It's good to be in Македонија!
What a long trip with not much sleep. Also, we ate 3 airplane meals in 12 hours. mmm. Jet lag is slowly going away, but we still need a nap every afternoon.
So far, we've visited three elementary schools to observe English teachers here, and we have one more tomorrow. The point is to find out more about their teaching approach (not that it matters to you, but there is quite a difference between ESL and EFL) and also to help make some good contacts for the people we are working with. This has been so much fun! They are very good teachers, speak English extremely well, and we love chatting with them! My favorite has definitely been the first grade class with lots of singing and talking about our favorite toys/foods. I do love little kids. I could write some about language acquisition theory, teaching methods, etc. but then you'd be bored... So let it suffice that we are seeing a lot that relates to what we've learned in class, and that's always a good thing. This morning we took pictures with mobs of kids and their precious teacher (who's been teaching for 29 years and wanted us to see every single one of her students' projects). We also watched some group presentations on 8th graders' favorite movies -- High School Musical 3, Step Up 3D, Aquamarine, and The Last Song. They chose these because of the music, the romance, the cute actors... Teenagers are pretty much the same everywhere.
This is definitely a "quality time" culture. Since this is my secondary love language, I'm liking it! My other love language -- coffee -- is also in abundance. Every school we've visited has offered us coffee and tea (кафе и чај) and of course we always accept. I think I tried Turkish coffee for the first time yesterday, or something like it... I'm pretty sure my hair was standing on end after that. At the school we visited this morning, we were supposed to wait for the 1st graders to come back from a field trip so they could sing for us. But they were over an hour late, so we just hung out with the director in his office eating cookies while he entertained us with stories about the school, his family, and Macedonian history. What a funny man! I haven't laughed so hard and so much in a long time!
At night we have English Camp at Izgrev Center, which is a government-recognized community organization that's funded by a partner church. Officially, they promote community wellness and moral growth, but they mainly offer English and Spanish classes, Bible studies/seminars, and fun get-togethers. There is no organized evangelical church in Prilep, but there are a few believers who are regulars at the Izgrev Center and the goal is for these people to eventually become a church. 32 people registered on the first night of the English Club, and eight out of ten people in my class came back for the second night. I am co-teaching with one of my classmates and our professor, which makes it a lot easier for all of us to plan less and interact more. We have two more nights left, tonight and tomorrow, and I'm excited to spend more time with our students in our nightly after-class trip for coffee. Fun times!
Last night, one of the guys from our class helped me order a crepe (палачинка) with eurocream (nutella). Delicious. I was then informed by his friend that these "pancakes" will make you fat, so you should always eat fruit and salad at every meal to stay healthy. hahaha
Some very important Macedonian words:
македонски (mah-keh-don-skee) - Macedonian
палачинка (pa-la-chin-ka) - "pancakes" or crepes
Boдa (vo-dah) - water
кафе и чај (kah-fay ee chai) - coffee and tea
нa здравје (Nah zdra-vyeh!) - salud! to your health! cheers!
здраво (zdrah-bo) - hello
Ви благодарам (vee blah-go-dah-rahm) - thank you