Monday, May 30, 2005

Puppies, Meltdowns, and End of Year Restlessness

SO it's been an exciting few days. Since we last spoke, so to speak, I've had my wallet stolen, I've placed the puppy in a home, I've discovered the depths of my claustrophobia and had a minor public meltdown, stood in a rainstorm with tall handsome Norwegian treats, and survived my last class of the school year. *sigh* Should I start from the beginning?

Wednesday night was Captain Canadian's 30th birthday, so the Frisbee Kids all went to a swank dinner and even swankier after dinner hang out. We were the only ones there, with the exception of a drunk dude sleeping in the corner. At least we thought he was sleeping. As we were all milling about, purses and jackets and stuff got piled on one table. I bought a round of adult beverages, and put my wallet back in my purse. At the end of the evening, I went back to my wallet to tip the bartender, and it was GONE. POOF. From what I can tell, whoever it was, was quick about it, because if he had spent anytime at all looking in my purse, he could have also had my passport, my cel phone and my digital camera. Instead, he got a wallet with about $5 worth of Macedonian money, my bank card (grr), my credit cards (grrrr) and my driver's license (grrrrrrrrr). I called my dad immediately and cancelled everything, so he basically got $5 for his trouble. SO THERE. Everything can be easily replaced except the driver's license, and thatit totally puts a damper on my plans for this summer, because now I can't rent a freakin' car. GRRRRRRRR. Oh well, I got a backpack and no problem with the bus. Can't stop me that easily. HA.

Then on Friday, the vets from the Animal Shelter of Kosovo came to visit me and Gizmo (that's what I named that sweet little baby). She got all her vaccinations and a clean bill of health. Earlier in the week I sent out an email to everyone I knew here to see if I could find her a home. As Albanians in general are terrified of dogs, I figured it would be a difficult task. I had 4 responses in an hour, so after her vet visit I sent her off to her new home in a big house outside of town with a big fenced in yard. :D Happy ending for the puppy. I, however, was heartbroken. She was an absolute angel. *sniffle sniffle*

So Saturday, the Frisbee kids and I headed to Skopje for an open air concert that promised to be much fun. Had it been remotely organized, it would have been fantastic. Let me frame the scene for you, 16 of us, some that knew each other and some that didn't, all piled into a small hotel room where the Swedish Mix Master (he makes the meanest drinks you've ever had) was force feeding cocktails to everyone. Norway's Finest brought along some of her Norwegian police officer friends - holy cow EYE CANDY (and yes, JUST eye candy - married. I still thank her for that though.), a couple of Americans and a Brit that was channeling all the energy from the entire Liverpool Footbal fanbase. The only thing that came out of his mouth for 2 days was along the lines of "yeah, Liverpool", except it had a bit more charm and humor as most comments British do. Anyway, so we all go to the venue at 9pm, an hour after the concert was supposed to have started, but they hadn't let anyone in yet. About 10:15 they open one little gate, about the size of the door to my bathroom, and all 5,000 people standing in the courtyard decided they needed to get in at once. ARG! Being short, it was all I could do to breathe amidst all the pushing and shoving and trampling and elbows and by the time I finally got through the gates I was in tears. Guess who doesn't like being in big, mean crowds anymore? I guess my mosh pit days are truly over. Damn. So IN we went. SMM, NF, the Eye Candy and I all went bustling toward the second gate to go hear the first band. Evidently everyone else stayed behind at the food and beer kiosk. Smart them. Within 30 minutes, the biggest thunderstorm I have ever experienced while standing in an open field broke out over the stage. I could see the wall of water coming toward me, but there was nothing I could do about it. I learned quickly what it feels like to shower with all of your clothes on in freezing cold water. I don't want to do that anymore. Fortunately a piece of Eye Candy grabbed me by the arm and we stood under the very edge of a large tent in the middle of the field. There were already 100 people under it, but because he was so tall, he could reach the edge of the tarp and hold it out a little ways so we could fit under it. Then more people crammed in and I was totally smooshed against this Norwegian god for half an hour. It sucked. (hahaha) While the ripples in his stomach were infinitely entertaining, the conversation skills were a little lacking. Boo. Eventually the rain stopped and we SMSd the others and found out they were warm and dry, still in the restaurant drinking beers. I wandered in looking remarkably like a drowned rat, and was immediately wrapped in other people's extra layers then handed hot food and cold beer. The night was looking up!! About midnight, the rain stopped enough for the concert to start. I managed to make it through about 45 minutes before wet, cold exhaustion got the best of me and I cabbed home with Capt. Canadian.

