Здраво од Македонија! That means ‘Hello from Macedonia’. I’ve been asked how the language is coming along so I’ll just say that I’m learning it far more quickly than I learned German. I’m also going to лангуаге school 4 hours every day, have homework almost every night and live with a non-English speaking woman. But I have to say I’m impressed with the language training here. It’s intense, but practical and fun. There are 5 people in my class (only 4 in most other classes) so there’s plenty of interaction and focus—no hiding in the back of the room!
As of now I can talk about my family (ages, cities, professions), day-to-day activities (wake up, wash, dress, eat, drink, study, visit with friends, etc.) tell time, ask and understand directions, and yesterday we did a unit on the weather (great fall-back conversation?). I can buy a bus ticket and ask if it’s on time. I can order a hamburger (хамбугер) or a salad (салата). I know my numbers and colors and can use time descriptors (always, never, sometimes, rarely, often). I can say I’m tired and want to sleep (lots of practice with that one) and hungry (my host mom usually feeds me before I get a chance to use that one.)
Victoria (my 22 year old host ‘sister’) said today that she thinks I’m learning really quickly. That made me happy, but I’m acutely aware that I’m over the half way point with my host family and this is really the best opportunity to learn. I’m working hard at making the most of it but there are lots of classes ahead of ours.
One of the hardest things is the basic alphabet. I see a word like патувaте and have to turn it into patoovateh—meaning ‘to travel’. When a familiar-looking letter is first in a word it really messes with me. Another example: Рано is pronounced rahno meaning ‘early’.
Sometimes I think I can understand what people around me are talking about, and other times I’m just delusional and projecting what I think they ought to be talking about—I never know which. But I realize it’s a process, and hopefully I will learn enough to make some friends in Kriva Palanka (Крива Паланка) who will be generous and patient enough to let me struggle through the learning process with them.
На Здравје (to life/ cheers)
P.S. (Снег = Sneg = snow) I’m at my friends house using their laptop to post this blog and these are the only 2 pics I had on the memory stick. Will try to do a better job of being prepared with pictures now that I know this works.