Author: Aydah Wagner

Albanian kid rhyme

Do you recall the kid rhyme “Eeny meeny miny moe”? There’s one for Albanian!

“Kujt ti bjeri dhjeta është e verteta, nëqoftëse nuk besoni, filloni numuroni deri në …1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10!”

This makes no sense but it’s translated “To whom you did the tenth is true, if you don’t believe, start counting up to … 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10!”

“ngriva, shkriva gjalpin e lepiva , e lepiu miu , macja me ariun! …mami tha per portokalle, portokalle skishte fare, mami doli ge-nje-shta-re.”

Another roughly translated “I raised, melted butter and leprosy, clasped the rat, the cat with the bear! … mom said about oranges, oranges that he had, mom got out of the way.”

COS Ceremony

We had a Closing of Service ceremony. I did it! I made it to the finish line. There were mixed emotions that I could not put my finger on it. My TEFL manager read me words about my service and how I made a great impact in people’s lives. He mentioned about Era connected to a Palestinian teacher and that opened her world and a small library in class. I made an awkward speech that made a few people laugh and dabbed…just because. Then we made a final pledge that nearly teared me. Finally everyone exchanged hugs and farewells and that was it.

20170411_134701

I’m now a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. What a great feeling! I can’t explain how awesome it is to finally scratch this off my bucket list. I can finally move on to greater things. I have a lot of things to do back in the states.

 

Rice Krispies

I’m telling a friend how to make rice krispies so she can do it herself when I’m gone. There are a few things that she needs to know where to get these ingredients and how to make them. Getting these ingredients is not easily accessible, except in Tirana, so making from scratch is the only way for her to make these

Rice Krispies cereal can be found at a store called “Neranxi”. The tricky part for her is to obtain marshmallows. The only brand available, and if the store has them in stock, is Haribo. It’s tasteless. I highly doubt Albanians would eat marshmallows in general. Then I let her know to melt the marshmallows in low heat. To add flavor while melting the marshmallow, I gave her a bottle of Vanilla extract to enhance flavor. The first time she made it was a mistake but in the end, it was edible. It was her first attempt but I’m proud of her!

20170407_201820

Why do you do what you do?

This is my final project with the high school students. I asked them to write down their answers on a white sheet of paper or on my handmade white board, and then take a photo of them. I had my little exhibit inside my classroom because it’s a bad idea to present it out the hallway due to bad kids who loves disrespecting school property.

So here are a few snap shots of students looking at the photos of students holding their sign. Their thoughts were:

“I’ve never seen something like this before!”

“Wow!”

“It’s beautiful!”

I like to get reaction from students. They enjoyed looking at the photos. It’s different.

Why did I do this? I was inspired by this concept from wdydwyd.com because it let’s me understand what people are thinking and they all have different stories to tell behind that. It’s also fun thing to take photos and watch students being creative as they write their thoughts. I want students to be part of this because I want them to get acknowledged by their peers and teachers. Some have self-esteem problem and I thought this would be a nice way to present them in a positive light. I also hope that my creativity that I’ve shown them in the past two years of my service brings them inspiration, or at least have a cool story to tell to friends and family…of course they took pictures to prove that IT HAPPENED!

What struck me most was a student holding a sign with broken English, incorrect spelling and grammar BUT that doesn’t matter.  At least I get the point what she meant. What mattered to me was that she put herself out there and did her best, trying to break out of her shell, and that’s what struck me, even though her English was written poorly but she gave it her best shot. Pun intended. Many of the students were shy to take photos, fear of getting made fun of but I do not allow that around me. Many of them from my photos lives in the village and they are trying to have a better life for them and their family. Education is important. Learning how to speak English will open more opportunities for them. So I did my best to help them as much as I can and open their mind. This exhibit is only viewed inside the school.

Also, Kate, if you’re reading this, HI!!! And thanks again for this fun idea! 🙂

20170405_092332

20170405_10134720170405_092310

More construction pictures of Belsh, and regrets

It’s looking pretty nicely with trees up! Sadly, I won’t be able to see the final product of the center so I’ll have to rely on my friends to take pictures when I’m gone.

I like the look of these photos. The gloomy clouds gave the picture a dramatic look!

During class time, I was invited for a coffee session with some female students. We discussed about their future, America, the type of men they’re attracted to-gentlemen (sad but true but they think some Albanian men aren’t all that attractive due to poor behavior and lack of education), their parents’ life, and staying in touch. I showed them traditional Vietnamese dress “Ao dai”. They’re actually curious about Vietnam! I appreciated them for being open and culturally curious!

They were sad to hear that I’m leaving soon. It’s a pity that I got to know them for a short time. I’ve only taught two classes with these girls because they have a different English teacher. I felt connected with them and see that they are intelligent and determined on their education. I think these girls will rule Albania, seeing how they are well educated, but that’s because they’re sheltered and study a lot! I regret not getting to work with them more because I know they could make a big difference in the community if I get involve with them more.

After cleaning out my closet, I’m starting to see my students dressed in my clothes. I felt excited because they really looked really nice in it. They like how it is simple and they’ll totally remember me FOREVER! One girl wore my pants and it looked really awesome on her. Not to mention, these girls lives in the village so I definitely helped them a lot!

These pants were my personal favorite plaid pants. I used to go to shows and wore combat boots with them. Now, I passed it on to a girl who actually looked good in it. I can no longer fit in them. I’m glad it’s finally in good hands.

20170404_110626

 

New changes I see…

Every household is starting to have their own personal address. Each doors in apartments are numbered and a piece of paper are left with the owner’s name and their new personal address. Finally it’ll be somewhat easier to locate a building.

20170330_135628


As for new vocabulary for the day, I learned this!

Vinovil – Elmer’s glue; the white synthetic glue use for crafts, home repair, and office supplies

Albanian phrases!

Larg syve, larg zemrës – Out of sight, out of mind

punë më spec – Work with pepper; this is used to express something that might (for various reasons) be difficult to say, perhaps because it is an ugly truth, embarrassing, uncomfortable, or dangerous to explain. Here are some examples:

  •  Your friend asks youm “Hey Bob, do you like my new haircut?” You think it looks dumb, but you don’t want to hurt his feelings because he’s sensitive about his hair…punë më spec!
  • You find out that your friend shoplifted some candy bars at the market, should you snitch on her to the security?…punë më spec.

Nevruz: Lekë from my byrek

The highlight of my night was picking the byrek with the lekë. It is a tradition that one who picks the byrek with a coin inside will be lucky for a year. LUCKILY, I was lucky to get my coin.

20170322_180300

My friend invited me to her house and to let me experience Nevruz with her and her family. I was ecstatic and her family was super nice and excited to meet an American, me. Her family was AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! I LOVE HER MOM!

Not for the blood fans! Continue reading “Nevruz: Lekë from my byrek”