No, this is not our front porch, but when Ted took this picture in Germia Park, I looked at it and said, “I look silly.” To which he said, “In other words the picture will never see the light of day.” So, to prove him wrong, I have included this picture. Love you Ted!
Sitting on the front porch enjoying the beautiful summer day, Prishtina Kosova
In my last blog post, I regaled you all with the tale of how boring I am. Alone for 6 days and the most exciting things I did were to watch all 6 hours of Pride and Prejudice and to go to a garage sale. Both of which are pretty exciting in my book, by the way.
Anyway, I got to thinking about it and there has been lots of excitement around these parts in the last month or so. After all we did end the school year with some fun. I just haven’t written about it. So, I thought it was time to catch you all up on the news. Here we go!
First up, a couple of weeks before school ended we had a talent show. Our arts teacher, Arijeta, did a great job of getting kids ready and pulling together a wonderful show. We began with a visiting musician.
The students’ talent is even shown on the wall. All of that art work in the background is done by our students. Pretty impressive.
Then students produced some short plays, told some jokes, played instruments, sang and danced their way into all of our hearts.
The boys got into this dance by lending a back or two.
We have quite a crew of very talented kids and Arijeta does a wonderful job of bringing out that talent in each of them. I must say that she encourages them, telling them that they CAN get up in front of their peers and show what they have learned. That is a feat unto itself!
Shortly after that, Skender, Jackie, Ted and I took a day go on a little visit out to the mountains of Rogova. Such beauty all around us. We stopped at a little hotel for tea and to gaze at the beauty around us. Even the cattle on the hills were enchanting. We took a walk to a gorgeous waterfall.
I loved this trail because it starts at the TOP of the waterfall and then heads down if you would like. Or you can be like us and enjoy the falls and head on back to the car :]
Now while all that seems quiet and peaceful, it actually was a bit wild because you see, the end of the school year is field trip time in Kosova. The public schools each pick a weekend day and take their kids out for an all day, all night adventure traveling the country (it is a small country after all ). Skender reminisced about his days of seeing the tourist sites by day and then stopping for dinner and dancing the night away. We happened upon many, many such excited groups running past us, bumping into us. We thought we might have to rescue a few from the falls! That was alright though because it got us ready for the next excitement in our lives.
On Monday of the last week of school, we rounded up all 40 middle schoolers and about 10 adults for a field trip to “The Caves” Now, if you don’t think that is exciting, you haven’t ever been on a field trip with middle schoolers!
I don’t know the name in Albanian, people around here just call them The Caves.
We wandered through for almost an hour with our guide pointing out the different features as we went. Then it was off to this place for lunch – a grocery store and restaurant all in one.
We ate at the tippy top of the building on the right.
Although I would have liked to visit this place, the kids didn’t quite agree with me.
The local bazar (or pazar as they call it here) as seen from the window of the restaurant. There are always fun things to find in a bazar, but the kids all think it is the same old thing.
After lunch it was time to head on back to the school and send the kids home for the day. You see, we are wiser than the public schools, we send the kids home after a field trip rather than keeping them out half the night :]
And since we are gluttons for punishment, the next day we took the kids on another field trip (well, actually we had to keep the middle schoolers busy while the high schoolers had half days of finals). This time we went to one of my new favorite places, Germia Park. We were smart about it though. Some of us teachers sat where we had a good view of the park and ate things like this
Chicken sandwich – oh yum!
while the kids enjoyed themselves.
Yes, we were far away from the water gun fights!!
We did finish our lunch in time to enjoy some of the fun and games. That is after the water gun fights were over – you know what I mean?
Then, if all that wasn’t enough on Wednesday of that week we had community service day. While some of the kids helped beautify the neighborhood or paint murals in the school,
On the landing between the ground floor and the first floor of our building.
In the hallway leading to all the Arts rooms
I had a couple of girls in to help me get ready for an American baby shower for Lindita. They helped me decorate
Puffy balls of tulle hanging from the lights are fun.
And when you have a gun rack over the fireplace, what do you do about that for a baby shower? Why, decorate it of course! The girls made the sign, isn’t it cute.
and fix some treats.
Flower shaped egg salad sandwiches,
heart shaped watermelon,
cherries dipped in chocolate. The girls liked climbing the tree in the yard to get those cherries the most of anything they helped with.
