Today has been such a mixture for me. I worked first shift this morning, which meant school began at 7:15 for me. The day was fun!! I got to speak with the director of the school for a couple hours over coffee, and we had some excellent conversation!! It's really interesting hearing about the education system here and how it compares to what we have in America...it's also incredible to hear about all the change that has happened here over such a short period of time. Im lucky to have a Director who is interested in forming a relationship with me, as I know some volunteers arent as lucky.
Classes were fine. There was one class today that was mostly girls, and they were so fun!! It must have been from all the coffee I drank, but I was just SO HYPER by the end of the day. After school, Emilija took me to go buy a lamp, and I ended up finding the coolest lamp ever. It looks like it is straight out of IKEA or something...like, I like it so much, I wouldnt be surprised if I tried to bring it home with me. Following the lamp shop, I decided to venture out on my own down to the bazaar that comes through every Thursday. There, I bought my own lettuce, cabbage, mandarines, and lemons...all in Macedonian!!
A couple hours later, I met up with Lilika, the student whose photo I posted in my last entry. She wanted to take me up to what is called Freedom Monument (I think) for some sunset photos. It was INCREDIBLE!!
Here is a view of Kocani from the top!!
This is the monument. I believe it was built in the 1980s...maybe 1981.
The monument from the other side
This is Lilika. dont you love her hood?! I told her I want one : )
Afterwards, we walked back into the center, where I discovered all sorts of shops putting out Xmas decorations. GOODNESS, this made my day!!!!! So I splurged, and I bought a small Xmas tree!! I even managed to buy some super cheap lights from one of the little Asian shops. This turned out to be an AWFUL idea, because one of the literally blew-up in my hands....seriously, it blew-up. It scared the daylights out of me, not to mention, I couldnt see clearly for about 2 minutes following the explosion. No worries though, I still had one strand. See:
Anyways....the second half of my day was not as good as the first part, unfortunately. I was talking with my mother online, and she informed me of an awful 45 car wreck in Nashville. 45 CARS!! I was so surprised to hear this, and then she told me one person did die in the wreck. About 45 minutes later, I get on Facebook, and I instantly read the newsfeed.....one of my friends, Paul Warren, was the person that died.
I was shocked. I cant quite describe it. Death is something Ive always had a really hard time managing. Paul was such a good guy, and he always loved to hear about my new adventures in life. I actually saw Paul the last day I was in Nashville....he works at my bank. In fact, Paul was the one who help me set up my photography business account, back in the day!! My family has always liked Paul, and from what I've heard, he actually just got married only a couple of months ago. It's just so sad.
I immediately called my sister with the news. She was also in shock. It's strange that I found out before her, and I'm on the other side of the world, but Im just glad I was able to call her. I think I may need to just hibernate tonight. It's one of those unfortunate events where you look at everything going on in life, and you take inventory. I feel sad that I cant be home right now for the news, but this will just be another growing experience for me here.
Till tomorrow...tell everyone you love them : )