We’ve finally gotten the news about where we’ll be living for the next two years! In December, we’ll be moving to Sveti Nikole! It’s a city of about 19,000 people, and according to Baba it’s the cleanest city in Macedonia. I’ll be working with the Organization of Women in Sveti Nikole, which looks like it’s doing a lot of really cool things and I can’t wait to see what I’ll get to do with them. Kyle is going to be working with an organic farmer’s cooperative in Mustafino, about 20 minutes away, doing business development. Our second family is currently hosting a volunteer during training and has had volunteers before, so they know the Peace Corps drill. We’re super excited!! And we’ve already promised Baba that we’ll be back to visit Vatasha.
The site assignment process is pretty exciting, except for the part where you have to pretend to try to force your mind to focus on language class for four hours before they tell you where you’re going. The entire program management team and the homestay coordinator came to our village, and we each got to take turns telling somewhere else where they were headed. We’re the twentieth group of volunteers in Macedonia, so everything is very well organized, down to the custom covers on our individualized information packets (which were apparently designed to match our personalities – they are thorough).
Today we have our practice Language Proficiency Interview, which we will formally take at the end of November to determine if our Macedonian is good enough to venture into the world on our own. You pass if you can do more than point at things and say words, so I’m not super concerned since we have to be conversational on a daily basis at home. Like last night, I asked Baba where she and Dedo met; he grew up in the house we live in now, and she lived in a village 15 km away, and they met at Panajur in Kavadartsi (she’s two years older than him! Scandalous!) Anyway, I’m loving understanding and being able to speak so much more than when we got here.
Last Saturday I finally got to go up to Skopje and see more than the inside of a conference room. I really enjoyed the city and getting to know the other volunteers in the country. We had a picnic in the city park, went on a scavenger hunt around town, and basically touristed it up. It’ll be nice when we can go on overnight trips and actually have time to wander more, but it was a nice change of pace from our day to day. Kyle had a stomach bug and had to stay home =( but we’re here for 2 years, so he’ll have plenty of time to go to Skopje.