Day 10

It’s been 10 days. &nbspIt seems that the 10 months of Albanian training were highly useful; I’ve been able to converse with people that I’ve met, and I’ve understood about 85 percent of what I’ve heard. &nbspOf course, it is the 15 percent that you don’t understand that gets you into trouble, but that’s where Unë nuk flas shqip mirë, me ngadal&euml, ju lutem comes in handy. &nbsp(I don’t speak Albanian well, more slowly, please.) &nbspThe blackouts continue daily, but our generator works well.

Cooper has calmed down considerably after five days, and he has responded well to some training. &nbspHe is my job; I get about three hours out of the house (he stays in the yard) but otherwise, I spend my time playing, training, trying to take him on walks – he gets spooked by the street dogs – and otherwise keeping him entertained and out of trouble. &nbspIt is amazing to me that I can spend so much emotional energy on someone whose only thought is “As soon as he turns his back, I’m going for his shoes.”

Other news: we had our first “diplomatic reception” on Wednesday, a going-away for one of the younger Austrian consuls at a local bar/restaurant. &nbspWine bar, buffet, throngs of people. &nbspWe chatted with some of Abby’s homologut from other embassies and saw people we know from the Hash, and it was quite pleasant, but a long way away from the starched napkin diplomatic dinners of imagination. &nbspI’m still trying to arrange for home internet access, but the company wants 100 euros per month for a subscription. &nbspOur neighbors pay 40 euros. &nbspAlbania is known for it’s flexible pricing.