Oh Albania…

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April 19, 2013 by theloneblonde

I’m Pretty much the Albanian Version of Honey Boo Boo…

14 April 2013


So according to a Peace Corps Volunteer who shall remain nameless because she would be totally turped (turp… Shqip for Shamed… Turped… Shqiplish) if she actually disclosed knowing a lot about Honey Boo Boo… I am pretty much the Albanian Version of Honey Boo Boo. I cannot claim to have seen an entire episode of the show but I have been known to flip it on while really bored in America… once or twice. But from what I have heard the family who if you are not familiar are just a cross section of the American South, became famous from their little kid (honey boo boo) who competes in toddler beauty pageants, and well there is a bit of a stigma to that… going on. I have to say Honey Boo Boo may be wise beyond her years, and that’s pretty much me…


Për Shëmbull… For Example…

I am 4 and 23 at the same time… I have the language capacity of a four year old. I mean I have to say that I have learned so much in the past three years, but I really have not progressed beyond the past and future tenses… meaning I have no past. I have crazy amounts of schooling and education but at the same time, no one cares, because I am four years old.


The Honey Boo Boo clan has quite the age differences going on, this is a similar situation to myself. I am 23 and my host mom is 29, at my age she had two kids and had already been married for over 9 years. I on the other hand, need help doing laundry (my defense that machine is in Italian), and cannot even keep track of my shoes.


Apparently, so I have heard, the HBB family buys a lot of their food at the gas station, because it’s next door to their house. This is how skettgi came to be? I am not sure if I am getting this right? But what a coincidence my host family gets the majority of their food from the gas station! Why, because that’s the only grocery store in town. It’s part not really sure if it functions gas station, part bar, and part grocery store. We have 3.5 bars (gas station bar is only open on special occasions) yet only 1 ish real grocery store if you can even call it that. Bottom line, I eat a lot of spaghetti and ketchup.


[ Median Disclaimer: So I know this is not a very correct or politically correct description but it displays some of the emotions I am having over the process of training and living in a village. It is meant to be funny not actually very accurate, bej shaka (I make a joke).  ]


If you have not found this analogy amusing enough, on an unrelated topic, I did laundry for the first time in Albania yesterday! Then my host family’s dog stole my pants, and took them on a little tour of my village today.


I mean it’s not as bad as the monkeys in India stealing all of Eleanor’s underwear… but yea… seriously Rosë (scary host family dog).


Update on scary host dog: Today I learned that Rosë means Duck in Shqip. So my dog is named Duck. Rosë, Duck, also died. She was replaced with Franco, which to my knowledge does not mean Zebra.


“If you look like you are going to wipe your ass with a pinecone… then you may go north?”

So PC Trainees, who will all become future volunteers all come to the country without knowing where they are really going and what they will really be doing. Pretty much we are the most patient trusting people ever… or so I would like to think. I don’t at the moment know what I will officially be doing in country for my two years of service, I really don’t have the faintest clue?


Background… In Albania we have three types of volunteers, Health, TEFL, and COD. Health are Health and will work in Health, TEFL or teaching English have a pretty accurate job description so they are set, but COD or community organization and development, we can be doing just about anything from building roads to teaching and anything that comes in between. There are 10 COD volunteers in country and we are super diverse as a group we have a few planners, an architect, international business people, marketing specialist, economist, accountants, and a handyman. Between the 10 of us we can do pretty much anything… but what are we actually going to be doing and where we are going to be living, this has become our newest past time.


SPECULATION! We LOVE to speculate where we are going, who we are going with, and what we are going to be doing. We like to guess how they systematically evaluate us to send us across the various parts of Albania. We enjoy gossiping about funny partnerships we could be set up on and the precedents that have preceded us already having forged a reputation for us in our future sites.


Our group has the advantage of getting a little bit of information about where we could be placed. More specifically I was told that they wanted me in one place with very distinctive characteristics of Albania and then I was telling everyone! Weather or not I will go there is another story but it’s all about the speculation. We started thinking that it may even be over stereotypes, such as if you are more independent you will go to x,y or z.


Albania is known for having a more troubled North, which actually just a few years ago was entirely off limits to peace corps volunteers. Group 14 (we are Group 16) really began to open the north to peace corps development, and it is a little bit more rough then the south of the country. There is still some violence, blood feuds, and lesser of a developed state. One volunteer was joking that if you look like you are a little rough around the edges, then you may be heading north.


My personal favorite is to come up with volunteers that rhyme with a city, and to convince them they are going there. SO far I have Lucas in Kukes (Ne Shqip Lucsi në Kuksi) and Erik in Cerrik (Ne Shqip Eriki ne Cerriki/Eriku ne Cerriku). Erik and Luke don’t really buy into my crazy ideas though, but it would really make for a great blog title!?


But the wait is almost over! I will officially find out this Friday where I will be going for two years! Until Friday, we will continue our speculation, then I have no idea what we are going to do with our time!?






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