Today I found out where I’ll be living and working for the next 2 years. I will be working for the Municipality of Kriva Palanka in the farthest northeast corner of Macedonia. According to my program director it is a very energetic and forward-thinking group of people who are interested in furthering businesses and tourism in their town. According to Wikipedia it has heavy traffic on the main road that bisects the town as it is on the main thoroughfare linking Sofia, Bulgaria and Skopje, Macedonia. Population: ~21,000. Website: www.krivapalanka.gov.mk and if anyone is able to do some research could you please send it to me via e-mail as I hate to be using someone else’s internet time to do my research!
I have to admit I was surprised when I was informed of my assignment. It fits none of the “hoped for” things I discussed with the staff during my site-interview. But as usual, life is full of surprises and the fact of the matter is that I know nothing about this country yet, or the available assignments, or how I will best fit in, or what the identified needs are, or, or, or…. So the truth is that I have to trust in the capabilities of the PC staff to do their best at matching me to my assignment and then I have to do my best to give my best to whatever I am asked to do.
Do I sound like I’m trying to convince myself a bit? Fair enough for this alpha-female personality. I’m not in control! And I never thought I’d find myself working for a governmental agency, but now I will be working for two (US Peace Corps AND Macedonian Municipality). Life has a funny way of taking you where you never thought you’d go, and I truly believe there is a reason and purpose for everything, so I am ‘staying tuned’ for what is inevitably in store.
On another note—I attended the most AWESOME birthday party for a 3 year old EVER last night. I got home from practicum around 5:00 and was promptly informed that I was leaving at 6:30 for a birthday party for someone’s granddaughter. Can you say FAST HOMEWORK? That done in an hour (Macedonian what?), Nada was putting on fancy clothes, doing her hair and putting on make-up. (I’m thinking—for a THREE yr old???) I asked how pretty I had to be with my lame Macedonian skills to which she replied, “As pretty as me!” To which I replied, “Not possible!” (See? I haven’t lost ALL my charm-capabilities!)
We met 2 other women on the way, bought appropriate 3-year old presents (well, THEY did as I was pretty much oblivious) and proceeded to our hostess’s house. I had met her during the ‘Shipke Jam and Juice’ Day for those of you who are following the blog.
SURPRISE!!! The 3-year-old Birthday party consisted of us 7 women! The presents were pretty much left on the entry table and then we went into the ‘warm room’, and sat around and visited while the hostess fed us way too much wonderful food, served us drinks and adjusted the TV to the most popular evening soaps. The camaraderie of wonderful female friends seems to be universal—or at least the same in the US and Macedonia. What a great excuse for a party! (Minus the ‘dressing up factor because if it’s my friends and me I’m thinking we’d probably be taking off our bras and wearing old comfortable shorts.) Four of the women asked me to find them American husbands if anyone is interested. I told them I wasn’t interested because I didn’t want to cook and clean and do laundry for anyone else (it’s the best I could do with my limited language skills). I think this rather shocked them because they’re all willing to perform these tasks for anyone out there who’s interested in these services….just saying.
Sorry no pictures but will rectify that when I find an internet solution! Love to all!