This week was busy. Like, no down time ever busy. Language in the morning, training sessions after that, and then practicum meetings after that. One full day in Skopje, one full day in Shtip, both crammed full of more trainings. Baba usually looks a little puzzled when I say I’m going to bed at 9, but this week she actually looked at me at 8:30 and said “You look tired. You should go to sleep.” That’s how busy it was.
The best part about the week was I feel like I’ve made a breakthrough in talking to Baba. When we first got here, I did a lot of smiling and nodding. And I still do sometimes, but most of the time I understand about 85% of what she’s saying. A couple of times she’s made comments about how nice it is that we can understand her (because as hard as it is for us, I can’t imagine having to figure out how to take care of people who can’t tell you what they like or want or need or anything else).
Another cool thing that happened this week is we jumped head first into our practicum project. Janna and I are working with the Red Cross, and the next week is going to be spent raising money for the International Day of Hunger. We’re going to be getting the school in Vatasha where we have our language lessons involved, so we had to go talk to the school principal and the English teacher, and we went with some volunteers to hang up posters around Kavadartsi. Next week we’ll be helping coordinate the actual fundraising so I’ll be busy again. I’m missing spending as much time with my family here though, so I’m going to be more purposeful about relaxing with them when I have time this week.
There’s been a lot of activity around the house while I’ve been gone. On Monday the whoooole family went out to the farm and almost finished picking the grapes (they picked almost 20,000 pounds in a day!!!) Tuesday Baba and Dedo went out to pick the last few tons, and that night they started the Rakija and wine making process. It’s going to take a while for the Rakija, since we have 14 barrels fermenting outside already. I’m not quite sure what’s happening with the wine, since they just crushed up the grapes and filled up the 300 liter cistern in the garage. We’ll find out eventually I guess. Friday was spent picking peppers at the weekend house, and then yesterday was spent roasting and peeling them so that today Baba could finish making the лутеница (Like ајвар, but spicier and thicker/chunkier, with peppers and eggplant and tomatoes). They work so hard all the time, it’s going to be interesting to see what life here is like in the winter when the farm work slows down for a while.
Lastly, we officially started our training in DC one month ago today! We’ve been in Macedonia for nearly a month! It’s completely crazy! And as of today, we can walk into Kavadartsi by ourselves whenever we want. It’s a whole new world out there!