It's been a hot minute since I last updated, because we've been busy!!This past weekend, we traveled down to my original home of Lozovo to celebrate the Macedonian Christmas with my Macedonian family.
Macedonian Christmas is very similar to our Xmas: you visit with friends and family, you drink, and you eat. That's about it. And that's exactly what we did. Friday, we got in early in the day, so we took our first opportunity to visit some people. My "brother" (the volunteer who had my family the year prior to me) also came in for the holiday, so we spent the rest of the evening catching up with him and the family at home. That night, all of Lozovo throws bonfires. I think there were 5 total around the village, but the largest one just so happened to be right by my house. We spent a few hours there drinking and dancing the Oro around the massive bonfire. I was able to see LOUIE (basset hound), who I swear recognized me. We had a moment too, hahaha. Afterwards, we headed over to the fire on Kenzie's side and stayed there until sometime after midnight. Rob and I went back home only to discover we had to sleep in the coldest rooms EVER. I cannot exaggerate how damn cold these rooms were....
Well for starters, I could see my breath in my room. I had my own room with a pullout couch, and Rob and Chris got my old bedroom. Neither bedrooms have heaters....why we didn't is beyond me. It was below 20F outside. So I'm standing there trying to figure out how exactly this was going to work. Rob and I decided to layer. We each had on 3-4 shirts, long johns, pants, two paris of socks, and a jacket. I'd brought my sleeping bag, so I crawled into the sleeping bag with all my clothes on and could hardly move. To make matters worse, having my face exposed wasn't fun. My lungs felt cold whenever I woke up trying to roll over. And to be completely honest, every single night was like this, and it was unbearable to sleep like that..
For the next two days, we sat around at home eating and drinking. We were woken up with fish and rakija on Friday. It's a day where they dont eat any meat or milk products. We snacked for hours before heading out to visit some people. The weather was heavy wind and rain, which we got soaked in walking through it. Each house had a warm room to retreat to though, so we took advantage of that!! That night, we gathered with the family for the traditional Xmas meal, where the family bakes a loaf of bread with a coin in it. The person who got the coin last year breaks off pieces of the bread for each member of the family (including pets), as well as a piece for the house itself. Once this part is done, the family members see who got the coin. In our case, we all got the coin, because my host dad tore off too small of pieces, so we had this big chunk of bread leftover. Of course, that piece had the coin in it. : ) So from there, whomever gets the coin is supposed to put it in a glass of wine and drink from the glass. Getting the coin is supposed to bring you good luck and health all year. It was a special night to share this with our family.
The next day was pretty relaxing. We were able to eat meat again, so we had some chicken and pork with more bread and some other foods. Milevka's family came over, and we spent the day playing cards, watching TV, and of course eating some more. That night, I intentionally went to bed early so I could wake up early to make it back to Kocani. All in all the weekend was nice and relaxing...if it hadn't been for those cold bedrooms, I know we would have been much more comfortable...looking forward to going back when it's warm again, that's for sure!!
Since we've gotten back to Kocani, we've spent the majority of our time resting in my warm apartment. Sleeping in the cold made my cold from last week linger a little longer, so I needed to rest. As always, things are breaking left and right in the apt, but we are making the best of it, haha!! I successfully made baked apples for the first time, and we've eaten the hell out of some Ranch dip as well. All in all, the last two days have made me feel a lot better. This week, we set out for Vevcani and Ohrid. We ride out on Thursday down to Ohrid with my friend Anna. There, we will stay for two nights enjoying the city. (google it!!) On Saturday, we will ride into Vevcani for the 2nd day of the carnival. That night, I think we are getting together with the other volunteers to celebrate Claire's bday. Should be a great weekend....Im honestly really looking forward to it.
Well that's all I've got for now!! I'll have a ton of photos and videos coming soon!! : )