Lizzy Foulkes has returned to Canada from serving for 9 months with AFM (Adventist Frontier Missions -- )where she was based in Vlore working mostly with English classes and public health evangelism. This particular post is from a March email home to family and friends.
An Albanian assignment I had this week was to write about how my typical day goes. It inspired the following, which is longer, in English, tells of a specific day… and uses much better grammar.
This morning smelled like spring and was bright enough to require sunglasses. After breakfast of a yummy apple-sunflower bread Jazmine made, spending some time with God, walking down to the office and then teaching an English class, we had an Albanian lesson. Our language helper, Arjola, is a teacher who we recently were introduced to by the son of Lejda, a woman we met while she was working in the market we usually buy our fruits and veggies from. Arjola currently does not work in a school but stays home to take care of her son, Tristan, who turns two next week. Her husband lives in Italy.
Upon arriving at Arjola's doorstep this morning and walking up the couple of pebbly steps sprinkled with purplish-black olives from the overhanging tree, and going through the metal gate, we asked if we could have class outside to take full advantage of the sun. She probably thought that was a little odd, but agreed. We set up a table and a few chairs in the courtyard, and Tristan was put in his stroller
beside us, and we began. One of the first things we did during the session was read and be corrected on that writing assignment. For the rest of the time, we learned wonderful new things about verb tenses, had quite a time trying to follow all of Arjola's sentences, caught the papers the odd burst of wind swept off the table, and chatted with Lejda, who lives close by, for the couple of minutes we happened to
Tristan was sitting at the table with us the entire time. He likes to fling books, pens, and papers around during our language sessions, which can be terribly distracting. I've whined about him after previous language sessions. However, I'm developing a sneaking suspicion that he's a closet sweetheart. Near the end of the lesson, as Jazmine was asking Arjola some other questions, I was dancing with
him, tickling his hot-pink-socked feet, and speaking a mix of Albanian-English gibberish to him. He's really not so bad after all.
We bought some bananas for tomorrow's breakfast from the lady who sits on the corner and always says hello to us, and staples – like cornflakes and toilet paper – from Vlorë's only "supermarket", then walked (we walk everywhere in this city) back to the house, taking the 200-stair-shortcut through the veteran's cemetery.
We ate lunch with the Hendrickson's like we occasionally do, pitching in some of the food and doing some of the prep. We had our weekly staff meeting discussion debrief time, and then it was time to go back down to the office for an evening class with a girl who's working on improving her English to get a better job in the capital. (She also speaks Italian and French.) Very occasionally there's something she doesn't understand in English that we are able to say in Shqip. Near the end of the class she commented to us that it was strange to hear us speaking Albanian… just because we sound so… foreign. Sigh. But I guess it's good to know that, yes, we do sound as weird and heavily accented speaking Shqip to Albanians as they do speaking English to
We walked back home after class (though probably would've stayed longer had the internet been working), getting here around seven, and had some chill time, reading, writing, drawing, cleaning a bit, doing laundry, that kind of thing.
Now, it is time to rinse that laundry, hang it up to dry, and head to bed. We have one class in the morning, shopping, cleaning, and cooking to do in the afternoon, and then it will be Sabbath. I smile at the thought.
Some of the things I wrote in the Albanian assignment were that 1) our days are always different, 2) they are always full, and 3) they are going by way too fast.
Ciao for now.