing Albanian blackouts. My power was flicking on and off every few seconds and then stayed off for an hour or so. We ate mac & cheese by candlelight and then when the power came back on, we decided to watch a movie with the candles on.

Today the trainees left after getting to see the day center for children with handicaps, experiencing the bank after its been closed for a long weekend, and had a coffee with my Lezha dad. Overall, I think they got a good glimpse of what volunteer life really is like here in Albania. I know they enjoyed being able to speak English all the time after being with Albanians most of the time for the past 2 weeks. This weekend I will head down to Elbasan to meet the rest of group 13. I have to figure out who's going to come to Lezha to replace me. So I think that catches you up on this past week. Oh, one last thing....... my hands are pink from Easter eggs! Thash i themi :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

They say you can't live without water.......

I have not had water in my apartment for 2 days now. Usually it will go out for a few hours and then come back. The longest it was out before was 1 day. Now we're going on 3 so I'm losing my patience. The dishes are piling up in my sink, my laundry is waiting to be rinsed out and hung up to dry, and I need to shower. All I want is like an hour of water and then it can go out again... is that too much to ask?!!

On another utility note, I went to pay for my electricity today and found out that the contract that I have been paying for is for someone else. After about an hour, it was all figured out. I've been paying too much! I knew something was wrong when I got a December bill of 7,ooo leke! Well, after figuring out all that, I paid up for all the months that I lived at this apartment (since September) and still got money back! Whoot whoot! I went to pay for electricity and instead got money back. That's a pretty sweet deal. Hopefully there are no more screw-ups while I'm living there.

This weekend I have two trainees coming to visit me in Lezha. My sitemate, Peter, has another one coming to stay with him. So with all of us together there is bound to be a party one night, Sunday is Easter so something fun for that too, and I think I'll even share my American goodies with them :)

So with all that said, I wanna wish everyone a happy Easter and oh, today is April Fool's so get out there and fool someone!