While we were finishing that up, the cake arrived and we were ready for the fun. Just as we finished, the ladies came and we had a great time. We played games, of course, like “How Much Toilet Paper is needed to go around Lindita?”
You are kidding, have you looked at her?
And her mother-in-law got it just exactly right! Uhmmmm, did you all notice anything? This is the middle of June and her baby is due the first week of August. I wasn’t that small at 3 months along – with any of my 4 kids! What about you?
And to top the day off, Lindita opened cute little boy presents. Such fun! I think a good time was had by all, even those ladies who had never been to a crazy American baby shower before.
On Friday of that week (Oh yeah, same week – exciting enough for you? It was for me!) we trekked on out to Orllan to have our last day of school celebration with the staff.
Adriatiku restaurant, right on the lake, beautiful!
The gang was all there as we ate together
Ted said some good-byes from us all and we celebrated a 30th birthday Quite a lovely evening.
Field trips, baby shower, staff dinner all in one week, that was about the time that Ted and I decided that we needed to get out of town for a bit. So we took our houseguest, Curran (did I mention that we picked up a house guest on Thursday, since nothing else was going on that day) and headed off to Macedoina for a couple of days.
We took Curran (nice kid, great guest, by the way) out to wander the ancient streets of Stobe. We looked over the ruins and watched the archeologists at work.
This is our third trip to Stobe, but the first time we have seen anyone working there, fascinating.
When we got back to Skopje, for the first time in about a year the fountain was not a construction zone!
We were there on the first day it opened back up. Before we went to Stobe, it was closed and the next day it opened. Yea!!
That night we played Yahtzee in the hotel courtyard and ordered pizza to be delivered – first time for us here. And in case, you didn’t notice that box it was DOMINOS!
Good old, cheesy, greasy, American, pepperoni pizza! Just like home. Ahhhh
Yes, all of that was exciting, but the fun was not done yet. You see, right before the end of school, about the same time all of this was happening, we all began looking at Sammy-dog. Is she? Isn’t she? We went round and round. It turns out she was.
Sammy has been around for nearly a year. She comes for a few days, sleeps on our porch and then leaves for a few days. She is truly a street dog. She forages for food more than we feed her and she is excellent at catching birds. We have found the feathers (ugh). So when she turned up pregnant, we weren’t surprised.
Then one day, we noticed that she was a bit slimmer and her milk had come in. So, where the puppies? After some investigation, Ted found this. A hole in the small hill that is by the side of our house. He looked in, but could only see that Sammy girl had dug waaaaay back into the hill. He couldn’t see (or hear) any puppies.
Not a sign of puppies
So, we decided that they must have been still born. Sammy spent most of the day and almost all of each night on our front porch over the next few weeks, so that kind of confirmed our decision that they weren’t born alive. Sad, but that is the life of a street dog.
But, you know the old Disney nature movies we watched as kids? The ones where the baby wolves are playing around the den cute as can be while the mama wolf is out foraging for food? Well, those movies didn’t tell the Sammy-dog story. Because this week when we returned from a few days in Greece to celebrate Ted’s birthday and our anniversary, who was there to greet us? Yeah, three of them. Turns out that Sammy wasn’t out foraging for food while her puppies were in the den. She was asleep on our porch. Ted says she is just teaching them to be independent thinkers who can fend for themselves. But then, he is much nicer than I am. I say she is a rotten mom. While they are curled up by the house crying. She is on the porch, sleeping where they can’t reach her. When one of them finally figured out how to get up the stairs, she ran and hid under a car. One of them tried pleading with Frodo,
“Please can you get our mom to feed us, play with us, to do anything for us?”
He finally gave up and just slept by Frodo instead.
And no – Frodo is not the dad. According to Richard, our friend in China, when two dogs live together at the same house, they live like brother and sister, so Frodo could not possibly be the dad (uhmmm, OK). Probably a better reason is that Frodo has been “fixed” that is what the blue tag in his ear means.
We have decided that we are going to have to feed the puppies, because their mom certainly isn’t going to – sigh. For some reason all this reminds me of China. Anyway, anyone want a cute puppy? All this excitement is making me tired, I think I am going to go take a nap.