Friday Gratitude

When I was a senior in college, I interned at a now-dysfunct arts magazine in Chicago. The magazine was the brainchild of a husband-wife team. I never saw the wife. The husband-half of this fantastic duo was a pretentious, chain-smoking a-hole with a major case of body odor. The other employees/interns were equally unpleasant. As if all of that weren’t bad enough, there were caged ferrets in the office.

They listened to National Public Radio (NPR) constantly. Now, when someone even mentions NPR, I cringe. It’s like I am transported back to that smokey, ferret-filled office.

So, I hate public radio. I also never listen to audio books. To this point, I have only ever listened to two podcasts (the first season of “Serial,” and “My Dad Wrote a Porno.”) When I drive, I listen only to music. It’s probably an introvert thing — I hate the sound of people jabbering in my ear.

This is all a very long-winded way of saying, I listened to a new podcast, and it was so interesting I am actually going to recommend it.

https://www.missingrichardsimmons.com/

This podcast tries to uncover the mystery behind Richard Simmons’ (yes, THAT Richard Simmons) sudden and unexplained withdrawal from his public and social life. Personally, I’ve always had a good measure of respect for Richard Simmons. There are plenty of useless celebrities out there. Why not appreciate the ones who are actually trying to do good in the world?

I listened to the entire podcast on Sunday, while I cleaned my bedroom and then took a long walk.

As far as other media consumption goes, I finished reading The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone by Tennessee Williams (more on that later). I also watched (of course) Girls.

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Care packages have been taking a long time to reach me. It made me so happy to get one from my mom this week! Thanks, mom!

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The weather has been PERFECT. And here is a picture of me with a puppy. 🙂

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Happy, happy Friday! Talk to you next week.

Ecological Museum, Peja, Kosovo

As part of my language training the last week, we took an afternoon field trip to the Ecological Museum in Peja.

Ecological Museum, Peja, Kosovo
Ecological Museum, Peja, Kosovo

First, we saw two exhibits showcasing how things looked in a traditional Albanian home. Here is a living room. Men would be served beverages here. The long-handled pot you see in the left corner of the picture was used for washing hands.

ecological museum peja living room

Next, we saw a kitchen. Families used to sit on the floor or low stools around a table on the ground, which is called a soffit. (Note: I am not sure if I spelled that correctly.)

ecological museum peja kitchen

The clothing exhibit was probably my favorite part of the museum. This wool dress is 100 years old, and was based on an Illyrian design. The Illyrians are considered to be the first group of people to inhabit Kosovo and other parts of the Balkans.

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The following is an example of what women used to wear in Kosovo. (I must have asked our tour guide three times, “They dressed like this EVERY DAY?” It seems an outfit this elaborate would get dirty … )

ecological museum peja female dress

Here is what men in Kosovo used to wear. I was interested to learn the white cloth around their heads are actually burial shrouds. Men would wear their burial shrouds every day, in case they were killed.

ecological museum peja male clothing

As someone who likes to crochet, I appreciated this display of old sewing/looming tools.

ecological museum peja sewing

The other part of the museum featured old coins and artifacts that had been discovered locally. I didn’t take pictures of those exhibits because it was dark in the room. (And honestly, I am just less interested in that stuff.)

Overall, my visit to the museum was enjoyable, and I learned a few tidbits about Kosovo that I did not know previously. Admission was only 1 Euro. If you ever find yourself in Peja, Kosovo, the Ecological Museum is worth checking out.

Amused

When I take the bus into Pristina, it passes by this shop. I am assuming they are a mannequin manufacturer. I think they should reconsider their window display. It’s a bit aggressive … just a smear of butts across a window.

Taylor Swift probably has no idea her image is being used to promote a random beauty salon in Kosovo.

taylor swift beauty parlor kosovo.JPG

I’m not opposed to looking at pictures of George Clooney, but I don’t understand his picture in this context …

George Clooney Kosovo.JPG

🙂

Cases in the Albanian Language (Shqip)

Last week, we had an in-service language training, which was very useful. I got to learn more about the Albanian language (Shqip, pronounced “Ship”).

