Tuesday, September 28, 2010

im trying to redesign my blog

and so far im very dissatisfied with the look. so i apologize for my ever-changing page formats/color schemes.
any who i just got back from a wonderful vacation in italy with my mama. i ate gelato, walked around rome and venice till my feet hurt. saw my first opera 'la traviata'. it's the opera richard gere takes julia roberts to in the movie 'pretty woman'. its interesting because the opera is about a high class man who falls in love with a prostitute, and i never realized the two story lines paralleled one another. good stuff.
so aside from that i saw venice for the first time and the whole vacation i felt like i was in one of jk rowling's novels; i half expected to open a secret chamber by accident, and maybe spot harry potter in a magic shop. the streets are super narrow and they often lead to dead ends, or small canals. the room my mom got us in venice was huge! you know when you walk around in an old palace and you see bedrooms blocked off with red velvet ropes and stanchions? that was our room! haha. i felt like venetian royalty. very juxtapose to my day to day life in albania. its weird when im here in albania the modern world seems so far away and yet we're just and hour plane ride from yummy gelato.
i definitely felt a low coming back, i wasn't as prepared for this as another pcv, erwin (whom i ran into at the airport). he brought a mcdonalds breakfast sandwich back with him from budapest as a post-vacay depression treat. smart man i tell you. smart man.
i guess my coping method (from being away from my mom--we had SOOO MUCH FUN) was to spend an obscene amount of money at conad (one of the only grocery store chains in albania, found in large cities i.e. not lezhe)... and by obscene i mean 2,500.00 leke which is about 20 us dollars. so maybe my definition of obscene has changed a bit...any how its was definitely not in the budget this month. humph.
without further ado ill link you guys to my photos from italy...italy through my eyes.

and on a cool personal note my blog has been viewed 1,400 times! wow. thanks for tuning in guys! i promise a new video post soon! i was thinking about maybe filming my walk to work since my house tour was so popular. your thoughts?!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

frustration and mlk.

So this morning for lack of a better word, sucked. 
I felt that I got slapped in the face for volunteering my time. I KNEW this day would come; the day where i feel like giving up...and that the sadness I feel from living far away from my family and friends (in a foreign country), considerably outweighs the feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment that volunteering sometimes lends to the soul. 
I was reprimanded for something that was very unfair and my reputation came into question. After spending six months in a country learning the language, and volunteering my time and expertise (well assuming I HAVE expertise), I was questioned on account (pun intended) of MY accountability. Which is quite laughable considering the work ethic, or lack there of, that plagues many bureaucracies in Albania-- In no way excluding the sector I currently work with. In order to displace blame upon themselves, they find it easy to blame an outsider. One who does not possess the language skills to eloquently defend her position. Although I do not completely disregard my fault in this situation, it was a breakdown of communication (surprising*enter sarcastic tone here) and both parts are equally responsible. More or less I offered my help to someone, who shot down my idea and continued assistance, with more force than a nutcracker on some walnuts. Thus I did not help prep for an information session.
When the session finished and (quite frankly before it began) it was clear that it had been an epic failure, and the blame and overall focus turned on ME. Apparently my absence (which was requested) was at fault for poor planning on a project that involved FOUR organizations and 5 months of preparation (or lack there of). Subsequently MY reputation came under question with a member of the community I respect and admire. So needless to say I was furious. I couldn't decide if I wanted to vomit, cry, or scream. I eventually settled on the second choice --with the nice little additive of a gnarly stomach knot so big it could rival the largest ball of twine in a Midwest state. 
Meanwhile questions started rising  (simultaneously with my acid reflux)... Why am I here? How am I to blame? Am I to blame? How do I convince the community of who I really am? Who do they think they are? I am a volunteer! Its their job not mine! I'm just here to help, and they refused my offer! I'm not going to lie those questions may have been intertwined with some four-letter words not appropriate for my blog.
So this all led to me looking for motivation. Where to go? Facebook became the obvious choice. Luckily I had a couple hundred comments (because it was recently my birthday, not cause I'm exceedingly awesome) full of motivation from friends who KNOW me. It helped but I couldn't resist the temptation to open a new tab and google "inspirational quotes". One quote surfaced (among the array of cheesy shoot for the stars, shiz) from a man that had faced much scrutiny in his lifetime, MLK-- and I know I'm being over dramatic in attempting to compare my morning to this mans lifelong fight for equality-- but still I felt a connection. The quote goes a little something like this--

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
  - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And I do get that when MLK was speaking of painstaking excellence he meant it in the sense of doing something with great care and thoroughness. But I cant help but feel that he also implied the work we do to make a difference is some of the most PAIN filled, heart-wrenching, gut imploding, frustrating, infuriating work you will ever do. That being said, I think you know you're doing something right when you feel these things. It is necessary to sweat blood and tears to uplift and change humanity in a truly excellent fashion. Maybe he didn't mean it quite like that but on a day like today, I'll take some creative FREEDOM to make a liberal interpretation. I hope you as my readers  (all nine of you ;) will let this slide.

Ok so now the tears have stopped rolling and my tummy deserves a good pat after the civil war its been through... I can NOW say that I am going to continue to fight. But today sucked. A lot. 

Miss you all.