Saturday, September 10, 2011

Week One in Skopje

Day Two

On my second  day in Macedonia (!) I hung out at the hostel doing some stuff online before meeting Erin for lunch. Erin and I looked at the apartment and talked about when I would move in. Erin was a Fulbright student back in 2007 and has since been working in Macedonia at a tech company. She is super nice and friendly. We wandered around downtown a bit and then I went back to the hostel to get changed to go out with Ognen and his friends.

We ended up meeting up with Erin (who’s friend had cancelled on her) as well and staying out until 2:30 a.m! I am not used to this staying up so late!

At about 2 we went to go talk to the cops about my registration. Erin’s landlord is friends with a police officer, so we met up with him to ask about it. He said we had to come back the next night (with the landlord) when I was checked out of the hostel.

Day Three

On my third day- the City Hostel people cheated me out of some of my money. I had revered 7 nights figuring it would take longer to find an apartment, but when I got there on Monday the owner was all “When are you leaving? I have a big group coming in soon.” And he also over charged me. I essentially paid for another night at the hostel, due to the extra charges. The guy was nice (when he wasn’t ripping me off) and it was secure and safe (which is good). But I will never stay there again due to his mis-charging me.

I moved into Erin’s place and we ended up talking for about 6 hours! Then I went shopping! I bought a cool new skirt, and then some groceries.

Then it was back to the apartment to cook some dinner and just do some stuff online.

It was very relaxing!

Day Four—Independence Day Macedonian Style

Today was independence day for Macedonia. It was their 20th year of freedom. They had planned a huge celebration to start at 6pm or so I thought. So I did some stuff online waiting to go downtown. I had saw that there was to be a military parade at 6pm, but then we saw something online that looked like the parade had already taken place. So I waited until I was to meet Ognen, only to find out that the parade had happened at 6pm. I was so disappointed! I wanted to see a military parade! So sad that I missed that.

Erin and I met up with Ognen and headed downtown.

It was SO crowed! The government had bussed in people from all over the state. There was not a whole lot of space to move.

There was a huge stage set up and lots of people everywhere! We waited around for the program to start and trying not to be totally accosted or cop a feel on everyone that walked by. They had some sort of TV program on before the start of festivities in the square. So we were able to watch that a bit. We think it was a re-enactment of the history of Macedonia, but we couldn’t really hear what they said (foreshadowing).

Then the Prime Minister or President (don’t know which, because I couldn’t really see) placed the “declaration of independence” into a special case. Then walked over to the main square. Then the real festivities began.

Well sort of. The President made a speech and then the Prime Minister made a speech.

For 45 minutes to an hour. No joke.

There was singing and performances until at least 4:30 a.m:

They turned on the new fountain:

Released balloons:

Shot off fireworks:

Then we wandered over to Charshija (the old town) and had a snack and a drink before heading back. At about 1 a.m. I was exhausted and headed back to the apartment while Erin and Ognen stayed out some more.

Day Five

I sat around waiting to meet up with Daniel the other Fulbrighter, but to no avail. So just hung out in the apartment relaxing and talking with Erin.

Then we out for ice cream (which is about $0.50 per scoop here) and pop-corn just to get out of the apartment!

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