One concept I previously had a hard time understanding was that of “cases” in the Albanian language. I am going to explain cases as best as I can, based on my understanding of what they are. Cases show the grammatical function of the word in a sentence.

In Shqip, the word endings of nouns change to show their function in a sentence. Let’s use my name, “April,” as an example. The word April is actually considered a masculine word in Shqip, because it ends in a consonant (feminine words end in a vowel). Here are the ways my name would change, depending on its function in a sentence:

  • Kyo eshte Aprili. (This is April.) My name gets an “i” at the end, because I am the direct object.
  • Lapsi eshte Aprilit. (The pencil is April’s.) My name gets a “it” at the end, because I am the owner of the pencil.
  • Dje e pashe Aprilin. (Yesterday I saw April.) My name gets an “in” at the end, because I am the receiver of an action.

Now consider the following sentence:

The postman brought the parcel. The order of the words gives us information about the sentence. If we changed the word order to “The parcel brought the postman,” the meaning of the sentence would change.

Let’s look at that same sentence in Shqip. It translates to “Postieri ([the] postman) e solli (brought) pakten ([the] parcel).” Because the words “postman” and “paketen” change endings to tell us what their functions are in the sentence, we can use the words in any order.

  • Paketen e solli postieri.
  • E solli postieri pakon.
  • E solli pakon postieri.
  • Postieri pakon e solli.
  • Pakon postieri e solli.

All of these sentences have the same meaning, and all of these sentences are grammatically correct.

This fact blew my mind!

So when I return from having lived in Kosovo for two years, and you ask me, “April, why aren’t you fluent in Albanian?” My answer will be, “Because of the cases.” 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this mini lesson on the Albanian language.

Friday Gratitude: Language In-Service Training (IST)

Hello! I spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday attending an in-service language training with the Peace Corps. I learned a bit more Shqip (Albanian) and got to spend time in my favorite Kosovo city with some of my volunteer friends. It was a good week!

language group kosovo
Language training

Other bonuses: the weather was gorgeous (I was outside without a coat most of the time), I got to visit Sweet Bean Bakery several times, and I spent the night with another volunteer friend who lives closer to the training site. We (well, mostly he) made a delicious chicken stir fry for dinner.

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Christian making stir fry. 🙂

As far as media consumption goes, I finally finished reading Stephen King’s The Stand. I’d seen the mini-series but don’t think I had previously read the book. I also caught up on Girls.

I’ll be writing a post soon about some of what I learned about the Shqip language, and I’ll be posting about a field trip we took to the Peja Ecological Museum. Have a good weekend and stay tuned!

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Field trip: Sarah Jessica, April, and Kushtrim

Jax the Unicorn

I pay attention to my blog stats and lately, I’ve noticed a big spike in the number of times my post, Jennifer the Unicorn, has been looked at. It is by far my most popular blog post to date.

Around the same time, I noticed a big spike in blog traffic from Canada. (Hello, Canadian friends!) I don’t know if it is a coincidence, or if Canadians really like crocheted unicorns …

Anyway, I mentioned to my mom that I was thinking of doing another unicorn project, since the first one had been so successful. (Hey, I’m not above pandering to the masses.) She suggested I make my unicorn, Jennifer, a boyfriend. My mom also suggested that I give my new unicorn a “J” name to go along with Jennifer, so I chose Jax. (And no, I’m not a Sons of Anarchy fan. I just think it’s an interesting name.)

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Jax

I used the same crochet pattern that I did for Jennifer. It was much faster going this time. Jennifer took me weeks to complete, while Jax only took the better part of a few days. Maybe that’s because it was my second time using the pattern.

The only change I really made this time around was to follow a different pattern for the horn and mane.

Unicorn Mohawk

So now I have two crocheted unicorn toys. (Are you worried that I’m cracking up over here? I know! Me, too!) 😛

So happy together!