Today as I contemplated “what would interest my readers regarding life in Macedonia”, my office-mates started raising their voices in argument. Now although this is not an especially unusual situation, and I am still linguistically-challenged, it occurred to me that the level of passion, decibel, and frequency is rather unusual from the viewpoint of the ‘professional’ office-worker in America. On a (for me) disturbingly frequent basis I find myself burying my face in my computer as loud arguments swirl around me from my various co-workers. It can be between the two women with whom I share the office, women from the office down the hall, the two guys who speak English and are frequent visitors to our work-space, or even the ‘chief’ who very infrequently comes into our space, but is not averse to tapping on the glass door and pointing at one of us to summon to his office.
Sometimes I know what they’re arguing about–if not the specifics of the point of view nor the history or politics of the situation. But the cultural observation from my point of view is that regardless of the issue, the intensity, or the length of the argument, my coworkers always seem to end up laughing, shrugging their shoulders and frequently drinking coffee together. It seems that part of the process of moving something forward is a loud and lusty argument.
I try to catch a few words, or more likely concentrate on my computer, or take a walk……but I never try to participate! Uncharacteristically cowardly, I know!
I thought my dinner was rather interesting, too. I had half a leftover cabbage from a recent cabbage salad that I really wanted to use. I bought some ‘bacon’ –not what you would see in America, but a slab in a meat case at the little corner store of which I asked the shopkeeper to please slice me 200 grams. (About 10 semi-thick short pieces.) I fried 5 pieces and removed them to the side. Then I peeled and sliced a stalk of ‘pras’ which is like a giant green onion–waist-high and about an inch-diameter. The pras went into the bacon grease accompanied by 1/2 dried sweet pepper and about an inch of dried hot pepper –both from a large bag of peppers purchased at the bazaar about 6 weeks ago for 10 Denari (about 20 cents). Then came the cabbage, thinly sliced, but plentiful in volume. It was stirred together with a little garlic, salt, and the subsequently crumbled bacon, and I had a meal.
I’m not sure it sounds too good to any of you, but I thought it was pretty good. It certainly is NOTHING like anything I ever made at home, but the tug to use the seasonally available vegetables is strong, and I seriously doubt I would be able to find a corned-beef over here. Any favorite winter-veggie recipes?