A little more than two months left…

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“A” and I at a recent fellowship lunch.

The countdown has begun. I have a little more than two months left in K0s0v0, and probably a lot of you are wondering what my next step will be!

Well, before I tell you what’s next, here’s a little of what I’ve been up to the last month.

  • TEACHING: At the KLA, I have started teaching art class twice a week for our morning classes. Our morning classes have an average of 5 students, so the class is small. It’s been a good taste of what teaching a class is all about, and I’m finding that I actually do enjoy the kids, and I’ve had fun coming up with some basic art projects that we can get done in the two half-hour classes I have them for each week.
  • COFFEE: I continue to meet girls for coffee, and let me tell you, K0s0v0’s macchiatos and lattes never get old. Neither does the conversation with the sweet girls I have come to know as friends over the last nine months. I will truly miss the conversations and laughter about culture, school, everything and anything going on with the girls.
  • SWEET TIMES WITH A FELLOW BELIEVER: This semester a dear friend “A” has moved back to M!trovica after living in the capital city last semester going to school. We have had some sweet times of prayer and conversation the last few weeks. We have also been attending prayer meetings together and had some great conversations over dinner and coffee at my apartment. I am excited to see answers to what we have prayed for together. She tells me often that she considers me a friend, and I am honored to count her as one as well. J

I have to say that these last couple months have been some of the best I’ve had in K0s0v0. God has been showing me so much, and has answered so many prayers.

As I enter my last two months here, I would just ask you to pray for what God has for me next. After much prayer and seeking God, I don’t believe that God is calling me into full-time overseas missions at this time. While I am open to God showing me a different path in the future, I just wanted to let you know that this is where I believe God is leading at this point.

Please pray for me as I finish these last months here. I have some projects to wrap up that will definitely keep me busy at the school. Please pray that I will finish strong in my remaining time here.

Please also pray for my transition back to the states. When I return, I will be looking for full-time work, a place to live, and a car to buy.

I appreciate you all, and miss everyone. I will keep you updated as to my exact return dates and other details when I know them.

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Teaching Art Class

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Out for coffee with some girls

Getting ready for Christmas…

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This past week in preparation for the Christmas season, I’ve had a chance to invite some girls over to make cookies. I didn’t find a lot of cookie decorating supplies or food coloring here, so I improvised with what I found in the stores. They didn’t turn out too bad!

selfiesWe made my family’s traditional Lemon Pie Bars as well as some sugar cookies with sprinkles and frosting. What a fun night of just hanging out with these two girls, “F” and “D”. These are the girls that live just down the street that I’ve asked you to pray for in the past.

I let “D” take the pictures this time. I had to laugh when I got back my camera and found about 100 selfies from “D,” but she did manage to capture some shots of some actual baking. Ha ha ha. 🙂 We definitely have fun.

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On Thursday night, I was invited for dinner at my friend “A’s” house and we made salt dough ornaments and painted them. We made a big mess, but it was a fun night of creativity and fun helping her make some decorations for her house. “A” works at the school and attends our Sunday fellowship here in M!trov!ca.

Last night (Sunday) I once again had another group of girls over to my house to bake. There are a group of 5 or 6 girls that I’ve met through Nad!ne who I’ve come to form friendships with during my time here. This time we made some Monster Cookies. (Don’t worry, I don’t keep all the cookies. The girls eat some while at my house, and then I send them home with the girls to their families along with the recipes so they can make them themselves.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have to confess I was worried about spending the Christmas season in a Musl!m country, but it’s actually managed to feel Christmas-y! Some of the chain stores even have Christmas decorations and Christmas trees. However, I do find it odd that they have Christmas decorations because they definitely don’t celebrate Christmas here. New Year’s is their big holiday. I’ve been told there will be lots of fireworks on New Years. Now, that’s definitely something to stay up late for. Especially because there will be no sleeping if there are that many fireworks going off all around town.

Kelly, our regional administrator has asked me to spend some time with Beth, our Regional Administrative Assistant who lives in Budapest, so I will be heading there on Thursday through next Tuesday. I will be doing some computer training with her as well as checking out what she does for our region and spending time with some other members of the team in Budapest. I had a chance to meet the whole team at our regional conference in October and am excited to see them again. Not to mention Budapest is a great city to spend some time in right before Christmas. 🙂

Hair…

It may seem like a little thing to some, but I haven’t gotten my hair cut since I’ve been in K. And it was getting bad.

This is one of those times when you realize how much you take for granted at home. Like being able to go into a salon and sit down and being able to ask in detail how you would like your hair cut. Oh how I miss Amber Banks!!

Lydi@, N@dine’s daughter, has been in K the past couple of weeks visiting, so while she’s been here, some teammates and I made sure that we got a haircut in when she was able to go and interpret for us.

Here are some pictures of my first haircut in K. 🙂

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe salon did a fabulous job on our hair. And the best part? It was only 5 euro. And now that I’ve been there, I can go back and practice my Albanian. 🙂

Souper Saturday…

It’s starting to feel like fall here in M!trov!ca, so my teammate J@cquel!ne and I decided to get together and make some soups last Saturday morning.

One thing that I love to do is cook, and I would say soups are at the top of my list for things I love to make. They’re easy, and I would say hard to mess up, so I think that’s why I like them.

We decided to make two soups, a chili and a creamy carrot cauliflower soup.

