Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Few Weeks Of March

On 3/5, the American Corner had an “in-reach” where they had a local middle school come in. I did the “Big Cities in America” presentation again. It was a bit hectic and rushed and I thought I had 30 minutes, but when I got there they told me I only had 10, but I needed to include everything. So I probably spoke too fast and they probably didn’t get any real information. Kids here are hard to read. They just stare and don’t really respond to your questions…But then they took a quiz about the state capitals and put together a puzzle. See pictures here.
On 3/7, at the American Corner, there was an event for International Women’s Day, where two Macedonian women and an US Embassy worker talked about being women in their professions. I can honestly never say I have felt a stronger need to discuss what feminism and women’s rights mean and how much that is truly needed in Macedonia. I had visited a few different NGOs that were discussing women’s rights, but I never know how much of the common woman’s views were similar to what they were like in the US in the early 1950s. Many of the women there thought is was normal and good for women to stay home and be mothers. And that, that was all they were supposed to want. And that there was nothing wrong with that. Or that when a woman CEO was treated as if she was only there to get coffee for the men, that she was just supposed to accept that and no one protested that she had been placed in a degraded position. Other women were talking about how they should always be a mother or a wife before they pursue their other goals. Also, all feminist are man hating people who only want women to rule the world. (By the way- this is totally wrong. Feminism is fighting for human rights and the idea that everyone should be equal regardless of sex, ethnicity, skin color, sexual orientation, or any other potential discriminatory quality. Feminists don’t all want only women to rule the world, although some do, but so do some men. Feminist generally just want everyone to be treated equal in the shortest definition of the word.) I left there totally saddened and enraged over the injustice that these women will face, and wondering how I could make a difference. I wish the American Corner wasn’t moving this year, so that I could do a workshop on what feminism and women’s rights is actually all about. You can see pictures here.

On 3/8, there was another event at the American Corner: “Dreams for My Daughter, Dreams for My Mother.” It was supposed to be a mother/daughter thing, but they invited me along to contribute to the conversation even though my mom was half way around the world. We had a good conversation. Julia, the US Ambassador’s daughter who is living here was supposed to come but she was super sick, so she wrote a letter to her mom. It almost made us all cry she is such a good writer!  See pictures here. (Have I mentioned how I like the fact that the American Corner takes a million pictures and posts them online so I don’t have to?)

On 3/14, I had an International Women’s Association meeting. These meetings have two components: a social hour and an actual meeting. At the social hour, sometimes we have someone selling stuff (like make-up this time), or we play a game. And then there is a meeting where they tell us about the upcoming events that they have going on. After the meeting we usually go to lunch. This week’s lunch was at Shanghai, one of two Chinese restaurants in town. Neither restaurant is good, actually both are pretty bad and have no good food. But they are nice people. Then I went over to the Opera and Ballet to buy tickets to Swan Lake. After that successful outing, Cecelia and I went to her house, where I met her kitty that I agreed to house sit this past weekend. The kitty kind of reminded me of Koshka, a little skittish (she did warm up by the end of the weekend).

Like this past week (3/12 to 3/16) all I did was lay around and recover from being sick the week before. And other than that, I basically laid in bed or sat on the couch recuperating and trying not to get sicker. I did go work at the new NGO, but that is part of what made me feel worse and stay in on Friday!

See you around the globe!

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