Sometimes, being a Peace Corps Volunteer can be absolutely incredible. (A lot of days.)
I really appreciate all the love that flooded in after the last post. The good days handily outweigh the bad, but the bad days are out there too. (Don’t worry. I still love it here.) It’s normal. Life is life.
And this week, life was really great:
Getting back to classes and planning after four days off for training was an adjustment, but there were lots of great moments at school. My counterpart applied a lot of the things we discussed at the training as we planned this week, including leveling our lesson plans for our students. This was a new concept to many teachers at the training, and I was really excited to embrace the practice at our school.
My seventh graders gave me a great surprise on Wednesday. Three of my boys who never have their homework rushed over to proudly show off the work in their notebooks. (It meant perfect homework completion for the class!) The fact that they also raised their hands to answer without prompting was an added bonus. Little victories.
On Thursday, I had my first day of English Club with my fourth graders, who are over the moon excited to meet after school once a week. We did a fun ice breaker, had mini conversations, and made a list of all the things they want to do during club time. There were requests for making American cookies, watching Disney movies, making crafts and acting. (All things I love!) There was also one request to listen to heavy metal, so we’ll see about that one.
I connected with a few local high school students who are interested in starting a Club GLOW, an offshoot of the girls empowerment camp I will work with this summer. (I’m humming Beyoncé with excitement for all the girl power.)
I went for a five-mile walk with my sitemates Iris and Rachel to find a lake we’d heard of near Kocani. It turns out, it’s gorgeous, so we’ll definitely be back for some summer adventures. This is the trip where they had to dig a bee out of my hair. We also had to get the same bee out of Rachel’s hair. (It was really persistent.) It wanted to nest or something, though the best part may have been when it tried to fly in Iris’ mouth. I wish we had the whole scene on video.
I spent Friday exploring Vinica, a nearby town where my amazing friend Iris lives. We spent some time at an archaeological site, walking through the ruins, and enjoying the view. (If I’m being honest, it’s all just old rocks to me, but it’s still very cool.) We also tried to save a caterpillar being attacked by a fire ant, but we were too late. Sorry buddy.
This weekend, I also got to cross another town off my Macedonian travel list: Krusevo. (It’s pronounced, Kroo-shev-o…probably.) Another volunteer, Mike, set up a weekend of paragliding for us. The views were incredible, the company was great and I’m already thinking of a way to go back for another round. I was a little nervous at the idea of just running off the side of the mountain, but I had a helmet, so I felt pretty confident. I also got major language bonus points for holding a conversation in Macedonian as we floated about 4,500 feet about sea level.
Next weekend, I’m looking forward to cheering on my kiddos at the final round of the National Spelling Bee, talking to potential campers about GLOW Camp, and then running a half marathon on Sunday.
I also discovered my post Peace Corps back-up plan. I traveled through Prilep on the way home from Krusevo and found a boutique named after me! Boutique Rebekah is going places. I can feel it.