Today was my last official class of the year. I have 3 finals to give still, but basically, it's over. I'm moving out of my apartment in two weeks, and will hit the road as soon as my bank card arrives from the States. YEAH!!!!

So that's it for now. I've got to go grade some papers and write an exam. What's new with all of you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Sucker for a Pretty Face

Ok, I admit it - I just couldn't help myself. This morning as I was walking out of class, I saw about 20 students huddled around poking at something in the flower bed. When I approached, I saw this tiny little puppy shivering from fear huddled against a rock looking more pathetic than I could stand. I shooed everyone away, took off my jacket, wrapped the poor little thing in it and took her home. I gave her a bath, and what do you know, she's GORGEOUS. See???

Just after her first bath

After she had a bath, I wrapped her in a fuzzy blanket where she promptly fell asleep for an hour and a half. Poor thing was exhausted. After a little food and water though, she perked up a little bit and has been happily exploring her new surroundings. I took her with me to get my haircut this afternoon. My hairdresser loves animals, and thought she was the cutest thing he'd ever seen. She slept most of the time I was there, but when she did wake up, she hopped right off the couch and immediately peed on the floor of the salon. MORTIFIED!! Valdet just laughed, scratched her head, and mopped up. Good egg! He actually said that if I couldn't find anyone else, he would take her, as he already has 6 dogs - what's one more??

I have a vet appointment this afternoon to get her checked out, and I hope to find her a good home. If all else fails, I guess I just adopted a dog. :D As cute as she is, I'm not sure I'll be able to give her up anyway. Daddy, want a new puppy? I'll bring her to you in August.... she's a Sharr mountain dog - just beautiful!

Anyway, school is almost done (one more week!!!) and then I have to figure out what to do for the summer, especially now that I have a puppy to worry about. YIKES. This certainly changes everything... I couldn't be happier about it though.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Ok, so I finally got the pics posted from Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia AND the April Fools party. No witty commentary YET, but at least the pics are there.

I'm off to Macedonia this weekend to give a Teacher Training workshop to a bunch of in-service teachers who have more experience than I do. (YIKES!) I'm sure it will go ok, but it's still a little nerve wracking. It's on authentic materials and realia in the classroom - so basically I have to teach teachers how to use props. Maybe I should have been a drama student.

Anyway, only 4 weeks left and I'm on vacation until the middle of September. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with all of my time off, but am struggling with too many options right now. My plan is to drive to Albania, up the coast of Montenegro and Croatia (hang out on the beach for a while), hit Slovenia and come back down through Belgrade and Serbia. OR I could go to Greece and Turkey for 5 weeks. OR I could go to Romania and Bulgaria.... OR... and the list goes on. I have 5-6 weeks to play with, (anybody got any vacation time they want to blow in Eastern Europe on a little road trip??? I'd love some company. My students are freaking out that I'm going to travel alone.) Then I go home for a month - time with Mom, time with Dad and the rest of the fam, time in DC for work and then.... Hey LA kiddies - planning on coming for a week in either mid-August or first part of September. Not sure which yet, but I'm definitely coming!! Then it's back to Kosovo around September 10th. Whew. CAN'T wait!!!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Forever and a day

It seems like I haven't written in ages. I could throw all kinds of excuses at you - like I've been really busy, or that work is hell, or that I broke all my fingers - but the truth is, I've just plain been lazy about it. I have been really busy working on writing new policies for the Department of Political Science (ooh lah lah), and work is hell (mainly because it's the end of the semester and I've got a serious case of Spring Fever), but I haven't broken a single finger. Not even a paper cut. Just a bad case of the lazies - that and a serious need for vacation!!!!!

Not that the trip to Zagreb the week before last wasn't amazing, because it definitely was, but I am ready to take a break from Kosovo for a while. The Saint and I were talking the other day about how stressful it really is to live here in just the every day little things that you think you're ignoring. Like people trying to run you over on the sidewalk. Or speeding up when you're in the crosswalk. Or the constant layer of dust. Or the 85 degree days and 30 degree nights. Turn heater on or off? Electricity today? Water today? Students going to show up today? I spend half my life preparing for things that don't happen, and the other half unprepared for what does. I can't seem to win. Only four more weeks and I can go find a nice quiet beach to park my but on for a while. *Sigh*

SO I spent 3 hours today getting pictures ready to upload, since I haven't posted anything in a while. They'll all be there on Wednesday - 4 new albums. YIKES! We have an April Fools/Birthday/Going Away party, a trip to Greece, a trip to Croatia, and some other random stuff. And on that note, I'll spare you any more details because the pics will say it all. :D