As the title of the post suggests, we faced four days of good byes before we all left. At this point, Daniel was already back in Arizona and we hadn’t seen Naum in a few weeks. While an emotional time for us, it was also just what we needed for closure. We started off in Tetovo with Jen’s last kids club at the American Corner. They gave her so many gifts, so many kids loved her. And boy the car was packed! We barely had any room to sit.
On the 2nd, we had out last goodbye party. It was at our lovely little kebab place we found. Everything with food for what felt like 40 for pretty cheap. We had a blast just sitting around talking with everyone. A nice mixture of people just mingling. We then went out to a club afterwards. It was a perfect MK ending to the year.
After a day of packing and just hanging out with friends, we spent the next day relaxing at a spa. We all had massages and either a pedicure or a facial. The prices were so great I wish I had done this about once a month. We all then went to join Erin at Ajana’s. This was one of the first places I ate at in MK and one of the last ones. It was touching and difficult to understand how 9 months had already passed. We saw Lizzie off to Bulgaria where she was going to catch her plane.
My last day in Skopje was spent hanging out at home and with new friends. I made sure to go see Hyun and Vancho one last time. As well as my friend from Macedonian 2025 before I left. Jen and I had made up our mind to not go to sleep before leaving thinking it would help us re adjust to US time zones. I think it did help, but boy was it super hard to do so! I have to admit, that I think the bit of wine and coffee helped us both.
We headed off to the airport at around 2:30 in the morning. The last bit was epic! We had been told by United that whatever we got to take over the Atlantic, we could take on every leg of our trip. We already had to pay for three suitcases so we went and paid for them, then we stood in line to check them. We also had our two carry on’s, which we thought were fine. Then we went to security….and we were only allowed one bag. At this point we didn’t want to pay for another over limit bag for our 4th checked bag. We tried explaining what had happened and got mad, threatening to complain to United…speaking really fast in English at the same time (I felt a little bad afterwards) but I think they decided to left us go just to get rid of us. We kept talking about how we were going to complain to United until we got past security…we looked at each other, laughed and said there is NO WAY we are complaining…this was the best last minute gift from MK.
The planes were nice and almost empty the whole way home. In case you don’t remember, we had to go from Skopje à Vienna à Zurich à New York à Houston/Chicago à Home. The first transfer was super easy…Switzerland was a bit, well stereotypical….line and directions and organization and comfy waiting locations and free wifi. And we had to go through security all over again. I thought Erin was joking when she told us about them looking at her weird with her glass bottle, but no they totally did. We barely had time to get through the airport before the plane loaded. We had to go through one last security checkpoint where they asked us questions about “Have you had your electronics repaired recently?” I mean is there a terrorist out there going “I only accept and repair electronics that are flying internationally so I can set you up to take the blame and blow up the plane?” oh well, it wouldn’t totally surprise me. We had a whole row to ourselves on the transatlantic! Totally nice. It was hard to say good bye in New York, but we knew we would keep in contact over FB.
It might be sad, but the first thing I bought was Auntie Anne’s Pretzels…delicious and American. When I got into Houston, I was dead. I couldn’t sleep because I was afraid of missing my flight, I couldn’t eat because I could barely stay awake, but I needed food. (Chili’s with a veggie burger and fries). And then my plane was a bit delayed. But eventually (or so it felt) I made it on the plane and was finally going home.
It was nice to be home, to see family and friends. But I still miss the lifestyle of Macedonia and the food. I want to go back. I will go back, who knows when, but it will happen.
See you around the globe!