Two Years and a Lifetime Ago

It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been here in Macedonia for two years. Time has flown by and this second year has flown by even faster than the first. In just a couple short months, I’ll be back in America adapting back into that life trying to find my place in the world. Macedonia has changed me, and the long days have given me plenty of time to reflect and contemplate my life…

One Year Later

On this day, exactly a year ago, I arrived in Macedonia with 48 other volunteers. I remember it was a hot sunny day as we disembarked off the plane and got on the bus that took us to the Wilson School outside of Tetovo where we spent our first week. We were exhausted, tired and hungry, but also hopeful and excited about the new place that we had come to and the opportunities that lay in front of us. I was reminiscing about this today as I was welcoming and meeting the new group of volunteers that arrived at the Wilson School. They too were probably exhausted and tired, but also, I imagine excited about being here in a new place…

Моя Україна! (My Ukraine!)

In July, I traveled to Lviv, Ukraine to visit family and see the city of my birth. I hadn’t been to Ukraine in 20+ years, so it was a really interesting trip for me. I was really young when my family moved to America, and so I have no memories of my early years there. I’d heard of people and places and seen photographs of family members and family friends, but it’s one thing to see a photo of someplace and to see that place yourself with your own eyes…

The Dog Days of Summer

Well, summer is definitely here. The days are long and hot and seem to stretch on forever. During the daytime, the village seems dead as everyone retreats inside to escape the unbearable heat. Only in the early morning and evening hours, do the people come out and go about their daily activities…

School’s Out!

Last Friday was the last day of school, and boy were the teachers and kids ready for school to be out. That last week of classes the students turned in their textbooks and received new books for the upcoming year, official school pictures were taken, and grades were given out. My 6th grade class threw a party on the last day, and all of us teachers went out for lunch after the last class had finished…

Ја сакам Македонија! I love Macedonia!

It’s been a few months since I’ve last posted, and what an eventful past few months it’s been! The school year is rapidly coming to an end, and the students and teachers are so ready for it to be over and for summer vacation to begin…

Six Months Later

Yesterday marked exactly six months since I arrived in Macedonia and what a journey it’s been! Time flies, but at the same time, it’s hard to believe it’s only been six months because it often seems like it’s been much longer. Life has been steadily moving at its own pace and each day brings its own adventure…

The Passage of Time

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 5 months since I’ve arrived in Macedonia. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a few months; it feels as though I’ve been here for years. This country has become my home, the cities, the villages, the mountains, the rivers, the forests, everything feels familiar and I feel like I belong here…

Wintry Days + Holiday Recap

Today is the first day that the temperature has been above freezing. The sun came out, the birds are singing, and the foot of snow that we have received over the past week has slowly started to melt. Today I went for a walk around my village. It was the first time in a week that I didn’t feel like my breath was freezing as soon as it was leaving my mouth. The first time that breathing in the cold frosty air didn’t feel painful. It felt good to be outside, and it seems like I wasn’t the only one who had the same idea. There were people young and old on the village roads walking, talking, laughing. The warm-ish temperatures seemed to have driven everyone out of their homes. Even the animals seemed to be enjoying it…

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

December is coming to an end, there is a cold chill in the air, the mountains have snow on them, and Christmas decorations are going up in people’s homes. Although, here people celebrate the Orthodox Christmas which is on January 7. New Years Day is also a big deal, here and I hear that the Christmas trees are for that more than they are for Christmas as are the Christmas decorations. Some houses have strung up lights outside and some businesses have Christmas trees outside too, and when night falls, they are all lit up. It’s a wonderful feeling to see all that as it reminds me of home. I like walking home in the dark breathing in the crisp, frosty air and seeing all the lights twinkling. There are also mountain villages, and in the night the mountains themselves seem to sparkle with the lights from the homes and businesses…