Sunday, July 14, 2013

4th of July in Macedonia

The 4th of July is a truly American holiday, Phil and I decided to spend the afternoon with a truly American group at the US Embassy in Skopje. As Peace Corps Volunteers, we aren't really supposed to go to the Embassy or interact with the Embassy community much as it a) heightens the idea that we are spys (we aren't- in case you were confused), and b) tends to have the locals think we can get them visas (we can't), however we are invited to attend the informal 4th of July celebration there (many US Embassies have an official celebration that is formal and many local dignitaries are invited and then an informal celebration for the Embassy employees and other ex-pats in the country).
We, along with about 20 other Peace Corps Volunteers made our way to the Embassy for an afternoon filled with games, food, and English speakers!
Ambassador Wohlers making a speech
One of the highlights for the PCVs was the food. First, we were amazed that without even being asked, people formed lines and patiently waited for their turn. This is a cultural thing that has not transferred over to Macedonia and no matter how hard every PCV ever were to try here, the concept of lines doesn't exist.
 American hotdogs, hamburgers (real ones- not the mixed "meat" variety sold here), Wonder bread, potato salad, Lays chips, and an assortment of desserts. Everyone was required to bring a dessert to share, so the table was quite magical. And because the Embassy folks are a little better connected to America than we are as PCVs, there were several dishes that had all-American ingredients- mostly those with peanut butter! Lori and I stared at the table long and hard before making our choices that included, special k bars, peanut butter cookies, warm peach cobbler, chocolate cupcakes, and chocolate chip cookies.
Phil and I had a chance to talk with a few Embassy folks, including one FS daughter who is a soon to be PCV in Thailand! We also got to show our very inferior croquet skills....until some children stole our balls and wickets (probably for the best as we were all struggling). And we got to see a few RPCVs who were back in Macedonia visiting/working.

While I missed hanging out around Don and Elisa's pool with the Pine City family, it was a great afternoon, despite the rain ending the party early. I hope there will be many 4th of July's like this in the future!
Happy Independence Day!
*Thanks to Terri and Harry for the photos as I didn't take any

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