Sunday, November 27, 2005

New cultures, new projects, new dishes

Well things are off and running (like crazy!). I've got more work than I know what to do with, and more projects keep popping up every day. It's a nice feeling to be busy again after so many weeks of virtual idleness.

This week has been filled with new experiences - new students, new classes, new cultures. Friday afternoon I had a meeting with the director of the library in Gracanica, a Serbian enclave near Prishtina. I am going to teach a class for adult beginners there starting next week. I still can't believe it's taken me over a year to get a project going in one of the minority communities, but I truly welcome the opportunity to be exposed to the other side of the culture here. I got a good introduction to it already. The night we had the meeting was the director's family's Slava, a religious holiday similar to Catholic Saint's days. After we finished our meeting in the library, he invited us back to his home to enjoy some of the fabulous food and drink prepared especially for the occasion - homemade ajvar, pickled peppers, a wheat berry and honey pudding, fried fish, breads, and of course the pride of his family - the rakia and wine. Incredible. His son played traditional music on the piano and sang while we drank toast after toast and feasted.

I have to admit I was impressed with the library. It's small, just two rooms, but it is definitely a library - open stacks where you can touch the books (wow!); it even had that library smell. I miss that so much!! I could have spent hours sifting through the titles, even though most of them were in the Cyrillic alphabet. I didn't care. It felt good to be in a room with that many books. Sigh. I think I must have been a librarian in a former life...

So that covers the new cultures and new projects bit... so about the new dishes. Last night Captain Canadian came over to watch movies. We were in the kitchen whipping up a batch of hummus, as is absolutely necessary for any sort of vegetative evening, and were just about finished. I opened the cabinet above my head to get out a bowl to put the dip in, and with quite a flourish, a loud pop and a series of crashes, a support for one of the shelves snapped, dropping every dish I owned from the overhead cabinet to the countertop and eventually to the floor, shattering everything into a million little pieces. We both just stood there, wide-eyed with jaws hanging open wondering how the hell that had just happened. When it was all over with I was left with one bowl and two plates, and a hell of a pile of ceramic shards. So we went shopping today. I got the coolest dishes ever (ok, maybe not ever, but I love them) - they're not round, they're triangular - the plates, the cups, the bowls, everything... super cute. In honor of the new place settings, we had another dinner party tonight and invited the "family" over, pigged out on really good food and wine, and now I'm about to head off to bed. It's been a good weekend.

No comments: