So, we made a music video.
Yep, you read that right.
It’s badly lip synced and completely corny, but with a little help from Beyoncé (Duh.), R. Kelly and a few others, we chronicled our PST (pre service training) experience.
We wrote our parody after about three weeks here, when we were still fumbling through the basic language. (Sometimes I still do.)
We got our teachers on board, filmed one afternoon and one of my rock star classmates Gwen, (check out her blog here), edited the masterpiece.
Some nods were specific to our experience in Sveti Nikole, but there were also some universals. We debuted the video for all of the trainees and staff at our last Hub Day yesterday. I laughed until I cried.
Our fellow trainees understood most of the references, but for those of you who haven’t been living in Sveti Nikole with us for the last two and a half months, here is a behind the scenes look at Sveti Nikole: Remix to PST.
We reference Monty Python semi-regularly in class, so this was the perfect way to start off our medley. We also assigned our language teacher, Vojkan, an American alter ego during PST. He’s John Smith, from Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He lives in the burbs and trains carrier pigeons. (See how well-behaved they are?)
To the tune of: Drake, “Started From the Bottom”
Mak 19 refers to the 44 volunteers who arrived in Macedonia this year. We are the 19th group to serve in Macedonia. (You’ve probably heard of our official hash tag: #Mak19.)
To the tune of: Beyoncé, “Partition”
Our classrooms are wallpapered with flip charts of verb conjugations, vocab lists, indirect and direct object pronouns (Woof.) and more. Rolling up a new flip chart means learning new information. Oh, and that’s the other Sveti language teacher, Tome. Sometimes we call him Tome the tiger. (He’s grrrreat!)
In Sveti, we meet for language classes at the fire station. The fire truck lives behind these doors, which say Sveti Nikole at the bottom. (That cool sunshine? That’s what the Macedonian flag looks like.)
Minus learning to introduce myself, the first language we learned dealt with food, ordering in a restaurant and buying things. I bought the banana and the chocolate bar right before we filmed. (I ate them right after we filmed.)
In the video, we switch from saying Macedonian to Makedonski. Makedonski translates to: Macedonian.
To the tune of: Taylor Swift, “Love Story”
Vojkan is my language teacher at PST. We want him to teach us Macedonian, but we (and by that I mean me) also want him to answer a dozen questions every day about everything.
Tome, you’ve already met. He and Vojkan share a home during PST. (The language teachers at every training site do because they’re all from different cities.)
We made a list of class rules when we arrived in Sveti Nikole. The one we like the most: More high fives.
Da means yes. The T. Swift line is something about saying yes. See what we did there?
(Fun fact: Gwen, our performer/video editor, is laughing so hard because that ferocious high-five almost knocked her over.)
To the tune of: R. Kelly, “Ignition (Remix)”
These are the names of all four training communities, because all PCTs deserve a shoutout.
We filmed these in Sveti near a soccer field. We loved the graffiti wall for our R. Kelly parody.
This line translates: Now, can I have ajvar? Can I have cheese?
You’ve heard about ajvar before. It’s the lifeblood of Macedonia. (I might not be exaggerating.) сирење is the word for cheese. We always eat it with ajvar, because together they taste like happiness.
Coffee is a huge part of the culture here. We’re offered a cup several times a day and its a big part of the social scene.
We’ve also eaten a lot of peppers.
This is just a nod back to the original remix to ignition, only with Macedonian.
We are all TEFL volunteers in Sveti, so we are all teachers. Sometimes we dance in the disco.
Why would you wear a dress when you could wear a track suit?
The word for weekend is викенд, which partially inspired using this song in the parody.
леб, леб, леб, леб, леб, леб, леб
This translates to: bread, bread, bread, bread, bread, bread, bread.
It’s kind of a big deal at Macedonian meal time.
These are the few, the proud, the PCTs (Peace Corps trainees) of Sveti Nikole. This bread-tossing, dance party was hilarious.
These are my people.
These last shots were from our climb to the top of Bogoslavets a few weekends ago. (I don’t know where the dance moves were from.)
PST has been tough in many ways, but with these wonderful people by my side, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.