I MADE IT!!!
After more than a year of applications, interviews, conferences, training, moving, life, and growing, I am finally in Macedonia! Woohoo!!!
I got here last Friday after a pretty rough couple of flights (let’s just say bad food, lack of sleep, and insane turbulence are not a good combination). I arrived in Skopje and discovered that one of my bags had decided to hang out in Budapest a little longer. I got it the next morning so it was no biggie.
Jeff, Amy, and Kaleb met me at the airport and whisked me away to Prilep so we could meet up with Celeste & Maggie and so I could see my new home. Celeste had a “Welcome to Prilep” sign and a candy bar waiting for me when I got here – she’s too sweet! Friday night involved dinner at Jeff & Amy’s, unpacking, and going to bed early.
Saturday I had Orientation – Phase 1 and then Celeste and I went to a birthday party for one of the Peace Corps guys here in town so it was good getting to meet everyone. Sunday we went to a weekend house with some of the locals and played soccer (I attempted to play and quickly learned the MK word for “sorry”) and had fun just hanging out. I also ate pigs’ knee for the first time – pretty good! 🙂 I didn’t understand most of what was going on, but it was still a good time.
Monday I met with my language teacher (who is GREAT) and then that evening was a big night. It was the birthday of one of the girls here and a Prilep holiday so we met her and her friends at Town Center and watched the fireworks and shooting of the AK-47s (somewhat of a re-enactment of the beginning of the war with the Nazis). After that we went to her house for cake and snacks before heading to go hang out elsewhere. I ended up leaving pretty early because I was exhausted. I felt bad for having to leave, but we’ve already decided next year (when I’m not suffering jet lag) will be different. Love that girl!!!
Tuesday I met with my language teacher again and then spent most of the afternoon taking care of things at the apartment and reviewing what I had just learned. Tuesday evening we had several people over to hang out and watch a movie.
Wednesday I “roughed it” and went out on the town by myself for the first time. I walked around for a while and went to the market and bought a few things I needed. It was interesting trying to communicate what I needed and trying to figure out how much things cost and everything else that goes along with shopping on market day with only two or three hours of language learning under my belt. But I survived. 🙂 I even understood and correctly responded to a gentleman who asked me where I was from. Yay!!! We went to Zumba class Wednesday night which was… interesting. But we met some pretty cool people and I had fun being the awkward American. Haha
Thursday was more language learning, coffee with a friend, and then Кафе Дискусија. We watched a clip from “The Count of Monte Cristo” and then had a really great discussion about hope. Afterward, everyone who wanted to stick around watched the full movie. I had a great time.
Friday I had language class and then coffee with a friend. Then another friend came over so we could eat dinner and go shopping. We had an AWESOME dinner at Excalibur (we each got a different meal and then split them up so we all got to try all three – delicious). As we were leaving Excalibur it started raining so we went to one store and I quickly learned that shopping in Macedonia is VERY different from shopping in the states. We then went to a sidewalk shop so Celeste could get a new umbrella and then went back to our house to watch a movie before heading out for another round of coffee (sidenote: “getting coffee” means hanging out… I have yet to actually order coffee, but I think that time is coming soon).
Saturday I had a me day. A friend was supposed to be coming from Skopje so we hadn’t made any other plans, but she got sick and couldn’t come. 😦 I spent most of the day at home staying warm and getting some things done. Then Celeste and I went to dinner at the Thai restaurant – great food! Today was Orientation – Phase 2, attempted basketball (only three people showed up so we shot around and played Horse), and Bible study.
Other non-Macedonian news: I have gotten to have some good e-mail conversations with some of the people I met in NY. It’s been pretty cool! I’m hoping those continue. Also, my OSU Cowboys won last night and my NE Patriots are winning right now.
So, basically… God is good and I love life!!! 🙂