Friday Gratitude: Is This Thing On?

For last Friday’s gratitude post, I forgot to add a title. Haha. Sorry!

I am predicting blog traffic will be low today, as those of you in the U.S. are probably recovering from your turkey-induced comas. But I will soldier on …

Media consumption this week:

  • I read Let the Right One In. Since I was going to Sweden right after Halloween, I thought it would be fun to read a Swedish vampire book. Alas, I had to wait on the download from the Chicago Public Library, so I started reading it after my trip. I’d seen the movie version years ago and remember finding it dull and strange. But the book was outstanding. It is one of the most disturbing things I’ve read but in a good way. There were a few pages of gore I had to skip, though.
  • So then I re-watched the movie version. There was so much going on in the book that they had to cut a lot out of the movie. It is pretty slow moving. There are certain parts you wouldn’t understand unless you read the book first. (The book is much better.)
  • I finished watching Master of None. Many people had recommended the show to me. Some episodes really hit the mark for me, while others I thought were too twee. Overall, though, it’s a good show. Next, it’s on to season two of Stranger Things
coca cola with shqip albanian writing
“Thanks for smiles”
IMG_7529
April, Rachel, Christian, Todd, and Stephanee at a JFK photo exhibit in Peja, Kosovo.

Yesterday (Thanksgiving), I treated myself to my favorite pasta dish in Pristina, and then I taught at the orphanage. Then I went home and called my entire family. 🙂 I’ll be celebrating the holiday with friends this weekend. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂 Talk to you Monday …

Gobble Gobble (Thanksgiving Classroom Activity)

Last year, I bought a bunch of Popsicle sticks, thinking I would use them in my classroom. Then I had zero ideas for what to do. Recently, I was googling Thanksgiving classroom activities, and I came across this Pictionary-type game. Students choose a stick and have to draw the word on it while their teammates guess what it is. Yes! Finally, a way to use all those Popsicle sticks!

thanksgiving game classroom

I’ll also be playing Thanksgiving Bingo with my students and asking them to complete a “thankfulness” turkey worksheet.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are some other activities, materials, and lesson plans I have used in my classroom:

Holiday Gift Guide: Kosovo

Let’s say you’re a person living in Kosovo, and you don’t know what to get your friends and family this year. Or, let’s say you’re a person in another part of the world, and you have a friend/family member in Kosovo and you want to ask them for a gift but you don’t know something good to ask for. Look no further. Here is a holiday gift guide for you!

During the holiday season, Nene Teresa Boulevard in Pristina turns into a Christmas mart. In addition to mulled wine, you can also find cute gifts. I bought several of these magnets last year and mailed them home to my family. Normally, I don’t mail stuff other than postcards to the U.S., because that can get expensive and I am a poor Peace Corps volunteer. However, magnets only cost a few Euro to send.

kosovo magnet 3
Traditional male clothing
kosovo magnet 2
Traditional female clothing
kosovo magnet 1
Rugova canyon

These beaded necklaces are popular in Kosovo. Many local women make them. They cost around 5 Euro each. Someone in my cohort has a host sister who makes them, and I’ve ordered a number for my friends and family.

beaded necklace kosovo 1
Single color
beaded necklace kosovo 2
Multi-color

Postcards are a cheap, fun way to send a holiday greeting. There is a big selection at the Pristina Christmas mart.

kosovo-postcard
Pristina postcard

If you really, really like someone, you could buy them a handmade rug. I bought one for myself. 🙂

Albanian handmade wool rug
GORGEOUS!

If you know someone musical, consider introducing them to the çifteli, a traditional stringed instrument.

çifteli (2-stringed instrument)

Last, a plis (men’s traditional woolen cap) could be a fun gift for the more adventurous gentleman in your life. 🙂

man-wearing-plis
plis

Friday Gratitude:

“‘I hope you don’t quit,’ he said. ‘I think we’re goin to need all of you we can get.'” — Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Lately, my web traffic from France has been booming. I’m not sure why, but … Bonjour, French readers! Bienvenue!

I had a blast at my friend’s wedding in Tirana, Albania last weekend. Normally, I hate weddings, but this one was fun. PCVs know how to party. I participated in some circle dancing (very popular in Albanian culture!), but sometimes it got a little too hardcore for me. Check this out …

I was happy to spend the weekend traveling with my friends. 🙂 (Despite the fact that it was pouring rain in Tirana.)

Christian Val April
Christian, Val, and April visiting the National History Museum in Tirana, Albania.
Sierra April Chelsea Sam Christian
The family looking fancy: Sierra, April, Chelsea, Sam and Christian before the wedding.
Todd April Stephanee
At the wedding: Todd, April, and Stephanee

Media consumption this week:

  • No Country for Old Men is one of my all-time favorite movies, but I’d never read the book by Cormac McCarthy (so I did). The movie faithfully followed the book, so much so that when I was reading, the movie was playing in my head.

This is the 52nd book I’ve read this year, so I hit my goal of reading one book per week! (Not that I’m going to stop reading.)

***

Yesterday, I went to Rachel’s school. Christian, Tim, and I were judges for her school’s poetry recitation competition. (P.S. All three of them are volunteers.) (P.P.S. I am helping to organize the national poetry recitation competition next month.)

April Christian Tim
April, Christian, Tim

***

I was talking to my sister a few days ago and she mentioned Thanksgiving is next week. I was like, “whaaaaat?!” So soon?

With the holidays coming up, if you’d like to send me a holiday card *cough, cough* you can reach me here:

April Gardner
Peace Corps
Str. Mujo Ulqinaku No. 3
10000 Pristina
Kosovo

Hope you all have a great weekend and a great upcoming holiday week. Talk to you on Monday.

National History Museum, Tirana, Albania

This past weekend, I visited the National History Museum in Tirana, Albania.

National History Museum Tirana Albania 1
Front entrance
National History Museum Tirana Albania 2
Rendition of an Albanian home
National History Museum Tirana Albania 3
Front hallway
National History Museum Tirana Albania 4
Statues depicting gods
National History Museum Tirana Albania 5
Fortress
National History Museum Tirana Albania 6
Weapons
National History Museum Tirana Albania 7
Fresque mural by Fatmir Haxhiu
National History Museum Tirana Albania 8
“The stamp and the flag of the Albanian association”
National History Museum Tirana Albania 9
Onufri room

My friend was telling my about the artist Onufri, who is thought to be from what is now Berat, Albania. He is famous for the color pink. According to Wikipedia, “He was the first to introduce the colour pink into icon painting. The secret of this color was not passed on and died with him.”