Archives for the month of: May, 2012

I feel like the old man in The Princess Bride trying to find his place in the book “OK, so where were we?”

Counterpart Conference was a good time in Durres, which is something of a fancy beach town, and the second largest city in Albania.  My counterpart (now a counterpart is essentially an Albanian within the organization we will be working who acts as our liaise to the community and the organization) Endri is a pretty cool guy, recently engaged and very excited to teach me about the wondrous world of European football.  Albanians love Italian teams, especially Milan.  There is some division and many break from the trend and support Chelsea or Barcelona (it’s better than Manchester).  To the delight and eye candy of many the Albanian national youth team was staying in the hotel that night.

Fast forward to the swearing-in ceremony . . . finally!!  Make sure to check out local news coverage from Top-Channel.  Not only was the Ambassador of the United States to Albania present, but so was the President of Albania, there to present Peace Corps Albania with one of the highest honors for all its humanitarian work, the Mother Theresa award.  I feel like my work is done . . . but it’s not.


I’ve been about three days on the job,coming into the local Bashkia in Elbasan.  It is the summer so fortunately things have been slow, but I am still staying busy what with some English editing for the municipality website, and getting my apartment ready for future visitors (friends, family, fellow volunteers . . . couchsurfers?), and learning about some pretty snazzy opportunities.  Yesterday, for example, I was able to attend a day long presentation on gender development and the work of an Italian agency, whose name currently escapes me but is the equivalent of USAID, but Italian, and Tjeter Vizion, a national non-profit based in Elbasan.  I didn’t understand a word since it was in Shqip and Italian, but it leaves me hopeful for the future.


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Last Saturday, after wrapping up week 7 of Pre-Service Training (PST) I laid awake in bed.  It was around midnight and I was feeling restless.  All the experiences of the past weeks and thoughts about the next two years were buzzing through my head and just when it started to feel a little overwhelming, I was able to stop thinking and just listen to the nighttime activity outside my window.  Nightingales, frogs, dogs and the occasional motorized vehicle.  It’s 5 minutes of ambient noise, but after a rough day, it is surprisingly peaceful.

More on Counterparts and working in Elbasan soon.  Also here are some fun stats I looked at about you all, my readers:

Since I started the blog, it has been viewed 870 times.
Countries from where viewers have clicked include USA, Albania, UK, Australia, Botswana, Japan, Germany, Canada, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Iraq, Switzerland and others.

Thanks everyone for visiting! Let me hear from you.


Not to give anyone the wrong impression about Albanian cuisine but out in our small isolated Thane, there are few eating options.  Actually none so we go to neighboring Cerrick, where you can get great lunch for little lek.  The menu; however, does not alternate from salad, bread, cheese, choice of boiled or fried egg, and if you want to get really fancy, a half of a small size chicken.  So in week 7 we’ve started to dream of home.  I know my mother will be upset that I didn’t mention her arroz con gandules, or pollo en fricase, or even a nice mofongo.  Mami, fue solo en el momento y pienso en ti y tu cocina todo el tiempo.  Beso grande.

Here are the results of that conversation: