Sunday, 29 May 2011

What would you like to drink?

Yesterday evening something groundbreaking happened in Vushtrri, Kosovo. Four young men, in a spirit of servanthood and love, planned, prepared, served and cleared up dinner for seven young women. For weeks in advanced they schemed and plotted, menus were drawn up, ties were borrowed, candles purchased, and music chosen. Most of the young women remained blissfully unaware, only obediently changing the time of our usual Saturday afternoon bible study from 4pm to 6pm. I was in on the plan, and Kayla was brought up to speed when she arrived, so we were roped in to secure attendance.

And so it was that as we girls arrived we were met by four dashing young men, spruced up to the nines in ties and shirts (seriously, I've seen about two people outside of church wearing ties, and none of them were 16), ready to show us to our beautifully laid table, resplendant with candles and napkins.

First things first, what would you like to drink? Our wonderful kamieres produced a variety of drinks and proceeded to fill our glasses, making sure at all times that their ties didn't fall onto a candle and bring the evening to a screeching halt. Along with our drinks came a salad starter which was served up for us at the table and then we were left with the assurance that should we need anything, we should just call. We swiftly took advantage of this promise, calling the boys back to fetch us more water, which although in the same room as us was just too far for any of us to get for ourselves.

For our main course we were served what I believe is actually an American speciality called "Chicken Parm". It was good, pasta, chicken, tomato sauce, parmesan. And for dessert, an Albanian dish of chilled cake, banana and sauce, topped with M&Ms. Then came the coffee, although by this point we were so completely plot (full, for you English speakers who don't have much of a grasp on the Albanian language) that we mostly just enjoyed the smell. And that picture of Kayla is her modelling the little favours that we found at our place settings.

And then, to round a lovely evening off, we watched Manchester United be rubbbish against Barcelona. An early sense of patriotic fervour which had led me to lend my support to Man U quickly wore off, although it had been hindered from the start by an inate inability to actually vocalise any support for them.

So there you have it, an evening of service inspired by Christian love from boy to girl. It honestly broke cultural stereotypes which exist both here and at home, although it is more deeply engrained here, that the women serve and the men eat. The boys were just so great, so generous and hilarious. I will happily write them all glowing references if they choose to go into the catering business.

It's better for me to avoid showing
faces on this blog, so you'll just have to come to church for the picture in it's full glory. For now, you'll have to make do with the ties...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I Want to Ride My Bicycle...

...and so I will, because I am the proud
new borrower of a shiny, not very new, bike! Woo! I'm looking forward to breaking down some walls (metaphorical, not literal) since grown up women don't ride bikes around here. But then, since I am unmarried and without children I don't really count as a grown up woman anyway in these parts, so I'm just playing them at their own game. One day I hope one of the men who watches me in amazement as I either ride a bike or drive the truck falls over his own feet. I'm just saying. Anyway, the nice German missionary couple who live locally gave Kayla and I a couple of bikes because they had them and thought we might enjoy them. We did on the way home, and I managed to actually stay on it which was nice. It's true, you never forget how to ride a bike.

And what made the journey home even more exciting was the storm brewing
on the horizon! It looked a lot more dramatic in real life than it manages in this picture (that sky is grey, not blue). It had been REALLY hot all afternoon and the storm clouds gathered and there were rumbles of thunder in the distance and the wind got up and it was all really dramatic! And then we rode home on our new bicycles and the dirt roads threw up dust in our faces and my sunglasses got winded into my face and it was SO DRAMZ. And then we got home and battoned (battoned? buttoned?) down the hatches (the outside table and chairs. And I bought my washing in.) And then the sun came out and nothing happened. Disappointing. I like storms. Although I do prefer sunshine.

The other thing that I watned to share with you is that I highly recommend living with a Cosmetologist, if you haven't already tried it. This is me getting a pre-pedicure soak in the foot spa which we just happened to have at the house (honestly). I've got bubbles in my hands because we were experimenting with the various settings on the footspa which resulted in some serious bubble action. It was good. And then, after my feet were all done nicely Kayla cut my hair. And for free. Seriously, I recommend proper consideration of any future housemates.

