Monday, September 13, 2004

Moving day

Day 3 complete. I have moved into my apartment. I didn’t take me long to unpack, after all 2 suitcases don’t really hold that much. Afterward I took a much needed nap on my new bed. So I am home. Yeah!!! At the moment, the apartment is lacking in a few things – like bedding, towels, pots and pans and silverware. The landlord’s daughter is going to bring me these things Tuesday (I hope!). Once again I found myself without a clue desperately trying to figure out how appliances and things work in a foreign country, and once again I found myself in a sticky situation. It didn’t take long to learn that the water valves have been turned off since the last tenant left the apartment. I found two valves next to the toilet (because being able to flush is definitely a bonus) and decided to fiddle with them to see if I could figure it out. I did, but not before making a total mess. One valve fills the reserve tank. The other opens the flood gates of hell on another spout coming from the bowl. I actually think that the nozzle is somehow supposed to be turned into the bowl, but in my case it is pointing straight out at the opposite wall. When I cranked both knobs to full power, it resulted in a lower body shower and a disaster on the floor. Lesson learned and question noted on and ever growing list for the landlord. What the hell is that other spicket for???

Anyway, Travis, Phil and I found a fantastic Thai restaurant for dinner tonight and had our first experience with a power outage. Halfway through dinner, whoosh, utter darkness except for the small candles on the table. No one around us even blinked an eye. In a few minutes, the chugging of a generator starting up drowning out conversation, and the lights started to flicker back on. Within half an hour, we had full power again, the generator turned off and we were talk below a shout. Interesting.

I met the head of Education for the British Council earlier today and she joined us for coffee after dinner, and provided me with a spare comforter to use until my landlord brings me proper bedding. She also invited me to come join her for salsa classes two nights a week at the UN. It seems there is a rather large (so to speak) Spanish speaking community here – internationals from Spain, Peru, Venezuela and other parts of South America. There’s even a Mexican restaurant. I can’t wait!

This week is meeting after meeting after meeting. Tomorrow Travis and I are tagging along to take Phil to Prizren where he will be posted for the remainder of the year. Tuesday we’re going to Pejë to meet with some secondary school teachers and the woman I’ll be teaching with in the Poly Sci department. Wednesday I meet with the head of the Journalism School and the American center to discuss the classes I will be teaching for them. Something tells me this part of the job may fall through. The classes are supposed to be held in the American Center here, but the director of the center wants to charge €100 for the course. The average monthly rent here is not much more than that and most people are fighting to find work. I don’t think enrollment will be too high if that is what they are expected to pay. Hopefully we’ll be able to work something out otherwise I don’t think the classes will be accessible for most journalists or journalism students. The other project I have volunteered for/been volunteered for is very exciting to me. The US Military has begun to publish two children’s magazines – one geared for teens and the other for younger children. The goal is to make them useful as an English teaching tool and making them available to primary schools throughout Kosova. I will be involved in writing, designing and publishing, as well as finding ways to use them in a classroom. EXCELLENT! Things are moving right along. Any worries I had about having too much free time on my hands has disappeared.

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