The past five days have been, hands down, the strangest and most
intense of my entire life (so far). I got sick Sunday night–not the
usual, “mehh, I had Thai food, I can’t work at Heritage today”
sick, but, like, fever so bad that when I took a shower the water
stung on my back as if I had a sunburn. My throat was so sore that it
hurt to eat and talk and I lost my voice for a few hours. So I went
down to the market in Philly and stocked up on Motrin, NyQuil, and
Ricola drops and muscled through the day. It was a great experience
because I tried not to let how I was feeling affect my mood and I
think I pulled it off. ADAPTING already!!!
The people in my training class are AWESOME. I’m with a great bunch.
All sorts of people from different areas of the country and different
backgrounds and ages and such. There are a few weirdos but nobody that
I’m super alarmed about. 😉 I’ve made friends with a lot of people
already. And apparently the Peace Corps exclusively employs awesome
people because our staging coordinators were great too! I really wish
I hadn’t felt so miserable because I would’ve enjoyed my time in
Philly a lot more. Note to Dad: I had a Philly cheese steak but it
wasn’t that good, the ones at Capriotti’s are better!
The flights went perfectly. I guess the curse is broken! As we
descended into Tiranë we flew over the Adriatic and I was absolutely
breathless. It is BEAUTIFUL here. Do you understand? Let me tell you
again: IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I had no idea there could be so much beauty in
one place. I am smitten.
We took a 2.5-hour drive from the capital to Elbasan, where our
training is. There are lots of sheep and farms and ditches and TONS of
Albanian flags everywhere. They are a very proud people. I see more
Albanian flags here than US flags in the US. As soon as we got to our
hotel they wouldn’t let us sleep so we could get adjusted to the jet
lag. We took a walking tour of Elbasan. I was hoping we would blend in
so I could start “integrating” but we literally turned the corner and
a bunch of kids started following us yelling, “HELLO, HELLO!” And the
adults just stared at us. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t want
to seem like a tourist, but I can’t send them anyway because my
electronic equipment is packed away somewhere under the hotel and I
won’t get to it until Saturday. Boo. Anyway, the traffic and drivers
are crazy and the streets aren’t good quality but everyone has really
nice cars. There are coffee houses EVERYWHERE. The people are
generally very well-dressed and friendly. Lots of kids and dogs
everywhere, and GOATS in the more rural areas (!!!) There is a castle
(which is actually my FB cover photo) and also some Roman ruins being
excavated by the EU where Paul preached!
We meet our host families on Saturday afternoon and spend the weekend
with them. I am nervous and excited. The rest of training I spend
living with them and bussing to and from Hub Day trainings in Elbasan
on Tuesday and Friday. I miss you. I miss American food, even though
the food here is good. I miss waking up to my crappy phone’s alarm and
not to roosters and dogs at 2am.
Love you all!!! Talk to you soon! LUBS [goat scream]