Monday, October 14, 2013

Weekend of the Seven Deadly Sins

In case you aren't familiar with the seven deadly sins, they are (simplified):

Lust: an intense desire for something
Gluttony: over-indulgance and over-consumption
Greed: desire for material possessions
Sloth: laziness
Wrath: rage or extreme anger
Envy: jealousy towards something someone else has
Pride: desire to be better than others

You might be asking yourself why I am writing a blog post on the seven deadly sins, especially since I am not the most religious of folks. I promise, keep reading and it all will make sense! 

This past weekend was Pastrmalijada in Shtip. Pastrmalija, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a canoe shaped dough filled with seasoned meat. It is quite delicious, however, it is also quite unhealthy. Phil and I have been on a healthy kick lately involving both diet and exercise and the thought of this festival and all of its artery-clogging properties was starting to stress us out. However, this festival, and food, is something uniquely Macedonian and with only a few weeks left here, we are getting rather nostalgic. To alleviate the stress and really enjoy ourselves, we decided to turn this weekend into a game- seeing just how much sinning we could do in one weekend (disclaimer: we only wanted to commit legal sins). 

Before I dive into talking about our game, let me say, it is pretty easy to accomplish most of the sins above. If you have never thought about how much you sin, I suggest you try- it is incredibly easy and kind of interesting. I noticed I was doing it even when I wasn't trying. That said, some were much easier than others for me. 

The easiest sin to commit this weekend was gluttony. We could have gone to the festival and eaten pastmalija just once, but that wasn't how we wanted to play the game. We ate not one, but three pastrmajlijas each over the course of the weekend. They aren't small little guys either, so that is a sizable amount of food. When I say unhealthy, I mean unhealthy- To make those three pastrmalijas, an entire bottle of oil was probably used. We also chose to over-indulge in wine as it was 50 den for a 1/4 liter, which is about $1.00. At prices like that, they are asking for gluttony! To stick the final nail in the coffin on gluttony, I also consumed a copious amount of chocolate- almost all of it dark chocolate, but still, not the healthiest of foods.
This is the size of a personal pastrmalija. Yes, one person eats the whole delicious greasy thing.
The other sin that was incredibly easy for us went hand-in-hand with gluttony and that was sloth. We spent a lot of time sitting around the festival with other PCVs who had come to enjoy the celebration. Sitting and socializing is a big part of the culture here, so we embraced that and walked from booth to booth sitting and eating and talking. We slept late and shortened our workout to only abs. 

I experienced envy the very first night of the festival when we went to eat at one of our favorite restaurant's booths. I was so excited to eat pastrmalija since I hadn't had it in months. However, when we were served, our pastrmalijas had been sitting there for a little while and were cold. Almost immediately after we were served, the restaurant made a delivery and the table next to us was given hot fresh pastrmalija. I was very jealous of the fact that we had the old cold stuff, but they got hot fresh stuff. I was also envious of Phil this weekend as he slept like a baby. The second he laid down, he was out, whereas I laid there for a long time trying to fall asleep. 

I was hoping wrath would be a hard sin for me to accomplish, but it turned out to be much easier than I thought. One night, one of the other volunteers had a bit to much to drink. As someone who often doesn't drink much, I became upset about his/her actions. The longer we sat there and the more the other volunteer had to drink, the more angry I became and the more I proved to myself that wrath really wasn't as hard to accomplish as I had hoped.

While riding the bus on Thursday, I definitely was lusting after some pastrmalija. I also would say by Saturday night, I was lusting after going to bed early and going back to sloth phase of sitting around and watching T.V. I also would say I was feeling lustful Saturday night while we were having a drink at the Irish Pub. Our table was next to the grocery store and I sat there lusting after some dark chocolate- the perfect dessert to pastrmalija.

I think in this case, greed, goes right in hand with the extreme amount of food we were eating and not sharing with anyone else. There are several homeless people in Shtip who were wandering around the festival looking for someone to share some food, but I never saw anyone willing to share, ourselves included. And let's quick jump back up to that dark chocolate I was lusting after, well, I went in and bought some to share with the table. Dark chocolate with almonds- one of my favorites. While I did share it, I greedily took one more piece than I wanted simply because it was filled with almonds and those are the best parts.

For me, pride, is by far the hardest sin to master. I am not a boastful person to begin with and I think my time here has made that even truer as I don't have the same "big accomplishments" that other PCVs have and instead have to rely on the "little things" to make it through. While I can't come up with an example of where I was full of pride, I know it occurred this weekend. I don't think it is possible for anyone to spend a weekend with a group of PCVs and not commit pride. 

I suspect some of you now expect me to write about what I learned from sinning and how bad it all is, but instead, I would rather end with saying that this weekend was a lot of fun and was a delicious weekend. I think choosing to approach the weekend as we did kept me from feeling guilty about all of the unhealthy behaviors we were exhibiting and while I could never permanently live like this, it was a delightful weekend- sometimes sinning is a whole lot of fun.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Macedonia? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Macedonia in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez