Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vlog on my blog

Back in the day, when we were staying at the Hotel Univers in Elbasan for orientation, and I was clean, warm, skinnier, more rested, and smelled nice, I made a video. 

Don't ask me why.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Language is tough. The Albanians who work for the Peace Corps are super educated and have excellent English - waaaaay better than I could ever hope my shqip to be - but every once in a while, an awkward pronunciation slips out.

Which proves that I will always sound like a three year old when I speak shqip.

Guess what the word is supposed to be (highlight it to see):

                Ahd’gwatt – adequate
                Refrin – referring
                Durbeushereu (derbëshërë) – Derbyshire (in England)

Just to stay humble, though, this is what I sound like when I try to say the following:

                Nuk atoj – nuke a toy
                Vrapoj – frat boy

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ch-ch-ch-check it out!

BONUS: I haven't showered in 3 days and really need to do so tomorrow morning before school. I just told my host family that no hot water at 6:30AM is not a problem.




Monday, March 25, 2013

Chapter 25: In which two biddies dress me up like a doll

Or, don't you wish that you were as hot as me?

Or, 6,000 pounds of clothes.

My mama and (who I thought was my gjushe (grandma) but now I'm pretty sure is just) my aunt Susi dressed me up in traditional Albanian clothes tonight. I think it may have been wedding clothes...but I'm not sure. There are a LOT of things about which I am not sure these days. Mostly I just smile and nod shake my head.*

My baba (dad) took a zillion photos of the process and the result, a few of which I'm including to my own shame. The quality isn't the best (remember who was behind the camera) but I did what I could to clear them up. Also, the awkward no smile is because they were all yelling at me to stop showing my teeth. Albanians don't smile for photos and usually manage to look dignified...whereas I look like a demented psychopath.

*Did I mention Albanians shake their heads yes and nod their heads no? They do. It doesn't confuse me at all.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why am I posting this?

Ok, so the food here is...just different. There is a TON of oil and salt. For example, the home made feta is divine, but I could literally feel my eyeballs drying out as I ate it from the sheer amount of salt.

Speaking of eyeballs, I finally got a hold of my dad for the first time since leaving Madison. I was already feeling weepy (I'm tired, lonely - no one speaks English! I'm not charming if I can't talk! - and do not feel well at all), but as soon as I heard his voice I literally burst into tears. Like, the tears flew from my eyes horizontally. The whole family slowly turned to look at me then they awkwardly slowly turned away and sort of continued with their conversation. All the while I held a conversation with Dad that had more snot in it than intelligible words.

Btw, SOS MOM, WHERE ARE YOU? I CAN'T SKYPE YOU IF YOU NEVER LOG IN. But you can call me (it's probably pretty expensive....waaaaaaaay too expensive on my end, but less expensive on yours) if we can't get skype to work. 011-355-69686-8834. I miss you.

Also, I've gotten to know some of the animals. There are two pregnant cows next door, an agoraphobic bunny in the back of the truck (which might be dinner some day soon? not sure.), a maniacal dog, and a donkey that's pissed at the world and spends its day braying its complaints to society in general. There are also chickens, ducks, and turkeys everywhere, and they get along (surprisingly) quite well, thank you very much. And I mustn't forget my roommate - a wee mouse in the wall. It can't be very comfortable in there, it's cement. 

The End.


The Real Deal

Hello blogging world!
Welcome to the very first ***GUEST POST*** on this Albanian Princess' blog! Yes, I did want Mary to title her blog The Albanian Princess....but for some reason that didn't fly with her.
Anyways, hey, I'm Becky and I am so happy that I can without a doubt call Mary my best friend! Which gives me the wonderful opportunity to present Mary to you all through the eyes of her best friend. And I am so excited to share some of her life with you.
Now I'm not the best blogger, and I know Mary is very proud of her witty, comical, and entertaining voice on her blog, so don't think that that will all carry over to this post....sorry. So let me share some of the amazing things about Mary:

We went through college together....start to finish being best friends. Now many people can say that? And yes, we are obsessed with this picture.

Mary is amazed by the simplest things. When she found out that she could sit between my car and her van in the high school parking was like she saw the world in a different light. But seriously...admit is pretty awesome.

