Christmas in Veles

I hope you all had a blessed Christmas.  The picture to the left is from the day I went up to the high school last week and did a presentation to the English classes on how we celebrate Christmas and New Years in America.  Apparently it was well received because I’m invited back tomorrow to catch the other 2 grades–or more likely the other 2 teachers want a day off also….  Anyway this picture was snipped from the school web site and there are more on the Kriva Palanka Municipal web site–it doesn’t take much to make the news around here.  But it’s kind of a nice ‘small-town’ feel!

Christmas in Veles was wonderful.  Sam was a great host, the apartment was cleverly anointed with both store-bought and craft-made decorations, and the food was plentiful and delicious.  I found the only 4 decent sweet potatoes in Macedonia and mashed them with a little butter, brown sugar and orange zest–they were a hit.  I also made onion dip with the last of my onion seasoning, and pseudo chocolate chip cookies.  They don’t have chocolate chips over here, but a chopped up chocolate bar is a fine substitute.  Sam cooked a ham, a turkey, garlic green beans, cabbage salad and corn bread.  Christine made glazed carrots and CRANBERRY sauce from a jar of cranberries-in-liquid we found at the grocery store.  Others brought mashed potatoes, rice, corn pudding, pita sandwiches, brownies, chicken, pizza (yeah-well, he contributed!) and, and, and…. you get the drift!

There were about 30 people for dinner, and even some of our Macedonian friends were there.  Sam’s host parents showed up laden with wine, rakija, potatoes, and a peculiar item called cabbage-water which is basically a salty brine that is used to preserve cabbage for the winter.  They brought a 2-liter bottle of it and made sure to explain repeatedly that it was Macedonian aspirin for hangovers and that we should have plenty for the following day…thoughtful man, but the stuff tastes pretty bad.    Dinner was followed by a gift exchange–250 Denari limit (about $5).  Those are always fun, and it’s amazing what you can get in this country for $5!  It was tight quarters in Sam’s little apartment, but a good time was had by all.

After dinner, bellies full and alcohol in to-go bags, the party moved over to Karen’s apartment.  She’s on the top floor of her building (5th I think) and has an awesome porch that’s almost as big as her whole apartment.  (The trade-off is that her bathroom has basically a water hose for a ‘shower’ and the whole bathroom gets wet when she uses it.)  Phil’s i-phone and speakers provided the music and Lync provided the party games–it was a relatively warm evening, maybe in the 50s.  I got to Skype with my daughter from the semi- privacy of the bedroom and that made me very happy until the internet crapped out.

Sunday I traveled back to Kriva Palanka to a cat very happy to see me.  (I still haven’t settled on a name that I like for the poor guy.)  I did a load of laundry, ate some Christmas leftovers, called my Landlady and txted the Peace Corps letting everyone know I was home (lots of ‘oversight’ in my role as a PCV) and Christmas weekend was over……..  Oh yeah, I get ANOTHER one when Macedonia celebrates on January 7th.  Did I tell you Santa Clause comes on New Years over here?

So dear friends and family–I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays and finding some peaceful time to enjoy each other, because I certainly miss you!


7 responses to “Christmas in Veles

  1. Merry Christamas Linda! You have always been a wonderful teacher and I’m sure you’ll be asked to share many more American stories and traditions! Hope you are enjoying every day there!!

  2. Linda Winnie Towne

    If it is like our last week of classes before Christmas vacation – yes – I am sure the teacher could use a break and hear from the American teacher! LOL Looking at the picture of the classroom takes me back to the beginning of my career with the chalkboard and desk styles. If your lessons are as enchanting as your blog, I’m sure they loved it! Enjoy! Love you! Win

  3. Linda, once again it seems that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Happy New Year and take care.

  4. Thanks for all the support, encouragement, and holiday wishes…..

  5. Is the hang-over cure effective? It sounds rather drastic to me! 🙂
    Miss you Lin, you are amazing!

  6. Wishing you a very Happy New Year. Lynn and I are sitting here this morning after a party at my house last night waiting for the kids. We’re reading your blog and both of us feel you should keep these and publish a book about your journey. It would be a best seller!!!
    Maria and Lynn

  7. maria stiverson

    I agree with maria and lynn, Publish!!

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