Monthly Archives: January 2015

The unanswerable

Does quick dry fabric have a time limit?  If it takes days for my quick dry shirts to actually dry, are they broken?

I burned my socks on the wood stove.  Can I still wear them?

If I have a good hair day but no one sees me, does it count?  It only happens after about 6 pm when I have enough hot water and my hair actually dries.

If going from too hot to too cold will cause me to get sick, how do I get from my living room (55 degrees) to the toilet (30 degrees)

Why did I bring a thermometer with me?

I am hosting/facilitating 8 yoga classes week.  Can too much yoga kill me?  I sure feel like I am dying some days.

How is it Albanian women are able to do those plank poses that I can’t do?

Can I count getting an awesome fire going in my wood stove as a PC accomplishment for my quarterly report?

If locals are impatient with my faltering Shqip but I can still communicate via gesture and shqip – lish, is my language getting better or worse?

My Albanian counterpart wants to build a new indoor sports center here in Pogradec because the key to current sports center is held by someone who won’t let anyone use the facility.  Is this a good project plan?

The women’s NGO here is annoyed with me for not creating a project that will bring them money because all the previous volunteers did..  Am I a bad volunteer?

The other NGO is town is also annoyed with me for not writing a project that will bring them money.  Am I twice as bad or half as bad?

None of the women at either NGO wants to come do yoga or any other activity with me.  Maybe I am not a bad volunteer?  (I do not question my yoga skills.  Those are solidly bad.)

I was at a weeklong training in a hotel last week.  The best part was turning a switch and getting a warm room.  No kindling, no fire starter, no wood, no burnt fingers or grubby hands.  Have my priorities gotten better or worse?

Standing on warm tile to take a shower was nice but not thrilling like the heater was.  Have I lowered my hygiene standards or raised my tolerance?

Why do I feel perpetually puzzled?


A new definition of cold

The Balkans got socked with an epic storm while I was traveling.  Ten days later there is still ice an inch thick on sidewalks.  But it is the ice in bathroom that is really dangerous.  The pipes broke in my apartment and my sainted landlady mopped up the mess.  Yea for Mosa!!

How cold is Balkan Cold?  Ice on the inside of my windows this morning.

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I bought a thermometer in Japan so I would know how really cold it is.  Zero Celsius/ 32 Fahrenheit  (I speak both.  I am bi-thermal  )

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Here I had to warm water in order to soak my retainer.

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My mop froze, inside, in my bathroom, frozen solid.

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Thawing my mop and hoping to shower later today.

Why is a working mop so important?  I have to mop the floor of my bathroom after showering.  If I don’t I end up with a layer of ice on the floor.


My native land

Swedes are not known for being friendly.  This is partly why I like them.  I am not particularly friendly either.  So imagine my ongoing surprise when I am regularly asked for directions.  At least sixe times a day, some one starts chatting with me  (actually at me) in Swedish.  This never happened in Japan or Albania.  No one there thought I was local.  The only other place this has ever happened to me is Finland.

This is what a Norse woman looks like.


Snow in the Balkans

put me in Sweden for a few extra days.


some ducks are paddling in the water and some are waddling across the ice. Being a duck would be a cold option here.


Front door of the hostel I stayed in. The land of reindeer and elves…and Christmas eggs?


This is a wreath holding eggs. ?


Uppsala cathedral

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Helsinki Airport

I may have fallen in love…with Finland.  Marimekko graphics of parrots and poppies have colored my world for forty years.  This is also the land of other whimsical, borderline creepy characters.

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