Thursday, December 2, 2010

El Capitan

I am officially moved to site and into my apartment.  I am right in the center of Negotino, within a short walking distance to everything, and I also have a lovely little balcony that I will be living on once it gets warm out.  Luckily I have a few flights of stairs to my apartment and to my office so hopefully that makes up for me not hiking up the hill of madness to my house in Kratovo.  I have managed to settle in enough and buy enough stuff that I already feel like I’ve made the apartment my home in less than three days, which is a nice feeling.  Not to mention that my fabulous landlords were all about letting me have a machka (cat), and he arrived on Saturday and has quickly earned the name Captain Destructo, as he likes to climb all over everything and knock as much stuff down as he possibly can, including prancing all over my computer to change the songs that he apparently doesn’t like.  When he has sufficiently captured my attention, he will happily curl up on my chest and pass out while purring at a decibel level equal to that of a small watercraft.  The other night my sitemate Austin caught him squatting on the toilet.  I am hoping that he will take up this habit and decide to be the coolest cat in all of Macedonia. 
I’ve been cooking a bunch, as I’ve missed in the past three months since I was being taken care of (thanks mama!).  While everything has been super tasty, I had a massive failure today when I attempted to make Tavche Gravche (a famous and delicious Macedonian dish made from beans and bunch of spices and oil and whatnot) for the first time.  After the two hours that the dish is supposed to be in the oven, I discovered that the oven doesn’t actually ever heat up past ‘warm’.  SO I tried to finish it on the stovetop, which works fine.  Did you know that when beans burn, they actually harden to a nearly-break-your-tooth consistency? It was super.  So I picked out the still-soft bean friends, ate those, and appreciated that I could laugh rather than cry. 
So far my apartment décor includes Macedonian direct/indirect objects, possessive pronouns, my art, a map of the Balkans, pictures from home, a bowl of fruit and a sweet holographic pirate ship clock that came with the apartment that is way too awesome to take down.  There are also many shelves of mystery that I cannot reach containing old empty bottles of Ouzo and various other unidentifiable trinkets. 
After a bit of a struggle, my amazing colleague was able to get the process moving to get internet in my apartment. So in two weeks, I should be up and running and connected to the world again.  For now, I’m connected at work but no Skyping of course :)
I still think daily about what I want to do when I get back from Peace Corps… pointless thoughts that will undoubtedly change a million times in the next two years, yet I can’t help it.  Perfect picture at the moment? Travel writing, but in the direction of NGOs around the world, the work they are doing, the clients they are serving, the lives they are changing, etc.  Therefore still leaning towards the second masters in Journalism.  Oh brain, I love you so, but sometimes I wish you could stay in the moment :)
p.s. I love my coworkers, sitemates, Negotino and my insane cat.
EM