go shorty, ish ‘ur birfday

December 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have to put out a huge thank you to everyone that has wished me a Среќен Роденден (Happy Birthday).

There have been so many warm wishes from all over the world! That is very cool. In Macedonia the tradition on ones birthday is to give to others. So, today, I brought a batch of coco cookies and chili lime peanuts to work for all my colleagues. They were a hit, many want the recipes. Damn. I hate it when that happens. I am always hot-rodding recipes and can never remember exactly what I did. I think I really like the idea of giving to others on your birthday. It feels more like a true celebration, thanking your friends and family for being a part of your life.

So, now I want to apologize to all my friends and family for not updating my blog for a while. I have been ruminating over what to post. Each day there is something significant that I could talk on about but I am wanting to put more of my thoughts and experiences of my day to day life in dealing with being away and adjusting to a new culture and work environment. I don’t want it to just be a journal of “This is what I did today…”

I have a tendency to avoid starting something if I am not sure it is just exactly right. I am also a great procrastinator! I have to say there have been a lot of ups and downs in the last month, mostly ups. The hardest downs…

1) my disappointment in language aquisition – but that actually has a an up attached to it. I canceled my Skype tutoring sessions (sorry Despina). I am going to try this on my own and see where it goes.

2) every once in a while I get a pang of anxiety when I consider how long 2 years really is, I know it will go fast though, the first four months have.

I had a wonderful Christmas. It was shared with some of the close friends I have made during our shared adventure thus far. It was a small gathering with delicious food and drink: home-made sesame crackers, roasted red pepper spread, roaster garlic and herb spread, French country-style vegetable soup, braised beef with leek, rosemary potatoes, galumpkies, a salad of beet, carrot and cucumber, green bean casserole, chocolate chili cake, spiced bread with a caramel apple topping, egg nog.The best part, everything was made form scratch. A special thanks goes out to my aunt Cindy for some of the recipes, a couple via email and a couple from her cookbook Mustard’s Grill.

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Pictures will follow after the internet speed picks back up again.

Now, it is on to New Year and Macedonian Christmas, they celebrate it January 7th. There are actually a number of holidays in January. Tomorrow is the last day of school for three weeks for the students. I am still doing a lot of observing in the classroom. My counterpart, the English teacher, does a great job with her classes. I hope to be starting with the Gifted program after we return from holiday. I do not believe they have met with the parents yet. I know this is an important program for them so I am sure they will get it up and running as soon as they can.

I am looking forward to some downtime to knit, read and my first visitor! Mark will be arriving January 15th!!!!! YEAH! It will be fun to show him  around my neck of the woods and spend some time with a familiar face form home.

Happy New Year to all!!!

So, what adventure will you be embarking on this year?

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It’s snowing!

December 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

And I was feeling SO left out. Minneapolis got their beautiful snowfall, now we have ours.

Yesterday morning I started stirring in the wee hours and was wondering what it was that woke me so early. It was the beautiful sunrise peeking over the mountains and through the clouds that was screaming, СЛИКА (photograph).

This morning, again, I woke in the wee hours to see снег (snow)! It is the beautiful fat fluffy kind, perfect for making snowmen and throwing snowballs. The temperature is just around freezing, perfect.

Love that sound … you know the squeak snow makes when you walk on it.

I bake a mean loaf of bread!

December 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

Well, at least my first try was successful. I am not sure it would have been if I had not had the opportunity to watch and learn from family. I had some idea of what to look for and what you should or should not do when working with bread.

I found a recipe for a baguette on the food networks website. It was a day long project but well worth it! Tomorrow I will be giving it another go. I am sure in time I will find resources for a variety of flours. I would love to make some wheat or whole grain breads. Next time I buy yeast I will try the small block of stuff they keep in the freezer. Not sure how to use it, but …. I do enjoy experimenting. My mom has a few stories from my childhood to attest to that.

PRO TIP (probably should not call my self a professional) = What to do when you don’t have a plant mister… spray water using your mouth. Why not? I am just absolutely sure bakers did that in the day before there was such a thing as a plant mister. Sprinkling water into the oven and on the loaves by flicking your fingers makes the droplets just  too big.

Other food adventures.         Day before yesterday I roasted a chicken with some herbs (копар, чубрица, боцилек), a little butter & olive oil, crushed red pepper, alongside some onion, carrot and potato. DELICIOUS! Yesterday I made soup with the carcass. Today I am not sure but am leaning towards a chicken and rice curry. I have found a curry powder, we will see how it tastes.

BUT my ultimate favorite meal is popcorn. I had not eaten butter for 3 months. Those of you that know me, know me. I finally just bought some last Monday at the big grocery store. What a treat that was, buttered popcorn. And, to top it all off, the popcorn is home-grown in Cindy’s garden. Thank you, Cindy. You always know.

My morning view

December 4, 2010 § 3 Comments

We had  a lot of rain last night and there is some low fog hanging around the base of the mountains. Love waking up to this view. Much different then the beautiful snowfall Minnesota got last night. It is not even light there yet, what a bright beautiful morning they will have.

I am also making bread this morning! We shall see … wish me luck with this experiment.

a few pictures of my new digs …

December 3, 2010 § 1 Comment

I could not ask for more. Funny, it is much bigger then where I had been living the last 2 years.

My days are slow yet busy, how does that work? The school I am at works two shifts, the older students in the morning and younger in the afternoon. The school day looks very different here. It is much shorter then I am used to. Since my counterpart teaches English to students in both the morning and afternoon shift the bulk of our day is in the late morning and early afternoon only. For now I am observing and learning, teaching English as a second language, at least here in Macedonia, is much different then the teaching I am familiar with. There is A LOT of repetition.

Today I met the students that will be working with in the Gifted program. The Pedagogue is in the process of working out a schedule for their classes. He and I will meet next week and discuss the program and how he would like it to look. I might be working with the students as soon as next week! In the Macedonian school system there is usually a pedagogue and a psychologist. Both work with students, usually the “problem” kids, but the pedagogue also works with the teachers: annual curriculum, teaching methodologies, classroom management. A pedagogue’s role might be compared to an assistant principal in the United States.  The psychologist works with students that have repeated problems in class and usually works directly with the pedagogue when handling discipline.

I am really excited (and nervous) to get working but at the same time I am asking myself… Now, already? What am I going to do?????? 

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Where Am I?

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