The low today is 5 F. IT'S COLD!!
I have been seriously busy this week. It feels good to be so busy, but I can feel the physical exhaustion kicking in already...Yesterday, I went to my first 4 classes with Emilija. For the rest of my day, I joined Vesna, another English teacher at the school, for her classes. It was interesting to see the different teaching styles, and it was good to meet even more of the students at my school. By the time classes were done, I was really tired...I hadnt had a break or anything to eat, but before running home I figured I'd stop by the Director's office to check on the dance studio stuff.
Before I knew it, I was downstairs with the men who will be installing the mirrors and the ballet bars. It was around 3 or so before I was able to make it home. From there, I was so excited about the progression of the dance space, I ended up going through all my iTunes music for good dance songs. My kids are interested in ballet, Zumba, and hiphop. So excited!!
Last night was a Name Day celebration at Emilija's house. I showed up sometime before 8pm, because I really wanted to help her set up. People didn't start to show up until sometime after 9pm, and only two of them spoke English. There was such a nice couple!! Not many people spoke to me, and I tried my hardest to follow along with them as they all spoke with each other, but it's just overwhelming at times. I dont expect for most people to know how it feels, but it's difficult when you're in a room of people you can't understand. Personally, I'm a VERY outgoing person....if you put me in a room with people, I want to talk to all of them. This personal trait makes things even more frustrating for me, because I WANT to have the luxury of being able to talk to everyone about everything, but I simply cant. It can make a person feel lonely and isolated at times. That being said, can I just say the food I had was simply amazing. The table fit around 15 or so people. We had a variety of meats, salads, cheeses, sweets, fish, and even fried frog legs. The frog legs were by far my favorite!! I went home well fed and sleepy. : )
Today was another early morning for me. Waking up at 6am when your room is cold is quite a task, but I managed just fine with some warm tea. At school, Emilija and I had another long day of 6 classes with no break. I had some fun teaching the classes today, but by the last class I was asked to join the Director in his office, because the Minister of Education was coming. I thought "Isn't this a big deal?" Well it most certainly is.
Macedonia has a newly elected Minister of Education. I guess he is just making his way to some schools across the country, but I felt extremely privileged to have the opportunity to meet him. His entrance was impressive...he showed up with a posse of people. I was asked to sit in on their fancy meeting, where I proceeded to not understand the majority of what was said. Instead, I spent the first half of the meeting trying to find a sophisticated position to sit in. I kept readjusting, knowing how silly each position made me look. Eventually, I gave up and just crossed my legs. Suddenly, I was able to tell they were discussing me and my position at the school. They said they loved having me, and they said I was ambitious with a lot of excellent ideas. The Minister turned around to look at me, and I exchanged a smile showing all of my teeth and a simple wave of a hello. They amused me by laughing and then carried on with business.
At one point, one of the people in the posse had to leave. I noticed everyone getting up, so I thought we were all leaving. I gathered my bag and got ready to go. All of a sudden, everyone sat back down, and I instantly realized how silly I'd made myself just look. HAHAHAHA I'd thought we were leaving, so I packed up to leave....in reality, we were standing as a sign of respect when someone else was leaving the room. So I instantly sat back down and put my bag beside me. I turned to the guy next to me and chuckled "I thought we were leaving!" He didnt understand a word of English, which made it more hilarious.
The rest of the Minister's visit was spent showing him around the school. He went into a classroom, and he managed to chat with teacher in the teachers' lounge for a bit. Later, I followed them back down into the Director's office, where I noticed everyone grabbing their coats. I didnt know what was going on, so I waiting in the entryway. All of a sudden, the Minister appeared before me, and the next thing I know we were chatting up a storm, just the two of us!! He was such a nice man, really....he asked how I liked Kocani, how I liked the school, if I enjoyed the faculty, if I was helping in the classroom, and what other activities/clubs/projects I was involved in. I felt proud talking about my work, and then he said "You know, they love you here. They had excellent things to say about you." I said, "I know...I dont understand much Macedonian, but I can tell when someone is talking about me." He laughed.
The last thing the Minister asked me was how long I was going to be living in Kocani. Suddenly, I felt my inner southern side come out of me, and I busted out with "Well I'll be here for two years, so you just let me know if you happen to make it back for a visit!" (all said in a southern twang) After laughing, he said he'd be back. Upon him exiting the school, I noticed the amount of people looking at me. The secretary gave me a whole "what was that about?!" exchange. People seemed pleased/impressed I was able to have just a one-on-one chat with the Minister...and in English!! I realized I hadn't quite processed what a privilege it all was....I mean, I got to chat with the Minister of Education today. : )
So yea....another accomplishment I can check off my list of things I did that were SUPER AWESOME while living in Macedonia. Not sure how many people can call bragging rights on talking to the Minister in a southern twang, but I sure as hell can.