Marshutka driver gives you the worst seat on the marshutka, between to the bebia carrying a bucket of smelly cheese and the man who hasn’t showered since last June — Marshutka driver thanks you kindly for smiling at him every day and your ride is free.
No electricity for three days so you stare at a wall and have the same thoughts twice, sometimes three times — No electricity for three days so you have riveting, priceless conversations with your host family/the locals.
So much snow that you can’t remember what grass looks like or what vegetables taste like — so much snow that school is cancelled.
No plumbing so you use your bathtub to store water, which later has a countless amount of worms growing larger and larger by the minute in it — no plumbing so you learn to live a more simple, easy life.
Locals stare at you everywhere you go, whether you’re walking to school, buying shampoo at a maghazia or just sitting in your yard reading — the locals treat you like a local celebrity, taking photos, asking for your autograph, and giving small gifts as a sign of appreciation.
Men shout obscene things at PC women, making them feel degraded and unsafe — men shout things like “hello, beautiful girl!” at PC women, inflating their egos and making them feel more lovely than they have ever felt in their life.
All students behave like the worst students in America behave, causing their teachers massive headaches and pinched nerves in their necks — students greet PC teachers with hugs, high fives, or kisses on the cheek every time they see them in the hallway.
Food is intolerable at times. A winter diet consists of canned meat, potatoes, bread, and borscht — food is healthier and much cheaper than in America in summer and fall. Persimmons, grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, nuts, mandarins, oranges, lemons, figs, etc.
Friends and family at home are missed greatly and there is an empty void without them that is impossible to fill — new friends are made and they become an indispensable part of your life. You meet people you would have never imagined meeting and form bonds that will last for the rest of your life.
Holidays are spent alone. No American Christmas, no 4th of July, no Thanksgiving, no St Patrick’s Day or Halloween — you learn about new holidays and get to start new traditions with new friends.
Boredom becomes your main emotion and you watch the same movies eight times, re-watch Friends and Seinfeld until you can recite each episode line-by-line — you sometimes fill boredom with new and exciting things like going on hikes to deserted old churches, learning a new song on your guitar, writing a short story or poem, baking a new dish with local ingredients, or reorganizing your socks 19 times.