Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Turkey Day from MK

Despite their being a word for "Thanksgiving" in Macedonian, most Macedonians have never heard of the holiday and if they have heard of it, they know very little about it. I had one teacher at school approach me to tell me an early "happy holidays" for Thanksgiving, however, she told me "Среќен Црн Петок", or Happy Black Friday. Ahhh... apparently the news here focused more on Black Friday than it did on Thanksgiving! I decided to take this opportunity as a chance to teach some of the kids about Thanksgiving. In 1st grade we made turkey hats that were pretty adorable. There wasn't time in any of the other classes to talk much about Thanksgiving, but I did probe the kids asking them what they are thankful for. Many of the responses were along the lines of: cell phones, Facebook, and friends. With my adults we read a mini book about the history of Thanksgiving and I did the same with a little 4th grader that I tutor.

Working on turkey hats
Typical- no smile
This kid is quite a character. His English skills are quite impressive for a first grader, but he often only pulls them out for me. I work with his older sister in fifth grade and she is quite good at English, so clearly the family is doing something right at home.

My counterpart and all the little 1st graders. The boy sitting outside of the group without a hat was the most excited about making the hats, but couldn't make his feathers as nice as mine, so he threw his hat away and pouted.
Four of the boys decided it was their job to crawl on the floor and bawk like turkeys (chickens).
As far as my own plans for Thanksgiving, as with everything in Macedonia, plans changed last minute. I was going to go to Bogdanci (a small town on the border with Greece) on Thursday for casino night (the Greeks have built several large casinos down there) and then we would have Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, however many people cancelled on Thursday last minute, so I ended up just going to Shtip to see Phil. We spent most of the day enjoying the nice weather walking around town and running a few errands, including getting me my first Macedonian haircut. Phil's landlord's daughter owns a beauty salon in Shtip, so we decided to go there to 1) get him brownie points with his landlords and 2) I decided I trusted her more than the random old guy with no hair I had seen cutting it in my town. While I don't have a picture, it is quite a bit shorter than I wanted, about chin-length, but can't really put hair back after its been cut. She did a pretty nice job, other than the fact that we later discovered about 10 hairs randomly that hadn't been cut. 

We then went back and started our cooking for Thanksgiving, which turned into an 8 hour process that finished about 3:30 in the morning! However, some pretty epic food was created- two loaves of homemade wheat bread, hummus, thai peanut ginger dip, and homemade crackers. Tied into the cooking was a Skype call to Phil's parents and family. I had been prepped that the next time I went to Shtip, I would be meeting his parents over Skype and so I figured I might talk to them on Thanksgiving, that day I was informed that it wouldn't just be the parents, but also his brother and sister-in-law, the niece and nephews, some cousins, and an aunt. Clearly since I am writing this, I survived! It was so easy to talk to them. One of Phil's cousins was a PCV in Nicaragua a few years back, so there were lots of jokes exchanged about how "easy" we have it over here in MK (Phil didn't really help the cause by sitting there drinking a Guinness).

Friday we had one more errand we wanted to run before going to Bogdanci and that was to get to the Bargala Shoe Factory in Shtip to see if we could find some boots large enough for skis like mine. Most stores don't sell women's shoes larger than a 39 (US 9), but the factory was wonderful enough to make size 41 so I bought myself an early Christmas present- brown leather riding boots. I don't think I have ever owned shoes this nice, so I am a little protective right now! After the factory we headed to Bogdanci by way of Veles and after a bus never appearing, we had to take a taxi down, but made it in time to do last minute preparations for the meal. Turkeys were found here (they are very rare and most Macedonians have never eaten one) as well as ingredients for stuffing, so we had some of the typical T-day foods as well as some Macedonian dishes. All in all, a good second Thanksgiving in Macedonia. It is up in the air as to whether or not I will have a third one here or not as my COS date will be sometime in November of next year.

1 comment:

  1. Turkey? On Thanksgiving???
    At least you got some Thai peanut ginger dip, to make it a traditional Thanksgiving meal...