Saturday, November 19, 2011

Two Months In, Seven To Go

2 months.

Well technically it hit while we were in Croatia, but this is the first time I have had time to write about the mile marker.

This month flew by. I still haven’t seen as much of MK as I would like. I really need to just start exploring by myself. Make a pact to do like I did in Russia- every (enter day here) I will go some where. It doesn’t matter if it is a museum (there are a few left here in Skopje) or a village or a town.  Just something- this has been my biggest disappointment- not traveling. I mean It is November and I have been here for 2 months and I can count the places I have been besides Skopje ON ONE HAND! That is just terribly wrong. Part of it has been me trying to plan things with other people, and because I like exploring with others, I wait. But I make this promise to myself that I will wait no more. I will go out and explore. And if I have to do it by myself- so be it!

Also, wow- 2 months! The second month was so filled with meetings (some in Skopje, some not) and that trip to Croatia! I was finally able to fill up my research book here with interviews (and am still in the process of getting them all up online). November looked a little bleak for meetings, because I was a bit late in asking to volunteer, and was still wrapping up everything. And then in a few weeks we have Thanksgiving. We are planning a get together of all of the Fulbrights at Daniel & Anje’s house on Thanksgiving. Lizzie and Justin will come up from Bitola, Jen from Tetovo and we will possibly have it at dinner time on Thursday. (I, for one, and personally setting a goal to avoid my last overseas Thanksgiving experience. Don’t remember it? Click here.) The planning personality in me is worried that we HAVE NO PLANS. Nothing, no food ideas, no time, no official date, nothing. And Thanksgiving is, oh, next week! But, calm breath, it will be ok. Everything will work out. We’ve just all really adapted to the Balkan mentality- it’s part of the culture.

I have nothing new to add to my list of complaints- and I still love it here! I do wish it was easier to meet people and make friends. It is really difficult when you have no real institutional support or built in group of people to hang out with. I have no real co-workers. I have no real location that I can meet people near to my age. I’ve never actually been to a place like that. In high school or college, I had classes and orientation.

I have some plans coming up on exercise (I’ve tried to start walking more). Hopefully a presentation at the American Corner- we will see, still need to talk with others about this. I might have found a MK language class, we will see if she gets more students. But it is a great deal and really good price! And she was super nice!

And now there is only 7 months left until I go home. I can’t say I am anxiously awaiting either leaving MK or returning to home. I will be glad to get back to the US, but will be sad to leave MK behind. I also feel like I have so much to do to make my time worth while here. To put the tax payer dollars to work.

It is interesting to note that I feel I have barely gotten started here in MK, that I have so much left to do and my stay is 22% over. These dates are a big shocker.

1 comment:

erhudy said...

Ugh, a lot of what you write is so similar to my experience in Tirana so far. It's strange to go from an organization like Peace Corps, which initially provides a lot of support and training; you're on your own once you get to your worksite, but the PC staff members will always call you back and discuss concerns about your site and work. My first couple weeks I think I was in shock over how little support the Fulbright Program offers; you know, can't get people at the embassy to return calls, spend days walking around town trying to arrange coffees, then sitting on your sofa on your laptop because you don't have an office you can go to. Hard to believe I have just eight months left, and still haven't really started my research. Hope things go well for you in the coming months - I suspect we'll have a lot to talk about next time we run into each other, now that I've seen life from the "other side."