Hold the Butter

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am busy every day Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and from 9:00-1:00 on Saturdays. I’m going through pre-service training (PST, in Peace Corps language). At this point, I am technically not a member of the Peace Corps yet. I am a “Peace Corps trainee,” versus a “Peace Corps volunteer.” Once I complete PST, I will swear in as a volunteer in August.

My days are a mix of Peace Corps trainings (safety, TEFL, cultural awareness, etc.) with my whole group, and small-group Albanian language classes with a Kosovar teacher who is also fluent in English.

I haven’t taken a language class since high school French. Prior to my departure, people kept asking me if I am “good with languages.” How the heck do I know?

Language classes seem to be going well, as in, I think I am picking up the vocabulary quickly, although my communication with my host family is still very limited. I overheard another volunteer say, “Sometimes, I just want to shout at my host family: I AM A SMART PERSON!” I know how he feels.

We had a mini evaluation last week and I scored well. That made me feel good, though I suspect my teacher was being generous.

When learning a new language, of course you run across all kinds of quirks, rules, and pronunciation issues. One word my class struggles with is “gjalpë,”the Albanian word for butter. To me, the vowel sound seems to fall somewhere between the English words “oil” and “all.” No one in my class can say it properly, although we’ve probably made our teacher pronounce it 100 times.

At this point, it just seems easier to go without butter.

One thought on “Hold the Butter”

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