I’ve now been in Macedonia for 7 1/2 hours.  We’re staying in a hotel of sorts–my kids would recognize it as a ‘Satelit’ hotel of the kind we stayed in in Brazil when we went with the soccer team.  Twin beds in a small room and I’m once again sharing with my same roommate from Philadelphia.  The weather has been beautiful today–low 70’s and breezy.  Not that I’ve been outside the hotel since I got here–but let me start from the time of arrival.

We walked down the steps of the airplane and entered the terminal where we were met by Peace Corps volunteers shaking our hands and welcoming us to Macedonia.  There were Peace Corps signs decorating the arrival area and they had name badges for us which were immediately hung around our necks–even before passport control.  After passport control we went to baggage claim and EVERYTHING was there!!!  Not ONE bag was lost from the entire traveling group of 38 people–remarkable! Moral of the story–Air Austria was great!  We grabbed our bags and headed for the exit where there were maybe 20 PC staff and volunteers greeting us, grabbing our luggage and taking pictures.  They took our luggage to a huge truck and put us on a large bus for transportation to the hotel.  On the bus we received an envelope with 2350 Macedonian Denars–our ‘walking around money for the rest of the month of September.  (~48 Denars to the Dollar or about $49 for the month)

Arrival at the hotel meant unloading all the luggage–but remember those 20 or so helpers?  Oh yeah!  Because we had to carry everything up 2 flights of stairs.  Now the rooms are very small, but they do have their own bathrooms complete with a small shower, a small sink and a pull-chain toilet.  A tidbit you might find interesting is that we are not supposed to put toilet paper in the toilet…so a small trash can is provided.  Hmmm.

They served us a huge buffet lunch at 3:00.  The food was delicious…Fried eggplant, zucchini, goat cheese, cheese pie, apple pie, chicken nuggets, pork meatballs, cucumber salad, tomato and onion salad, locally grown grapes and apples, shredded cabbage, bowls of various ‘salsa’ of different degrees of heat, and thats just what I can remember.  One of the ladies at my table bought a bottle of the best Macedonian wine for all of us to share–$6.

Full belly + 30 hours of travel = nap time.  But only for an hour as we had to be downstairs for a meeting with the currently serving PC volunteers who were there to help us.  (That’s the meeting where we found out NOT to flush the toilet paper…kind of important.)  Another nap–this time an hour and a half and we were expected downstairs for dinner….NOT hungry, just wanted to sleep some more, but don’t want to miss anything either.  Dinner was cabbage salad with cucumbers, chicken breast and french fries.  Didn’t eat much–see the NOT hungry thing above, but 2 of the guys bought beer (large bottle ~$1) and it reminded me of German beer….going to like this country!

Another plus is wireless internet access–YEAH!!! I don’t know how long that will last–probably only this week while I’m at the hotel, so I’ll try to make the best of it.  Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer–love to all!


7 responses to “

  1. Sounds like you are off to a great start! The camaraderie, the food, wine all sound fabulous.
    Wonderful to ‘see’ you this afternoon.

  2. Food sounds wonderful and can’t argue with those beer and wine prices except that that one $6 bottle cost over 10 percent of her walking around money for the month. We had those same tp restrictions in Peru. Makes you appreciate being able to get rid of everything. Keep up the detailed reporting. I’m really enjoying living your adventure.

  3. Well dear sis, it sounds as though you are having a wonderful time already. Mom and dad did well on the return. We had a good breakfast and there were no tears. They kept saying it was much harder when you went to Germany at 18.

    Ben and I had a good weekend at the lake with stuff happening. Our new pontoon boat leaked 20 gallons of fuel due to chewed up wires all over the place. There was a pile of empty shells so we know that it was being used as a perty boat for some critter wholiked to eat wires and fuel lines. Had a tough time pulling it out of the water. Right now it is in the driveway waiting to be fixed. My cell phone died, the garbage disposal died, I dropped a table on my right foot, and Ben was bit by a spider. Another day in paradise.
    Love you,

  4. Kathryn Cleveland

    Linda- now I’m following Jan in your house and you in Macedonia! What a wonderful adventure. Paul left last Friday for Seattle so i’m feeling ready to go on some sort of an adventure. Not sure Peace Corps but I admire you for your choice. God’s blessings on you. kathy

  5. Thanks for sharing the details of your arrival celebration in Skopje! While you were becoming acquainted with the ups. downs, ins and outs of your new Macedonian lifestyle, Pastor Matthew presented his new message series at Van Dyke, “What’s Holding You Back?” As you forge ahead in your new environment, you are clearly living out 3 fundamental habits for success: overcoming intimidation, eliminating cynicism and removing distractions. God Bless you for being a role model–He has great plans for you, indeed!

  6. Welcome to Macedonia!! I really enjoy hearing about your welcome and how GREAT everyone has been. The food sounds really good and of course, the wine!! All good wishes during your orientation.
    Carol S.

  7. Sounds so wonderful, Linda!! I am so proud and yet so jealous of your new chapter in life. Please keep writing – I am looking forward to hearing about all of you adventures!!! Good luck!! I will be thinking of you.

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