The Gëzohem

I went full blown gëzohem on the community. Gëzohem is “nice to meet you” in Albanian but I’m using it in my own term. I started talking to many Albanians, busy trying to integrate and practicing my shqip. It wasn’t scary but I had to be out there to be known. This is work! I was like a celebrity because the locals have never seen an Asian before. They automatically assumed that I’m Chinese….not surprised. Back in America, I didn’t say hi to people or introduce myself.

This morning I walked to the high school where I will be working as an English teacher. I met up with my counterpart and she introduced me to the faculties and students. The school director said “Suksese!” (Success) It was a positive feeling.

The students were so kind to me. I had to make a great impression on them. I interacted with the students but at the same time, they were shy. However, they had an English test and I noticed not many could answer questions.

The challenging part I had to deal with was not sneezing or blowing my nose in front of class. I had a runny nose and was so tempted to take out my tissue. I was told it shows the sign of weakness. Another challenging part is not showing mistakes in front of students. To me, this is going to change. I am going to let students know that it’s ok to make mistakes and nobody’s perfect. Students are real shy because they fear of making mistakes.

I had three helpful çuns to help me with my luggage. One of them is learning German, so I was able to communicate in German. We walked to my colleague’s host family’s house to pick up my belongings. It was a suksese!

After school, I continued to integrate and stop by a few shops and talk about myself. I also greeted a group of Albanian men lounging outside of the cafe as I walk pass. My colleague’s host mom spotted me and we randomly started taking. Lots of gëzohem!

It was 6pm and there were children knocking on my door. I was in my pjs and I didn’t respond. It was terrifying. They were standing in front of my door for a while. Eventually they gave up and played ball outside.

Every night, I hear a man singing or chanting from a mosque. It felt like I was in middle east. Interesting.

For dinner, I grilled Qofte Pule. I like protein.

I hope tomorrow will be as awesome as today.

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