Christmas Day. A busy agenda planned. No time to think about people in the states and what they might be doing. Doesn’t matter–I’m not there and made the choice to be here. So what kind of new memories can I make for Christmas Day Macedonian style? Well, first of all, I gave a test to the 9th graders. What a bunch of con artists! And I love them to death! Then as I was leaving the school I was mobbed by my students and hugged and kissed to the point that they almost knocked me over a couple of times. Yeah, this is why I teach!
We had a busy day planned in Skopje and it started by getting a ride into Saraj to catch a bus that we don’t normally get to ride–a double decker! We stayed on the lower level. Okay, into Skopje and let’s see if we can find the pasta place. Sure enough? Right where I remembered it. Got five sheets of pasta–probably way too much but better to have too much than not enough. So after some discussion it was decided we would head for the book store, the RamStore, the burrito place and then pick up Katie and Susie at the Corner for coffee and pastry.
First of all, traffic was being diverted–another motorcade. That meant the bus took an alternate route and we had to re-orient ourselves to find the bookstore and the RamStore. After asking about five or six people, we were on the right track. There was RamStore and the book store was right across the street. Streets are labeled mysteriously–street names appear about half way down the block on a fence. So knowing a street address around here doesn’t usually help. It turns out that the book store is no longer a distributor for the book we need. Strike 1! Let’s hit the RamStore. I need a number of items to make my lasagna besides noodles. I find Parmesan but no mozzarella or ricotta. I did find some good pasta sauce–Barilla! So I bought four jars of it. We roamed around and also picked up a bag of bagel chips, a jar of Italian Seasoning and a lovely little bottle of Cabernet. It’s a little over 1000 MKD. Not bad. We will see about getting the rest of the ingredients at the Saraj market on our way home.
Hey, I’m getting hungry. Let’s go find the burrito place. I think I’ll have the “guacamole burrito.” It comes with guacamole (duh), chicken, corn relish, spanish rice, chili sauce and something else for which I do not have a name–a spicy mayonnaise . Set our bags on the counter behind us. CRASH! Damn! Our bag has just performed a suicide plunge and two of the bottles of sauce are given last rites and sent to the pasta sauce burial ground. Well, everything else is in pretty good shape so we set the bag back up on the counter in a more secure place. Just as we are finishing, this blasted bag takes another suicide plunge! Now the other two jars are history as is the spice bottle. However, the wine having far more intelligence than these other glass containers has somehow managed to survive. And look at this, the bagel chips are ripped open and smashed. We are batting one thousand. The afternoon can do nothing but get better and it most assuredly does.
We head over to the corner and pick up Susie and Katie and head for Ooo-La-La. A wonderful French bakery. Susie and Katie both ordered the pancakes with nutella and raspberry sauce. Oh, heavenly goddesses. I have a new favorite. After we make sure Susie can find her bus to get home, we decide to roam around Macedonian Square and enjoy the festivities. This really looks like Christmas–except for the fact that there are at least six Santa’s roaming around and at least one of them has his top on backwards! The stripe is running down the back. (He’s called Baba Dimer here) We know that as soon as we turn the corner to Saraj, the decorations are virtually non-existent. And actually we don’t mind. It is alright with us.
When we finally arrive in Saraj, we are able to get the ingredients I will need to make my lasagna and decide to call it a day and grab a taxi home. No more suicide leaps for my sauce! And once I got home, Elsa was hugging and kissing on me. She is such a sweetheart. Then we had a lovely chat with Nazifete and Haxhbi via Skype and she keeps threatening me with being gone for tre muaj! She better not! I miss her! (and of course, her amazing bread) So now I am ready to finish out my week at school tomorrow and then stay snuggled in for the 5-45 cm of snow we are supposed to get. Not sure how much we will actually get. They keep changing the prediction. Guess we just have to wait and see! There’s really nothing you can do about the weather except to survive it.