I moved in with the host family on Saturday afternoon... the group of 34 split ways in 6 little buses and one by one we got dropped off at our houses. Carrie Ann was the first to go, but I was the second, and I live just down a little hill from her, so the two of us are close and we THINK our families are somehow related but cannot possibly understand how yet. My house is beautiful! It's a gated 2 story house, but the 2nd level is still under construction. There is a bathroom, 3 bedrooms on the first floor (one is mine), and a family room. The down part is that the house is a total ICEBOX... I mean FREEZING... I want to die when I wake up every morning. The family room has a gas heater though, so I pretty much am there at all hours of the day. Also, because I'm the guest they point the heater right at me...yay! (downside: they sometimes put it 2 inches from my legs and it burns me, and i have to tell them with actions...like I'm playing charades)!
My family here on the upside is absolutely hilarious and I love them already. My grandmother told me upon entering I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU repeatedly... it was very welcoming and lightened the mood. They showered me with compliments saying I was very very beautiful all weekend long. Everything I own is beautiful too apparently. Let me fill you in on the most random custom: they unpack your bags for you! They go through everything you own and try on clothes, shoes, jewelry, EVERYTHING... it was hilarious...and extremely awkward!
My host father is sooo funny. I have not stopped laughing when he is around the whole weekend and my cheeks hurt really bad! He took me out to coffee bars two times yesterday where I was the only girl in the bar (very common), and drove me all over town in his BENZ, basically the only car they have here. In the house he makes jokes with me and quizzes me on every object in the room. I slowly but surely am learning the language Shqip (pronounced SHIP), and the family is really impressed with how much I can understand. Some overwhelming urge in my body makes me think I should speak Spanish though too which is sometimes problematic. I guess I just think, foreign country, don't speak English, and I fall back onto Spanish as a backup... sorta funny!
As for food since a lot of you asked...everything is delicious. I feel like I'm eating way too much here. They served me soup with meat in it both days for dinner so far, a hardboiled egg & fruit for breakfasts, and an egg & cheese for lunch yesterday. At every meal, they put a community bowl of salad, olives, or yogurt in the middle of the table and you eat straight from the bowl together! We also have chickens on the premises which they informed me would be killed (motioned by finger slitting the neck) Wednesday, so we'll see. We also have a turkey, who knows when that goes?!
The people in my village are all very nice- I cannot wait to get to know them. Our project for Peace Corps is making contacts and mapping our community- we're going to do it all right now. We just had language class and ate a delicious pita full of meat, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo & salsa, and FRENCH FRIES...ON THE SANDWICH...and it was delicious too!
Can't wait for more emails from you guys... they were soo nice and great to hear from you!