June 05, 2008

Nine Months In

It's official: We've been in Macedonia for the length of one human gestation period.

Maybe this is the sort of fact that one only finds interesting at 3:37 in the morning. I'm up watching the Celtics-Lakers in the NBA Finals on Macedonian television--it's the only way to see it live and on our decrepit TV set I have the choice of a color picture with static or a black and white picture with sound, depending on how I tune the channel with the little white knobs. I've opted for door #2 so that I might hear the Macedonian announcer. He keeps saying something that sounds like, "Boston feels tasty." Unfortunately, sports vocabulary wasn't part of PC curriculum.

Anyway, back to this whole gestation thing. We learned that two friends back in San Diego just had their first child and I was reminded of something humorous I read a few years ago about Rhode Island. In addition to being the smallest state in the union, it is also the largest unit of measurement, as in, "forest fires rage across a swath of land the size of Rhode Island" or "a Rhode Island-sized asteroid is hurtling through space." Utilizing that same logic, Jillian and I can now take stock of our first gestation period in Macedonia.

Summer is officially here with the end of the school year. If anything, this means our lives are getting a whole lot busier. We're currently working with a student organization in creating a week-long camp for elementary students. We call it "Healthy Kids" and its focus will be teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth graders the benefits of a healthy lifestyle (healthy eating, daily routines, anti-smoking, etc.), complete with all the fun camp games we got to play growing up.

The planning of this camp--which will be held in late June--has been extremely challenging but also completely rewarding. As PCVs we're given a wonderful amount of autonomy to create our own projects and in the high school we've found a small but dedicated cadre of students willing to partner up for something positive. Unlike in America, where parents often have a slew of options for their children during summer break, there is a real vacuum of opportunity here. That being said, it has been rather difficult to convince students to sign up for the camp--of all the logistical difficulties we've experienced, this one has been the steepest and most surprising. But it's coming together...

Speaking of logistics, on Saturday my brother is flying in for a week-long stay. He's coming into the airport in Sofia, Bulgaria, and then (hopefully...really, I'm crossing my fingers) catching the bus to Macedonia and asking the driver to drop him off on the side of the highway as they pass through our town. We even went so far as to write him a little note in Macedonian that he can slip to the driver like a bank robber. So if all goes well, we'll soon be touring the country, showing off all we've learned of the language, sites, food, and people during this first gestation period. And watching basketball at 3am.

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