Last Friday I left for my site. Most volunteers took furgons or buses but I had the opportunity to hitch a ride with the 9-year school going on an excursion to Shkoder. Evidently it is common for people to hitch rides with school excursions across the country because we dropped people off in Peqin, Durres, and Tirana! I was nervous about riding with a hundred 9-year school kids because everytime we show up at their school to play games they go crazy! Luckily that never happened but they were definitely glad that I was riding with them. They chanted a lot which is normal for long bus rides with kids. My favorite was a chant where they asked the bus driver if he wanted raki so he would drive faster.
I arrived at my site around noon on Friday. Luckily there was a plumber/ electrician in my apt so I was able to get in without having to track down my landlord. My apt isn’t the nicest in Albania but it is comfortable. My stove is pretty disgusting and because I have to plan my meals, showers, and cleaning around the water schedule it might take me a while to get it cleaned up. Once I have cleaned up and settled in to my apt I will post some pictures.
My counterpart’s sister lives in Florida and she was visiting with her son until this morning. Her son is 21 and speaks English well so was nice to have somebody who speaks English show me around the town.
The hardest thing about moving to site has been not being able to speak Albanian. I have met several people in the community but I haven’t met anybody yet who is interested in talking to me so I can practice speaking Albanian. I have started taking Judo lessons at the local Judo gym. Hopefully through this I will be able to make some friends while staying active.
Fun fact: Cows roam free throughout the city.