Saturday, April 13, 2013


I try to keep this place lighthearted. And according to your comments, I seem to be succeeding! But in all honesty, things aren't always fun and games here. I feel it would be remiss to keep up this front of YAY LIFE IS AWESOME GO PEACE CORPS THIS IS EASY! Here's what I wrote the first night at my host family's house. (And no worries, the funnies return tomorrow. :) )

Tonight’s the first night that it’s tough. The last five I haven’t had time to even process what’s been happening. But now, I still don’t feel well, I’ve been by myself with my new family for a few hours, only one of whom sorta speaks a language I understand (Spanish) and I kid you not, the tiny bit of shqip I had when I got here flew right out the window as soon as I stepped off the furgon (eight-passenger bus/taxi). My family is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, and I already got to know their neighbors, too, and skyped with their daughters in Italy and England (the daughter in England, Merita, helped me with some translation, thankfully). My grandma (gjushe) kissed me three times, hugged me ten, and then pulled the bobby pins out of my hair so she could see how long it was…personal space does not exist in Albania, but I couldn't have cared less. I've felt the most comfortable with her so far – she just seems to love me already, and we can’t communicate at all!

Also, I think I already had my first arranged date with their nephew in England – everyone was laughing and he seemed to be blushing and I had NO idea what was going on. It was one of those situations where my baba would talk for a good minute, and the nephew would translate, “Oh, he says you’re very nice.” But I was very lucky he was on the other side of the continent – so many female PCVs are set up for “dates” with coffee before they have any chance to decline! (And saying “yes” to a coffee with a young man is tantamount to accepting a marriage proposal, allegedly.)

The house is actually two buildings. The kitchen and bathroom are across the little farmyard from the bedrooms (there are three). So, I’m writing this right now on the floor of my room eating sour patch kids and I’m not going to brush my teeth because I don’t want to walk across the way and into the kitchen where they’re all still sitting. I told them I was going to bed….but I just needed a brain break.

Sorry teeth.

I know this is long and complain-y, but I’m tired and cold and lonely. And I just found a letter from my sister and cried. Lame. I know. But I don’t feel well, my room is a cement block, I’ve been stared at for the past seven hours, I’m sleeping on a couch (for the next two months), I don’t have a bathroom, and I’m tired.

And feeling quite ungrateful, apparently. It’s really not that bad as it seems. I’m not even really alone – I’ve got a mouse in the corner who can keep me company all night.

Natën e mirë, everyone. Wish me luck.


  1. sending virtual hugs and non-virtual (real) prayers. love you.

  2. Glad to know things got better.

    Tell your host family that any boy that wants to know you has to win 2 out of 3 freestyle wrestling matches with me first.

    P.S. The mouse needs a name

    Keep your head up and your faith strong

    Une te Dua, Kungull

  3. I'm with Laura. Sending love and prayers. You can do it! Phil 4:13!

  4. Mary I love you so much! You are amazing and doing amazing things. You are on our hearts all the time, for this reason you are never alone.