that's our james

Disclaimer: This is my blog. No one else's. This is what I think about stuff. If others think the same thing, it's up to them to express it. The sole purpose of my writings is to keep my friends and family informed. My opinions are just that, opinions so don't get to worked up if something offends you. Thanks.

11 April 2008

Ciao Katie...

Katie holding brownies made by Juliet and decorated by Me :)

About two weeks ago, Berat suffered a tragic loss. Our dear sitemate Katie headed back to her homeland of Minnesota a little early :(

Now that it's been over a week, I am fairly confident that we will survive, not thrive mind you but survive. I had my doubts but luckily I've been relatively busy and have kept myself occupied.

Before Katie's departure, we had a great night out in Berat. Several friends joined us as we had our farewell dinner, rode/drove/did bumper cars, played pool (a hobby reserved for men only), and went to our local club/bar. We danced the night away in upstairs of the bar which we had all to ourselves. And in the sense of adventure, on the our walk back, we joined a private party in another bar. We only stayed for a drink and one dance. I arrived home around 3am. That's late. I'm never out that late in Berat. My sleepy little town does have its wild side. Katie just had to coax it out.

On Tuesday of the next week, we headed to Tirana so Katie could begin all the paperwork associated with the end of our Peace Corps service. It worked out great. I had a seminar in Tirana and needed to return Honey (the dog I was watching). Katie and I got to hang out a few more days before she headed out for the last time.

Again we had a great time. The days in Tirana featured many coffees, some tasty dinners, three trips to the crepe place in as many days, and one more night out. On her last night in Tirana, Katie went hardcore. With the taxi coming at 3:30am for her very early flight, we stayed out till 2:30. I was very impressed.

Katie and our friend Lauren enjoying some nice wine before heading out

A typical moment between Katie and Diana, a PC staff member

Katie being hardcore, minutes before the taxi arrived

Maybe someday you will be lucky enough to meet Katie. She is an amazing person. Basically she ROCKS! She is definitely missed. If you're in The Cities, you should look her up. She can feed you Albanian biscuits and sing you Berat folk songs. I know I'll be stoppin by soon.

02 April 2008

My new obsession...

I have a new favorite past time. What could it be, what could it be???
Laundry. Yep. I now really enjoy doing my laundry. I've always been a little picky about my laundry. Being in Shqiperi (Albania) has taken my meticulousness to the next level. I'll spare you all the details of my procedures. However, I will say that in a land of hard, yucky water, and no dryers, fabric softener is key. I started using fabric softener, even though it's a little pricey for a Peace Corps stipend, when my landlords gave me my very own washer. That was a big day too. Before that my landlady had been doing my laundry. I think she was surprised how ofter I washed clothes. I appreciated her help and God knows I would have never done my laundry by hand but I was thrilled when I got my washer.
In the picture below you see the detergent I use. It's the good stuff. I might switch to Tide since it has become available in Berat just recently. You'll also see the fabric softener collection. My favorite is the first one (yellow), then I bought the green, then Katie gave me the orange. I can't wait to run out so I can buy more of the yellow stuff. See I told you it was an obsession.

I thought I'd also include another James peculiarity: children's toothbrushes. Years ago my dentist told me to better clean my wisdom teeth, I should use a kid's toothbrush. I brought a supply with me to Albania but I lost some and miscalculated the number of times I'd be changing them. So I had to buy a new toothbrush. I bought the pink dinosaur first. I was quite happy with my purchase so when I was without a toothbrush in Tirana, I bought the blue momma elephant, you can see her baby at her feet. Not only are they small and colorful, making brush time lots of fun, they also come with covers, another necessity for me.

I hope you enjoyed the little peak inside my head.