Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter: Round 2

As many of you know, Orthodox Easter is one week later. This, of course, means that we get TWO Easters! Easter is a huge celebration here, with all schools & businesses closing for a four-day holiday weekend. It is anticipated and celebrated more than Christmas.

There are many traditions that we have learned about over the past several days, including going to church on the Eve of Easter at midnight to ring in that Christ has risen, eating lamb along with liver soup, fun one-on-one games to see whose hard boiled egg breaks first followed by eating that egg and throwing the shells into rivers or lakes, and, of course, plenty of baklava along with many other traditions!

The pictures below all showcase the red eggs that have come to symbolize Macedonian Orthodox Easter. They die many eggs (all red) and give them to visitors that come on Easter and the two days following (making for a three-day holiday). It is also tradition to take one egg for everyone in your family, along with one representing the home, to church. The eggs must remain at the church overnight and then they are taken back home, where each family member consumes his/her egg. The shells are all thrown in a body of water. The egg for the home is then put up in the house, where it will remain until the following Easter (when it is thrown in the body of water, with that year's shells).

We are so thankful that we were able to share and learn more about so many traditions over the last few days.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Birthday Celebration- Macedonian Style!

One of the more challenging parts about being in the Peace Corps is being away from friends and families on holidays and important events, like birthdays. Lucky for us, we have such amazing friends here that my birthday was one I will differently remember fondly for years to come.

Macedonians traditionally invite people out for their birthdays and treat their guests to a lovely dinner. They are also typically responsible for bringing a cake to work to share with their co-workers. We took this as an opportunity to bake some yummy peanut butter Reese's cookies for my co-workers and go out to our favorite pizza restaurant. (For all you pizza lovers: this restaurant is the only one we have found so far in Struga, or Macedonia for that matter, that uses tomato sauce. Instead, ketchup is used; even as a lover of all things ketchup, I can't get used to it.)

The pictures below are from our celebration after-dinner when we treated some of our closest friends, including two Peace Corps volunteers, my co-workers at Poraka Nova, and our FAVORITE ladies from the American Corner, to drinks.

In other news, the weather is warming up here and we are training hard for our marathon on May 6!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cooking Like a Native

It's official... we can now partially cook like a Macedonian! This dish below is Cody's favorite thing that our host mother made. It's pita with feta or goat cheese, or as it is called here пита со сирење или pita me djath. We decided to make it for the Super Bowl and combined the cultures by having buffalo wings and pita! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Waking up to snow this morning!

This is the third snow we have gotten in Struga. It is beautiful as it is snowing, especially when looking up at the mountains. The next day usually isn't as fun as everything typically turns to ice that we have to fight for another week. But for now, we're enjoying it! Forecast says it is supposed to snow for the next three days :)

Views from our balcony below:

Stay tuned for more pictures of Struga in the snow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mire means good... and so much more!!

Ok, you might not appreciate this much if you haven't been learning Albanian, but this is so funny and true. Mire (pronounced meer) seems to be able to control a whole conversation. This song makes me happy... hope it makes you happy, too :).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ok... last music school post... 'til next time :)

One of my sophomore Macedonian high school students at the music school I teach at... Why am I teaching English!! Not that we haven't have some huge challenges here, but this might be part of the reason some call Eastern Europe Peace Corps "Posh Corps" :) Check it out.