Albania + Facebook = <3

Some observations about social media in Albania.

WildKat Formation

I’ve mentioned before how internet-savvy my little southeastern European host country is. Many of my Albanian colleagues and friends and even my students have cell phones with 3G capabilities, there is at least one internet cafe on every block, and everyone–and I mean EVERYONE–has Facebook. The world has progressed in such a way that if you’re not online, you miss out on a lot of interaction, and that’s particularly true in this country. My 9-year-old host brother has a Facebook, my 60-year-old counterpart has one, and some of my students even have multiple accounts. And I can’t even tease them about it because now I’ve got two accounts myself, and you’ll soon find out why.

On my first day in Albania, another Volunteer advised us to create Albanian Facebook accounts designated for communicating with people we meet here, particularly our students. Not all Volunteers choose to do this, but I’m…

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#PoshCorpsProblems

WildKat Formation

Posh Corps (n.): Peace Corps programs that are perceived to be “cushier” than the stereotypical Peace Corps experience, i.e. including accommodations such as running water, plumbing, electricity, internet access, etc.

Serving under conditions of hardship. Serving under conditions of hardship.

Here in PC Albania, we often joke about living in the “Posh Corps” whenever we’re out at a fancy café or hitting up the 3G on our mobile devices or enjoying the cool breeze of an AC unit in the summer. Part of it stems from a sort of irrational guilt; we know that in other Peace Corps countries, Volunteers are squatting in latrines or hand-washing their clothes until their knuckles are raw and killing their own dinner every night, so we’re made to feel as though we “should” be suffering more.

But what I often compare Albania to is a lead ornament painted over with gold leaf. Everything looks pretty and shiny on the…

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Ima miss these folks

Elder SnowI had my interview with President. Here are the highlights. 1. He said that I need to go on 30 dates, with 30 different chicks before I start steady dating. 2. That I should search for a job that the Lord would have me have, not that I myself should choose without his help (idk if I explained that well, but he had a point) 3. He said that he really admired the fact that I never quit. I thought that was nice =).

And, I have a scripture for you: 3 John 1:13-14.

We had a lunch together as a zone today. The ZL's asked a waitress to take a picture of us afterwards. While the lady was taking a picture of us, I took a picture of her taking the picture of us while everyone was looking away... man, I'm so funny.

We had a lunch together as a zone today. The ZL’s asked a waitress to take a picture of us afterwards. While the lady was taking a picture of us, I took a picture of her taking the picture of us while everyone was looking away… man, I’m so funny.

Paniagua came to visit Calvario this week! I got to talk to him for a bit this week.

Paniagua came to visit Calvario this week! I got to talk to him for a bit this week.

Another interesting note, I took the bomb!! These 4 little pills had to be taken all at once, and once i did my guts started boiling, and bit by bit have been clearing me of all of the friends I have unwantedly acquired in my 2 years.

Another interesting note, I took the bomb!! These 4 little pills had to be taken all at once, and once I did my guts started boiling, and bit by bit have been clearing me of all of the friends I have unwantedly acquired in my 2 years.

Here is another goodbye party that we had with our mission leader. A great guy. They made a cake and everything. Ima miss these folks.

Here is another goodbye party that we had with our mission leader. A great guy. They made a cake and everything. Ima miss these folks.

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Dear Barbara, I have one week left

Elder SnowUgh… just one more of these wretched p-days. I have finally admitted, Mom. I am going home.

I am doing great though! We baptized!! My last baptism… It was an awesome experience.

IMG_7490

He is 18 years old. He just naturally accepted everything we taught him, as if he had learned it from the pre-mortal life, and it had a familiar ring to him in this life. The other guy in the photo was the member friend who helped us. I got to baptize him. DAAA!!! Last time I will be dressed in white with a plaque on.

Here is a photo of when Elder Clarke was here. P.S. I am at the right hand side P.P.S. I am the tallest in the mission right now =) P.P.P.S. uh... this is only half of the mission though. They had another conference in Huehue before I got here.

Here is a photo of when Elder Clarke was here.
P.S. I am at the right hand side
P.P.S. I am the tallest in the mission right now =)
P.P.P.S. uh… this is only half of the mission though. They had another conference in Huehue before I got here.

In good news... I had a surprise party for when I had my 2 year birthday! Elder Rodriguez and the other Elders secretly planned a Taco dinner for me in the house of a member on the 30th to celebrate. This member is the richest one in the area, so the tacos were actually really good. I have a good companion, and I share an area with some great guys. They also made me a wallet out of a Doritos bag as a gift. Cool beans.

In other good news… I had a surprise party for when I had my 2 year birthday! Elder Rodriguez and the other Elders secretly planned a Taco dinner for me in the house of a member on the 30th to celebrate. This member is the richest one in the area, so the tacos were actually really good. I have a good companion, and I share an area with some great guys. They also made me a wallet out of a Doritos bag as a gift. Cool beans.

Dear Barbara, I have 1 week left. I can’t believe it. There is nothing else to do except work hard while I am at it. I love you, and I’ll see you soon.

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It’s called rapelling

Elder SnowElder Rodriguez is awesome… He is easily my favorite Latino comp. These 6 months I have been blessed with  really great comps, thank goodness. Here we are after literally (whats that thing called where you scale down a cliff side with rope? I’ll call it scallooping) scallooping down a huge cliff to get to an appointment, and we found a bridge and a river and took pictures. I am ending my mission happy, and diligent. I have 2 weeks left pretty much… I’ll see you in no time. =)

Elder Rodriguez!

Elder Rodriguez!

 

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10 (More) Albanian Habits

WildKat Formation

A while ago, my “10 Albanian Habits” post made the internet explode. Well, at least amongst English-speaking Albanians around the world. Never did I expect that a post I wrote so quickly and innocently would become such a big deal, and even result in changing my life. I got plenty of feedback on this article, and luckily, lots of people really seemed to enjoy it. There was a minority who called me names and demanded that I leave the country in the comments section, but luckily I’ve developed a bit of a thicker skin since serving in the Peace Corps.

Since I wrote the Habits post, I’ve been kicking myself for forgetting some other Albanian habits I have that didn’t even occur to me at the time. After living here for over a year now, there is some stuff that I do that seems so normal I can’t even…

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First companion and first convert

Elder Snow[A note from Cheryl by way of explanation: Elder Paniagua (Aaron’s first companion in Guatemala) has been home a while now, having served his two years and finished. This feels like a tender mercy that he would let us all know about this. Just take a look at the caption.]

Hey!! A fun little update... Paniagua saw my first convert Josue last week as a missionary! Josue is serving in Honduras right next to where Paniagua is... here  is a really crappy photo.

Hey!! A fun little update… Paniagua saw my first convert Josue last week as a missionary! Josue is serving in Honduras right next to where Paniagua is… here is a photo he sent.

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