Sunday, May 16, 2010

May Highlights and Happenings

May is half gone, and I haven't posted a thing. There have been plenty of parties and outings. Here are just a few highlights from the first half of May:

My lovely friend, Demetra hosted a May Day celebration. The wine was flowing, the cheese was varied, the conversation was delightful. It made me sad that this Albania chapter is closing.

This past summer, my mom, my aunt, my cousin and I spent a productive afternoon at the fabric store. The quality fabrics were colorful and bright; perfect for summer dresses. I picked out five pieces of fabric for the neighborhood seamstress to transform into dresses for Sarah, Tracey, Entela, Amy and me. The result is below (we were on our way to Amor, which as you may know from previous posts, is my favorite restaurant.). Sadly, Entela's dress was still at the shop, but we'll take another group shot at graduation.

Berat is one of the most magical places in Albania and I was so thrilled to visit again. A large group of us spent a few hours in Berat, exploring the castle area, buying our favorite cookies, and eating traditional Albanian food at the Castle Park restaurant. Then, we continued on to Corovoda and the Osumi Canyon for another rafting adventure.

We stayed the night in Corovoda, before rafting. I threw a fuss about staying there, as opposed to Berat, because I had seen the hotel the year before. My expectations of the hotel were incredibly low, but the hotel managed to even sink lower. There was no toilet paper, the bed was broken, the toilet seat was broken, there were spiders... at least the sheets were clean (I used my sleep sheet just to be safe). It really was indoor camping. HOWEVER, it should be noted that it was best to stay there since it cut off so much driving time.

The river was lower, this year, than last year. We had twice as much rain, but hardly any snow. This meant that the rapids were light, bouncy and fun (and we had more of an arm workout paddling). Tracey, Sarah and Florian were in a raft with Florian's friends and I was in a raft with Megan, Katie and Violeta... and an incredibly fascinating and handsome guide! The guides told us that on our first stop, we could do a little cliff jumping. I was a little nervous about climbing down to the edge, but the previously mentioned guide lent a helping hand. Florian jumped first. He's taller than I am so I figured it was safe. I went in after him. Boy was that water cold! Megan, Sarah, Tracey and Violeta followed. We had a blast swimming up stream and playing in the rapids. After a few stops we arrived at the waterfall. The waterfall was bluer than last year and less powerful. We were able to wade behind it than jump out receiving a face full of powerful water. Violeta kept asking, "Holly, want to go again?" I kept saying, "Okay!" We must have repeated the process three times. This rafting adventure makes its way to the Top 5 list of highlights of the 2009-2010 school year.

A group of us went Salsa dancing Friday night. I'm so glad that we took classes last year. It got me thinking, what have I learned to do this year? Last year, I learned to dance, next year I will learn Russian, but this year? Finally, it came to me. I learned to love teaching kindergarten. Really, I didn't think that would ever happen.

May has been a busy month, already. I've missed so much on the home-front, like Mother's Day, my grandfather's 82nd birthday celebration, and a Welcome Back party for my cousin, but life has been happening here too. Only 4 weeks to go. I'm starting to get nostalgic for Albania already.