Yesterday morning Kayla and I went to the house of the lady that Kayla is going to be cutting hair with. She lives just a couple of doors down the road and has a salon that she runs out of her house. We sat and had some tea and between us with our limited knowledge of various languages we talked about what Kayla can do. There will be lots of hair styling for brides and graduating teenagers, nail painting and fixing, face making-up, and also some interior design, which is Kayla's other passion in life. I have every intention of spending time with them together, experiencing the world of hair and make up Kosova style! And in the midst of it all, we will be doing our best to be intentional in what we speak about, looking for ways to try and share what we believe about Jesus with them. I'm excited!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Prom Queen

I'm sorry that this blog is so overdue. May I suggest that you send all letters of protest to KEK, the national power company who have failed miserably this week in their role of providing power to the people. When there's no power, there's no internet. When there's no internet, there's no blog. You see what I'm saying?

The big news of this week has been the arrival of my new roomie, Kayla Richardson, of Happy Valley, California. Here she is:
Kayla is a graduate of Cosmetology school (I didn't know Cosmetology was a word either, but apparently it is) and is in Kosovo to cut hair and educate me on my colour wheel. She'll be working with a local lady who runs a hair salon from her home (not an unusual occurance here) and has a busy season of prom and wedding hair ahead. So far, Kayla appears to be American in the best way and I'm enjoying her company. And the possibility of a hair cut in the not too distant future.

The other big news of the week has been the start of Prom season. On Tuesday, my Albanian teacher Tina was packed of to Pristina looking beyond amazing, due to her natural beauty to which Kayla applied her skillz. We had to wait until the power came on at 6pm before the curling iron could called to action, so the make up went on first, with nails done by yours truly. Tina's friends gathered while she got ready and performed important tasks such as holding the overhead light so that it shone on Tina rather than away from her (ingeniously held by tying a scarf to the fixture, allowing the holder to sit down and have a chat and a coffee.), and holding the curling iron plug in the socket on the wall because it wouldn't stay by itself. And after the make up and hair is done, the dress goes on and everyone gets stuck in to help. This was before the mothers and aunts and cousins turned up to help with tucking and tying and spraying and the like.

And here she is, the finished product: Hotness. It was a really brilliant afternoon, it's a lot of fun to get ready for a big evening out and really, girls are the same the world over. In lots of ways it was a real privilege for Kayla and I to be able to be part of the preparations, and to be allowed into the family home to pimp and preen. I think it's going to be one of my lasting memories of my time here. That or the hair cut Kayla's going to give me sometime in the future, or our possible experience with going for the Balkan platinum blonde look. I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Guess who's back??

ME!! Did you miss me??

This time I brought Mum and Dad Davis with me, although to be fair it's more that Dad's finally brought me and Mum with him. Well actually this is Mum's fourth visit so I suppose really they've brought me back with them. Know what I'm saying? Anyhoo, we're all here at the moment, living in my house and enjoying guessing what the weather's going to do. Yesterday hot, today cold and wet. You Brits know the deal. Here is a picture of us yesterday evening, savouring the truly Kosovan experience of a Saturday night spent in the dark. Mum was chilly, Dad was confused. Again.

Since I've only been back two days, not too much has happened to report on except to say that the discovery of Turkish Total Wipeout on TV made my afternoon today. People falling off things into water is funny in any language.

This week will mostly be about getting back into the swing of things, English class tomorrow and an Albanian lesson. My lovely Albanian teacher gently reminded me yesterday that I'm due another test so I managed to persuade to postpone it to Wednesday. That'll be fun, since most of what I had learnt slipped quietly out of my brain during my visit home. Time for some serious revision. And of course the other usual bits, Bible Study, Kid's Club, Church, girls Bible Study etc. Let the good times roll!

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