Thursday, August 28, 2008

Things I already love about Prishtina:
1. There are great fruit and vegetable markets
2. You can take a walk and see sheep grazing in the city
3. People like to eat here
4. There are a lot of inexpensive restaurants
5. Kosovars are very friendly

Things that already drive me crazy:
1. The water and the electricity can get cut off at any time (usually for a few hours)
2. Smoking is the national sport
3. There is litter everywhere, which makes the city look ugly
4. Our shower does not drain well so it gets really dirty every day (so gross)
5. I have had the runs for almost a week now...either I am adjusting or I am still sick with the bug that everyone seems to be getting.

School starts next week and I am getting excited. In two weeks I am sure I will be overwhelmed, because at that point I will actually have to teach...four different preps for four different grades. Everything is so different here, much more easy going. Basically, it will all just fall into place and somehow it really does. Procedures don't really exist. For example, today I asked how to take attendance and found out that I basically just check and then send a report to a lady in the office. Oh, I guess I can make a form, since there is none! Haha, or maybe we will change things up this year and have the office lady walk around to the rooms, which is another thing that we talked about!

In other ways, it is very similar. I will do get-to-know you activities, send home a parent letter, and a supply list. I will still have to go over rules with the students and look really strict at the beginning of the year. And get this, I need to make sure there is no kissing in the elementary school! Apparently, the teachers and the students often kiss on the cheeks in the morning to greet, but the principal wants that to stop to keep it more professional! So that is it for my update. Next time I should write about coffee shops and restaurants, since we have eaten out more than we have eaten in!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A few wedding pictures

I was hoping to have more people send me pictures of the wedding and I am still waiting on the photographer, but here are two pictures that one of our friends took. You can see how beautiful my bouquet turned out and the decorations for the reception! I wish we could do it all was perfect!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our Apartment

After we were dropped off at our apartment we spent the evening settling in. Of course we did not have anything, so we walked to the closest bank and took some euros out of the ATM and then headed to the closest market to buy shampoo, conditioner, soap, and two towels. We also bought a large jug of water and bananas. Thankfully the prices have been very cheap here. It only cost us 1.90 in euros for a huge jug of water and a bundle of five bananas.

Joe was complaining a lot about the apartment and I have to admit that at first I thought it was a bit crappy too. We both took showers and noticed that the water did not drain fast enough and was clogging a bit. The nice thing is that our landlord (whom is also a coworker) redid the whole bathroom and the kitchen sink and cabinets. So the whole bathroom has been re tiled, a new washing machine, new sink, toilet, and shower. It is an adjustment and we are getting used to the fact that we have to hold the shower handle to wash our hair. Actually, today we went to a large supermarket and bought some sticky clips, which were cheap and popped right off after two hours so I guess we will not be holding up the shower head that way.

We also had to move all the furniture around. We are lucky to have a two bedroom apartment, but there was a lot of furniture (five beds). We began to move things around, and we actually broke two of the bed frames for twin beds (opps!). We honestly tried to unscrew them, but they broke on us and they were falling apart anyway. I bumped into one of the beds and the back part of the frame started to collapse. Our landlord does not seem to be mad, and I really hope not, then I would feel super bad that we could not have been more patient.

We moved the furniture around in the bedroom, so we could get the best use out of the space and we also moved the love seat in there because it was too crowded in the kitchen/living space. So that helped free up some of the space for us to move ourselves around. There really was not much in terms of pots and pans so we went out today and bought a few basic items to make this place feel like home. Our cart was full of pots, pans, dishes, silverware, a clothes drying rack, pillows, pillowcases and comfortable, and some more toiletries. Now it feels more like our home. We just need to put some pictures on the wall.

Tonight we made our first dinner using the stove. Peppers are a hot item in Kosova (if they had a national vegetable then this would be it). Everyone has been walking around with large bags full of just peppers. So we decided to follow suit and buy a large bag. I sautéed two peppers, sliced a tomato, toasted cheese on rye bread, and chopped a cucumber. A simple meal, but it tasted delicious. I have to say, the food here has been really great, especially the produce. And it is pretty cheap to eat out, only about six euros for the two of us. There are definitely adjustments, but I have enjoyed it all the same. Truly the hardest part of the whole experience is the power outages and water outages. It is fairly unpredictable, but the water goes out for about five hours each day from 12-5 and the electricity does what it wants! So it has been crazy...maybe it will grow on us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Departure

The past week of my life has been a complete whirlwind of change. I set everything up for a wedding, got married, packed up my whole life into boxes and suitcases, and then moved to another country with my new husband. It was a long trip to get to Kosova, but we have finally arrived. We left on Monday night and took an eight hour flight from Washington, DC to Vienna, Austria. I didn't think the flight was that bad, but I also slept about three hours of the flight and watched a movie. Unfortunately the food so not very good at all. Joe was extremely tired, because he did not get much sleep for three days in a row and he could not sleep on the plane (that makes for one grumpy husband).

Then we had to wait five hours in the airport, which were definitely long. I had a hard time because if I read anything then I would get tired and we didn't want to spend money on expensive food. However, we found out in the last hour that we had wireless connection on our computers and sent a few emails out. I also wrote thank you cards (Joe did two, he was so spaced out from not sleeping).

After that it was an hour and a half into Prishtina, Kosova. Both of us expected a longer flight and were relieved to hear that it would not take long. Plus they fed us lunch and it was quite delicious. Customs was the fastest I had ever experienced (they asked Joe what he was there for and never even asked me). I guess it was just assumed. All of our luggage arrived, much to our relief. And thankfully the principal of the school was there to pick us up. We were a bit worried about that, since we had no definite confirmation.

He took us to our apartment, which is just okay. The furniture is old and the shower does not drain right. So we have a few concerns, However, you can also tell that the landlord has put in for a lot of improvements. So we will see how it turns out. I think we just need to put our personal touch on the place to make it feel more comfortable. The electricity has already gone out three times since we have been there...something that we knew would happen, but is a lot more annoying than you think. Oh well.

We also went to the school today for a tour. No bad, I am excited to teach there, but I hope that I can handle the multiple preps. Five subjects will be a bit overwhelming. Joe was relieved when he found out that the P.E. teacher likes to hike and does some moderate no rope climbing. That means he will probably help us find the area to go around here.

The weather is hot here too. So although I like the fact that I am walking around the city I wish it was not so hot outside. They need more trees to line the street. And as expected it has a definite European feel. Lots of shopping, except for sporting equipment (I think they don't like to exercise here!). Anyhow, I am getting tired. I need to post some pictures and wedding pictures, but we officially made it here!

Update in February

One might think that having several snow days would give me the time to write in my blog, but I have been spending a lot of time working on ...