Were we having coffee, it would be Turkish, or I would sacrifice some of my French breakfast tea for you. I haven’t even had it, so you’re welcome.
I am currently in North Macedonia, in the Polog region. The Peace Corps picked a few of us to be in the dual-language programme, which means we’ll be learning Albanian and Macedonian at the same time. I’m living with an Albanian woman who speaks no English, and I speak basically no Albanian, so the first few days should be interesting. The city I’m living in has a majority Albanian population, but that’s no guarantee where I’ll be living after these first three months.
So far, everyone has been very hospitable and helpful and I’ve felt very welcome. It’s difficult when there’s an enormous language gulf but for the most part, just saying yes or copying what other people are doing seems to help. I don’t usually have this issue when I travel, but then again I stick to countries where I know the language. I’ll be fine in a bit, but the anxiety is a bit much.
The house that I’m living in is part of a bigger compound of families all facing a courtyard. Every family’s house is different with some similarities in style and decoration. One of the houses is literally being built as we speak.
I’m looking forward to learning more about the culture as I slowly learn the language, but for now I’m soaking in as much as possible.