Wednesday was St. Clement of Ohrid Day, which meant that none of us worked. My fabulously awesome landlords brought me a washing machine. I had no idea how much having this piece of wonderful machinery would make me feel at home and how much more comfortable I would feel in my apartment. I don’t even care that I have to string my clothes all over my living room. I love it. Earlier on Wednesday, four of us volunteers got up and went on a hike into the mysterious hills and vineyards of Negotino.
See pictures here!: http://picasaweb.google.com/enger.emily
It was pretty rad… at first we had no idea where we were going and were just wandering around in the fog and mud. Then three men appeared to us in the mist. Lo and behold, it was 2 of my colleagues from the Municipality and a friend of theirs who happened to be hiking as well, who told us to join them! Joy! We had guides, who also happened to have pockets full of fruit, chocolate, hilarity and random English colloquialisms as they led our party of 7 up the highest hill in Negotino for what turned out to be about a 5 hour hike. When we got to the top, you could see the main highway from all of Europe to Greece, all of Negotino as well as the surrounding villages, and all of that surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye could see. There was still quite a bit of fog when we reached the top, but you could still see everything and the sun was warming our faces as we snacked on apples, mandarins, granola bars and chocolate. My Keens were caked in mud as well as my pants halfway to my knees, and Adji asked if I had another pair of pants for tomorrow, physically and verbally thanking God when I said yes.
Thursday we were back at work, and I got to decorate the little Christmas tree for our office! I was so excited! I heart Christmas if you didn’t know. As soon as I get internet at my house and can download a functioning DVD player I am having an Elf (the greatest Christmas movie of all time) watching-laugh your ass off-eat food-type marathon if anyone wants to join me.
I’m also currently reading a little book I found in the Peace Corps library called Learning to Dance Inside… a small memoir by a former monk on meditation. Only most books on meditation try to teach you technique, and this one only talks about the goal of meditation on the premise that knowing the goal and understanding what the intention is will get you there on its own… being as different techniques work for everyone. It is quite fabulous, and provides the best explanation that I have found so far regarding the internal, spiritual and mental feeling that comes with progressing on the path towards self-awareness, enlightenment and full contemplation. Check it out, I bet it will help bring you at least a piece of inner peace :)