The chili recipe I just kinda made up as we went, and I would give you the recipe for the carrot cauliflower, but we didn’t really follow a recipe for that one either. But they tasted good! 🙂 And I think that’s what counts.

Here are some pictures from our cooking adventure.

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I also made some snickerdoodles today to take into work tomorrow. Really, it’s my way of saying thank you to our security guards/custodians who helped clean up the paper mache mess I made on Friday. Yup, it was that bad. 🙂

Here’s a link to the snickerdoodle recipe I used. Gotta love Betty Crocker!! I’m so thankful for good Internet here so I can find good recipes with just a simple search!

I made a mess…

To help out at the school, I volunteered to assist with “Fun Fridays,” a day where the kids get to do special projects to help them learn about the units they are currently studying.

Well, my teammate Val is the science teacher and they just started studying a unit on planets, so we scoured Pinterest and came up with the idea to make some paper mache planets using some homemade paste and balloons. Yup, we thought that would be good idea.

Well, it was fun, but it was also exhausting and created a huge mess in her classroom. I probably won’t will never do paper mache again, but I think the kids had a good time.

Here are some pictures from our paper mache project.

By the end of the day I was pretty exhausted, and in need of being hosed off from the paste we used. I was seriously just covered with it. But, after a good nights sleep and a weekend off, I’m ready to go back tomorrow.

A Sunday Hike…

Yesterday, The Padgett Family, a German family from our Sunday gatherings, and I went to the north side of M!trov!ca to do a little of exploring.

There is a peak on the north side where there are ruins of a castle. Yes, a castle! I’m not really sure of the history of the castle, but it was definitely worth the climb to see.

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The hike up the mountain took about a 45 minutes, and the views of the city were just beautiful. It was quite cloudy, so you couldn’t see super far, but it was nice, cool weather for the hike up the mountain. Any warmer, and it would definitely not have been quite as enjoyable. God even held off the rain that threatened in the distance!

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Not the best picture of me…but I was pretty proud of my hike up the mountain. (And what you can’t see in that photo is the huge swarm of tiny flies that were in my hair, shirt, eyes and mouth! 🙂 )

Home Visit…

Hi Team!
One of the most enjoyable parts of being in K0s0v0 this year is getting to visit the homes of friends who come to our Sunday gatherings and other people we’ve met along the way.

Last Friday, my teammate Val (who arrived just a couple weeks ago) and I, were invited out to our friend S’s and his wife’s house in a nearby village. It was a great time to learn more about his story, spend time with his family, and to eat some traditional Flia, a national dish of K0s0v0. The word is pronounced like the little bug that lives on dogs and cats in this part of K0s0v0, but waaay tastier than the insect. You can really freak an English-speaker out by telling them you’re going to go eat some flia here. 🙂 In other parts of K0s0v0 they add an ‘a’ to the end.

Flia is a bread that they make in layers here that is cooked from the top down with coals from an open fire. It takes hours to make as they have to wait for one layer to cook before they make pour the next layer, and wait for that to cook and so on.  Here is a blog post someone posted about the process of making the Flia that’s pretty detailed if you would like to know more.

One thing that I have noticed about the people of K0s0v0 is their hospitality, and their high standards of how they treat guests. There is no such thing as a quick visit. You will always be invited in for tea or coffee (or both). They are just so honored to have guests in their home, and you are just made to feel so welcome while you are in their homes.

Here are some pictures from our visit:

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Some ways to reach me…

Hi Team,

I wanted to write and give you all some good options for communicating with me. I realized I neglected to do that when I first arrived. 🙂 As any of you who have spent time away from loved ones knows well, hearing from friends and family is a highlight of any day!

So, here are some ways to contact me:

Email: kortni10 [at] gmail.com

Skype: My skype name is kortni.christian
(This is a great way to talk or send text messages.)

Apps…there are a few great apps for you smart phone users. One is called Voxer. It is like the old Nextel walkie- talkie. It is free when you are in wifi, but if not I think it uses your data, so be careful.
My voxer name is: kchris2417

Another app I’m using is Google Voice. You can text me for free or leave a voice mail on that number. It is 616 422 5109.

One last app is WhatsApp, and I believe you can look me up under my old number 616 308 4943. It’s a free texting app and you can even send photos.

I hope this helps any of you who wish to reach out. Probably the most important thing to remember is that I am 6 hours AHEAD.

Have a great week !!

The Wedding…

So, I was invited to a wedding!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It’s wedding season here in M!torv!ca! That means that you can see (and hear) cars caravan down the street on a daily basis honking their horns and traditional drums playing as the couple makes their way from one place to the next.

Unlike in the US where you are invited to a ceremony and then a reception afterward, only family is invited to the actual ceremony which I think is just at the local municipality, and then extended family and friends are invited to the wedding part, which is more like a reception with a big party, dinner and lots and lots of dancing and music.

Weddings are also quite formal here. It’s not unusual for women to get their hair and nails done and wear a fancy dress. Appearance is very important. 🙂

Nad!ne and I went to the wedding together, which was Friday night. It was a fun time, and I was truly honored to be invited to a wedding after being here for such a short time.

The wedding was of Nad!ne’s teaching assistant, V. She and I have had coffee a few times in addition to seeing each other between English classes when I first got here. I would say that she has become one of my first friends here in M!trov!ca.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s a picture of the beautiful bride and one of their friends who asked me to take their picture.