Pleasantly Surprised

Life is full of surprises.  This is, obviously, still true when you move to a new place… especially a place that happens to be half-way around the world.  There are new people to meet, new things to see, a new culture to adjust to, a new language to learn, new food to eat, etc.

Not every surprise has been extraordinarily wonderful since I’ve been here, but I honestly can’t complain.  And there have definitely been some great unexpected  blessings along the way.  The following are just a few.

1. I never thought I would get excited about handball (Ракомет), but I have!
This is a picture (thank you, Google) of Kiril Lazarov.  He is the best player on the Macedonian team and one of the best in all of Europe, but Stevche is still my favorite.  “СТАРОТO!!!”

2. Macedonia has scented tissues and toilet paper!  It totally threw me off at first, but now I love it!  C’mon, America, get with the times!  Haha!

3. Macedonian TV stations show Steven Seagal movies and “Walker, Texas Ranger” (a “Universal Favorite”)!!!  And, yes, Chuck Norris was my first crush.  Yes, I cried when CD died.  Yes, I cried when I thought Trivette died.  Yes, I cried again when I found out CD was killed and didn’t just have a heart attack.  Yes, I’ve been to (or at least outside) the White Elephant Saloon in Ft. Worth, TX where all of the scenes at CD’s were shot.  Yes, I recorded the series finale since my parents wouldn’t let me skip my high school graduation.  And, yes, I still love the show even though it seems a lot more cheesy now than I remembered.     Thank you, Google, for this picture also.

4. I found a cup JUST LIKE some my parents had when I was growing up.  We always used them when we made rootbeer floats and they make me think of my dad.  The cup was 50 MKD (about $1) so I bought it… one impulse buy I don’t regret.

5. I heard a Macedonian do a cover of “Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis and I think I actually like his version better than the original.  (Don’t tell anyone in Memphis I said that!)

6. I have found several products here that I thought were only in America: some of my favorite toothpastes, Nutella, stick deodorant, etc.  (Google provided this photo also.)

7. I never thought that “freezing” (0°C/32°F) could feel “warm”, but it has… more than once!

8. Who knew watching John Wayne movies with Serbian subtitles could be so entertaining???  I had to buy a few to get my Westerns fix and they remind me of Haiden.  I love that we both had cowboys for our first celebrity crushes… eat your hearts out, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise!  Haha!  (Oh yeah, this is a Google picture too.  Haha)

9. I have discovered some pretty tasty treats here too!  One of them is called “Flips” or “Smokies”.  They are like Cheetos puffs, only peanut butter flavored.  Another favorite in our home is “Napolitanki”, basically chocolate covered wafer cookies.  I knew from last year that the Macedonians have some great cuisine, but I didn’t have either of those last time I was here.  Another new thing for me to try was sour cream on pizza – not bad!

10. I never knew until I came here how much fun it is to go sledding!!!  (This picture was taken by Celeste Edworthy – thanks, friend!)

11. Most people would stop at ten, but I hate even numbers and couldn’t leave this one out:
THE PEOPLE!  I cannot tell you how many amazing, wonderful people I have met here!  There is definitely not enough room for all of their pictures.  I am so blessed to have them in my life and so grateful that the Lord has brought me here and allowed our paths to meet.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the journey!!!

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