“Free” days during PST (featuring some Sunday views).
Monday through Saturday, my life as a Peace Corps Trainee is fairly scheduled. I’m scheduled from 8:30 in the morning until around 4:30 (unless we’re ending the day in Kamenica for a hub day… then walking down from the hotel plus the taxi ride back to my village sets me back another 50 minutes or so). The days are filled with language classes (some days for 3 1/2 hours… but with a volleyball/ping pong/socialization break in the middle), culture sessions, TEFL sessions, and various other PC resources (financial, medical, etc.).
But Sundays are “free.” “Free” is in quotations because my idea of a free day back in the states included sleeping in until noon, laying around my house in PJs, watching Netflix all day, drinking wine, and having limited human interaction. Even on days off in PST, I’m still on. ‘On’ meaning adapting, learning, integrating… not being a lazy mess whose only accomplishment for the day was finishing a season of The Office and 4 glasses of wine.
Even though my days off here aren’t what they were in the US, they’re still good. Good in a different way. I’m still able to sleep in, lounge around a bit, and do some kind of socializing outside of my PST host family in the afternoons. Regardless of the time I actually get out of my room (whether it be 10, 11 or whenever), my Sundays have started on the porch drinking coffee with my mom. Here’s us being adorable (and visibly still a little sleepy) last Sunday:
One Sunday I came out of my room around 11, had Turkish coffee and a bar of chocolate with my mom before my 6-year-old host brother biked to the store solo to get everyone ice cream (I can confirm that yes – everything I was taught as a kid about sugar for breakfast and going out alone hasn’t been applicable in my Kosovar experience thus far).
Post-drinking coffee with my mom, the various Sunday activities begin. Various Sunday activities have included, but aren’t limited to: hanging out at my host mom’s salon while drinking coffee, attempting to understand and contribute to the conversation being had in Shqip, hanging out at my host mom’s friend’s salon while drinking coffee, attempting to understand and contribute to the conversation being had in Shqip, taking walks around the village, going to the school and watching a soccer game played by some of the local kids and some other PCTs (or participating in a volleyball game with some local kids and some other PCTs), and meeting family friends for coffee. Essentially, the day is filled with various little ‘small town’ things (small in this context meaning very small). But, regardless of some predictability, every Sunday is different.
The two things I can count on are starting my day with coffee, as mentioned earlier, and spending the majority of the day with my host brother:
Free days here have been arguably more fulfilling despite being a little less “free.” I do miss being able to unapologetically lock myself in my room for several hours and be my true, lazy self, but it’s hard to definitively say that my free days back in America were better. For now, I’m enjoying absorbing the culture, actively participating in village life, and hanging out with my host family. The views aren’t bad, either.
Some miscellaneous Sunday views from my time here so far: