Saturday, February 28, 2009

Picture redux

So, I don't have any new, interesting things to blog about, but I do have plenty of pictures. Starting with...drum roll...a rare picture of ALL the Georgia transfers...even Travis.

Here are a few pictures from my last trip to Butrint. (By trip I mean, 10 minute jaunt, of course, haha) I really, really need to get on posting something meaningful...or at the very least a little bit informative about Butrint. It is, by far, my favorite thing about Albania.

The font in the middle of the currently covered mosaic. YES. THE mosaic. The largest intact Roman mosaic after the Haiga Sofia in Istanbul.

Katherine, Becky and I (and our gracious guide) at the Bektashi center in Vlore.

View of Vlore from the Bektashi center.

Monument posing in Vlore...Travis is taking these pictures. I swear he was there.
That's it for now. Its sunny and almost warm today. I plan to sun myself and hand wash laundry. This is the PC after all.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Quick update: spring has not sprung. Its colder than ever.

That is all.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spring has Sprung?

It’s the beginning of February and it looks like the weather is finally starting to get better. I’m so glad I’m reasonably far south and I’m not looking at a Chicago marathon winter. Chicago marathon winters are ok in Chicago…but with my heating situation as it is (that is to say non-existent) not fun here.

I guess I can consider this spring, so let me say, spring weather here is weird. It rains everyday, usually all night and a little bit during the day. Last night we had a crazy thunderstorm. Perhaps the loudest thunder I have ever heard…and that includes the time Blackstone Hall was actually struck by lightning the summer after sophomore year. My umbrella was owned by the wind and is out of commission. I left it with Courtney in Gjirokaster, as she is collecting them to make re-useable shopping bags with the Gjirokaster women’s group (amazing project, huh? Something easily done in the US too…) I can’t seem to find another (ie I haven’t looked), so I’m using a Seattle umbrella (a hood) for the time being.

Second semester has started off with…not a bang. I was planning on starting my after school clubs this week, but the Gods of logistics apparently aren’t on my side. Now, the logical place to hold an after school English club is, of course, at school, right? I asked about this when I first arrived in Ksamil, in, say, October. My director assured me that it would be no problem and the issue was put to rest. I decided not to start up anything new because I was still in a needs assessment phase (using PACA tools…hey!....cue eye rolling from my PCV readership) and there were so many breaks between November and the end of the year, that it just seemed like a better idea to wait. So, 2009 rolls around, we’re back at school and I inquire about my activities. Its at this point I’m told that, in fact, the school must be locked up promptly at 1:15 everyday, in effect putting the kabash on my activities. Of course.

Have no fear, though, me being the resourceful PCV that I am decided that the cultural center would be just fine. I mean, what is a cultural center for if not to, you know, spread culture, like, maybe, the English language to the youth? My counterpart told me this would not work, as the cultural center is private and you must pay to use it. I figured that my clout as an American, a poor, moneyless volunteer and someone trying to donate my time to the community would supersede anyone’s need for rent. I mean, who asks a volunteer for rent?

I’ll tell you who: the Ksamil Cultural Center.

I would write up the hilarious story of me trying to explain in horrible Shqip what exactly I wanted to do and how I totally couldn’t pay for it, but you’re all getting tired of my stories of incompetence by now, right? And, besides, the story is pretty self-explanatory. I’m the least articulate Shqip speaker in the whole world. Let’s also not forget that the owner of the cultural center is, I believe, a seriously famous Albanian classical musician.

So, yeah, here I am with no after school club. I’m working on it. My senior study group will commence as planned, just in a cafĂ© instead of a place of learning.

In other important news, Friday was my dear counterpart’s last day at school. Her doctor has put her on bed-rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. This is much sooner than expected. Well, much sooner than I expected. I’m getting a new counterpart from Saranda on Monday.

Its funny, I feel like nothing ever goes on here, but here I am with this ridiculously long blog post about all the interesting developments in the last few weeks. Perhaps the most exciting is the site development that has been taking place in Saranda. If you’ve been following along, you’ve no doubt heard (read?) about my longing for a PCV in Saranda. I’m pretty sure everyone at the PC office in Tirana has also heard (been forced to listen at length?) about this. The good news is that I think it will happen! The TEFL project manager was down here a few days ago scouting things out and there have been some other murmurs of site development in Saranda from the other sectors. Of course nothing is definite…the biggest challenge is finding housing that is suitable and under the PC budget cap…but, its looking good.

If you’re a G12 reading this blog, pray you get placed in Saranda. Seriously.

I also just found out that BJ, who lived with me in Osiauri Cluster in Georgia, will be joining fellow G8’s Adam and Raino here in Albania. Now, every member of Osiauri cluster has been placed in a new country! Katherine in Romania, Alyssa in Paraguay, Michael in Micronesia and BJ and I here! Now, Gomi cluster and Osiauri cluster are going to have to fight it out for Albanian prominence. I absolutely cannot wait until March!