Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day!

I kind of have my shqip together and got this out right on time! At Megan's and my English Club last night, we hosted a Valentine's Day smorgasbord. Albanians are just starting to widely celebrate the holiday, but it's still mostly reserved for engaged and married couples. So in keeping with Peace Corps Goal #2 (teaching host country nationals about American traditions), we pulled out the markers and glue and hearts and cookies for a love fest with our teenage besties.

We made Valentines out of magazines, paper, markers, and glue and decorated sugar cookies. I'd never considered how strange it is the way we use that one word "Valentine" to refer to the day, the love cards, and the person you love... that is, until we tried to explain it to the girls. 

Happy Valentine's day! From "Master" Cupid.

This one got right to the meat of things: "Love day is for everyone...and 'love doesn't know color.'" Rock on, Kaltra!

Megan's lovely Albanian pick-up line Valentine.

As for the heart-shaped sugar cookies, I made some pink frosting to decorate them, using red cabbage, vinegar, and water for the coloring. (Smash it all together - muddle it like a cocktail - and let it sit for a good 12-15 hours for an almost black-purple dye...which turns the palest pink when you mix it into the frosting.) Add a little homemade plum jam to hide the not-so-sweet taste of gjalp et voilà!

We had so much fun and made such a huge mess and fought about Justin Bieber and One Direction (it's getting to be a weekly thing) and I ate too much sugar and it was lovely.

Earlier in the day, I had Lena (and her best friend, Lena) over for coffee so she could talk to her daughter in law and granddaughter in Italy. Since Lena doesn't really have access to internet, she rarely gets to see them. I caught a little bit of her on video. It was one of the sweetest, happiest things I've ever seen. She was just over the moon happy, and the baby girl was laughing and jabbering and knew just who her grandma was, even via computer screen. What a world we live in!

Happy Valentine's Day! I love you all! 
(And for those of y'all at home, know that I miss you. Dreadfully. But thank God for skype!)

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