Teacher’s Day is celebrated the day before International Women’s Day (8 March) here in Macedonia. The students dance and sing for the teachers and do various recitations. I was so very impressed with some of my students. All of them that participated in the presentations were amazing and I am incredibly proud of them.
Our municipality honors all of the teachers with a full dinner at a local restaurant. So we all got dressed up and went out for dinner and dancing. I can’t begin to tell you what a different experience that was. Oh, my goodness. First of all was the food. There was so much of it that it wasn’t funny. There were three kinds of meat for the entrees and the beverages were non-stop. The minute they saw a bottle getting past the half way point another one was brought to your table: Schweppes, Coke, Fanta, Water, juice. And we had music. Now, I used to play the clarinet about 55 years ago and have not touched one in that long either. However, I would like to have touched the one that played that night. At the very least it would have had a mute stuffed in it. I have never heard anything so loud in my life and it went on for at least 30 minutes. They played three sets and three songs. Each set was one song long and I do mean long! Many people came equipped with earplugs. Apparently that is standard procedure around here. The music is always loud, it always includes a clarinet and you will feel like you are in an echo chamber when they are done. The dancing consisted of going around the dance floor in a big circle. It started with three people waving a napkin and kept getting bigger. I have no idea what the significance of the napkin was but it always lead the Albanian version of the Conga line.
Now let’s discuss dinner. Decent food. I did not go away hungry. However, the ambience was destroyed by the smokers in the place. They lit up at the table while people were eating. Even when I was a smoker, I didn’t do that. By the time I got home my eyes were running water from the amount of smoke in the place. My eyes were still red and burning the next day. Not sure how to combat that next year.
So I decided that I would cook dinner for the family for International Women’s Day. I’m going to make lemon herb chicken. By the way family, do you like broccoli? Huh? What is broccoli? Okay time to introduce a new vegetable. It was not an overwhelming success. Most ate it, some did not. Some only ate the floral part and not the stalk part. Next I think I’ll try asparagus on them. We’ll see how that goes over. But it is not a big meat culture. I had six chicken breasts to feed 10 people and I had meat left over. I cut the breasts into “steaks” and browned them and finished cooking them in the oven. Then I made my sauce and pasta. Many of them picked the green onions off. Hmmmm. Maybe it is just that they don’t like green things. But that can’t be it as they eat cabbage on an almost daily basis. But I only had one person who didn’t seem to like any of it. A couple of others had seconds.
I’m waiting to see if we will have school tomorrow. It looks like we are out of wood again. Apparently people steal it. There doesn’t seem to be any way of securing it. And, of course these shortened days or cancelled days keep us off schedule. The state has a curriculum laid out that tells you when you should be doing what in class. We are continually trying to catch up.
The political crisis continues. And we continue to watch. Fortunately I am far enough away from the center of government that I don’t have to worry. Because you see, the government has authorized the use of rubber bullets on protestors. The EU is beginning to get involved in this as well. Macedonia is an EU candidate and so they need to pay a lot of attention to what the EU asks them to do unless of course they have changed their mind and don’t want to be part of the EU, which is pretty unlikely. The biggest stumbling block is still the name of the country but I am confident that will get worked out.
The new group of PCT’s is beginning to form. Imagine my surprise when one of them indicates she is from Central Michigan. I message her and find out that she was born and raised in Mount Pleasant. How cool is that? She will be the third Mt. Pleasant resident currently serving with the Peace Corps. Maybe we will be able to start our own RPCV group! I know of at least two other RPCV’s living in the Mt. Pleasant area. I imagine there are more! We will be able to understand what the others have been through and know what it means to be an RPCV!
I could write for hours about what is happening and the things I see, hear, smell and do but you might get bored. So signing off for now.
UPDATE: We have school. We have wood but apparently it is wet. This should be interesting. Think I will dress for cold weather.