Friday, February 20, 2009

roma comedy hour

this past week, temperature have dropped to the lowest they've been
since I've arrived. over the past two days, Skopje has been covered in
a layer of snow that went from picturesque to dirty in record time.
the change in weather and apparent stubbornness of winter has turned
the kids a little wacky this week, with more than one day ending with
the kids being sent home early at the frustration of the teachers.

part of their wacky behavior has been manifested in what I like to
call Roma comedy hour, also known as the telling of really bad jokes.
(and if you know me well enough to know my absolute 'delight' of
improv and stand-up, you know how this is absolutely killing me
inside). particularly funny, apparently, are English words that have a
different meaning in Macedonia if properly stretched and exaggurated.
here's a funny: if you refer to 'my moon,' you're saying monkey in
Macedonia. or if you say 'I am a sheep, ta,' you're saying 'I'm an
Albanian.' hilarious, no? they didn't seem too phased when I tried to
explain that you would never refer to the moon in a possessive way or
that most non-Tourettes Syndrome folks would never follow the word
sheep with the meaningless sound of 'ta.' nope, these kids have a
strong stomach when it comes to their comedy routines. I will give
them credit, however, for showing me that if you say 6-2-9 slowly and
a bit slurred, it sounds like you're saying 'sex tonight.' so not only
is the weather horrible, but so are the jokes.

another little funny about the Roma community in Shutka is their love
of Spanish soap operas. now, these are pretty popular all over
Macedonia I think; Borka is quite the fan herself. but the Roma have
taken it a step further and proliferated their community with Spanish-
inspired names for their children. one of my students is named
Cassandra, another has a baby brother named Juanito, you get the
picture. it's absolutely priceless to wander around Shutka looking for
your nedt bread fix and hear calls on the street for Pedro and
Fernando and Juanita amidst such a vastly different backdrop and

all in all though, the kids and my time spent at school are my
favorite part of being in Macedonia. they're really and truly sweet
and well-intentioned, despite the horrific jokes and occassional
craziness. I feel incredibly lucky to have landed with such a great
organization- it's the most important part of my time here and
luckily, so far, it seems to be working out fabulously.


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