Winter is upon us in Prilep. The sun sets rather early these days, taking all of its warmth with it when it leaves. The days still intrigue me. My first week or two here I dreaded the coming winter. It was already so cold and I knew November – February would be MUCH worse from what everyone said. But then it got warmer again. Most days were rather pleasant. My new “burka” (see previous post for clarification) offered just enough warmth. This past month the weather cannot seem to make up its mind. Some days are nice, some pretty chilly, and some are just downright cold. The nights pretty much always fall into the last category. I am EXTREMELY grateful for the little греалица (space heater) in my room.
There have been a few physical challenges that have accompanied the shifting weather and cultural differences. I absolutely LOVE that I can walk everywhere. I wasn’t much for driving in the States, much less here. Walking is extremely convenient and saves tons of money compared to public transport or gas prices. But it does mean that I spend a lot more time out in the cold than my body is used to – especially without my coveralls! That being said, I’ve been battling a pretty nasty cold for about a week and a half now (I’ll spare you the details – haha).
I’ve actually really enjoyed all of the home remedy tips and even the jokes about my voice (or lack thereof). So far I have been told I should sing because I would probably sound like Louie Armstrong, and I’ve been given five tips for getting better. Four of the five suggestions did not involve alcohol or having to buy much so I gave them a try: 1) Honey and lemon in hot tea; 2) melted sugar, water, and butter. This concoction actually tastes pretty good with a tsp of honey added; 3) gargle warm salt water – this has felt the most productive; 4) smear butter on a large piece of cotton and then sprinkle a lot of black pepper on that, cover it with another piece of cotton and lay it on your chest so you inhale the pepper. I’m not sure how effective these tricks have been, but no harm done.
The last one was quite interesting in the early stages. I mean, seriously, how do you smear butter on cotton??? It was a sticky mess! Then I realized that is a lot like many situations we face every day. Life can sometimes be a sticky mess, and no one ever said it would be easy, but there is a purpose. There is a reason why we go through the hard times, but we’ll never know the benefits unless we persevere. So I’ve decided this will be my new mantra for those difficult times and situations – “It’s kind of like smearing butter on cotton…”
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~ Romans 5:3-5