There was a time when I listened to the UW Madhatters (a beyond amazing talented a cappella group on campus....if you know know the Madhatters) over and over and over. I'm not exaggerating....I listened to them when I napped, when I was doing homework, on my way to class. #obsessed But this picture always reminds me of that because we were listening to their songs when we had our first official roomie photobooth session.
Also....we are twins.

Mary has taught me so many life skills, which surprisingly I didn't know before. Basically I was helpless until she stepped into my life and showed me how to live like a real person; cooking, gardening, sewing, laundry, how to hang a picture, use a drill, etc. Note: I was a weird teenager.

I think if I had to find a picture that described our relationship, it would be this one. Just taking a look at our faces tells the whole story. First off, I'm a camera hog...I love taking pictures of myself and posing. Where Mary on the other hand is saying, "Are you being for real right now? You are ridiculous." She's always there to pull me back into reality when I need it. 

We really do love each other....even though you sometimes can't tell through our bantering and our overly heated arguments playing devil's advocate with cold comebacks and our sarcastic put downs. Ouch....wait...are we actually friends?

One of our best practical jokes: In my student teaching I had pictures taken for school...and they turned out...well, semi-creepy. It looked like a decent picture, but if you really look at it, after a while it turns creepy. So Mary and I hid these pictures around our house. This was the best: in the downstairs bathroom we stuck a huge pic of me on the ceiling and put a sign hanging from the sink that said "I'm always watching you." We also put a picture in a ziplock bag in the shower saying, "always." Other places included Kellen's truck visor, Emily's jewelry box, and on the wall behind Laura's laptop. It was soooo funny! We are so clever.

She loves Harry Potter! When the 7th Harry Potter book came out, we didn't want each other to know what happened before the other one, so we spend the entire day reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows out loud to each other taking turns reading every other page. Dedication.

She's pretty cool because even though she has decided to not drink alcohol she still comes out to the bars with us. She fills the role of our DW, designated walker. And heck, she gets free soda all night....winning.
The stuff this girl puts up with though at the wee hours of the night....I'm tellin' ya. She's an angel.

You may know Mary as a tough, all-knowing, practical gal. But seriously...if there's a mouse, cockroach, or really any kind of bug around she is on a mad dash to a high safe place. And we've been exposed to quite a lot of these pests in our old college house.

But please, let me introduce you to a typical friday night of Becky and Mary. This was the first night of spring break last year and for awhile we were the only ones at the house. Our roommate Cecily has a great speaker system so we started singing and dancing. It literally lasted for two or three hours. Our roommate Laura came home and decided to film us as we entertained her. These are the memories that I just remember with pure joy where we forgot about deadlines, school, and other problems and just sang our little hearts out. No judgement please. Love you and miss you best friend!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I'm learning shqip, but all I hear is nonsense.

What it means          What it says                    What it sounds like                What I hear          

Good night!                     Natën e mirë                  knot-en-ah-meer-ah                Not in a mirror!

15                                  pesëmbëdhjetë               pace-em-buh-thee-yet             Pay somebody it!

Orange                            portokall                        poor-toe-call                                Portugal

Bon apetit!                      Ju bëftë mirë!                 you-buhft-uh-meer                   You buffed a mirror?

I'm hungry.                      Kam uri.                          kahm-ur-rie                                 Come, Yuri.

(If my stomach's name is Yuri...)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I made it!

And by "it" I mean "me." Although I'm feeling more like Peter Boyle than Gene Wilder right now.

What else has happened?

I sat next to a French guy on the flight from JFK to Munich. Since I don't speak French and he didn't speak English, we spoke in Spanish for the entire flight...which was really fun! Unfortunately, now my Albanian is entirely peppered with three languages instead of two:
"Une jam de Wisconsin, too!" Une jame: Albanian; de: Spanish; too!: English. (I'm from WI too!)
Also, for the entire trip from Madison to Elbasan, I sat on the right side. The car, the first two flights, the taxi to the hotel in Philly, the bus to JFK, the flights to Munich and Tirana, and the bus to Elbasan. It must be a sign. I have no idea what.

My brain. It does not work.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The love tonight. I felt it.

I got to see some peeps really near and dear to my heart tonight. I am so blessed! And sappy. But mostly blessed. SO to the fabulous folks who put it together. :)