My posts will probably be pretty short until after Thanksgiving - I won't have regular internet until I move into my own place. Tomorrow I move in with my family for training. I am very lucky to be moving in with an ethnic Albanian family - almost a quarter of Macedonia's population is Albanian Muslim. The families are carefully chosen and from what I've heard spoil us like crazy. We get to meet family, neighbors, and get well fed!
We flew into Skopje and then moved to a hotel in Kumanov for our first 5 days of training. It surprised me flying into Skopje - I had expected it to look like New Hampshire but it looked more like Nebraska with more dramatic landscape. All the land around Skopje is farmed, and they had finished the corn and wheat harvest so the fields were brown. We went immediately up to our hotel outside of Kumanov. It's next to a residential area, so in the mornings I walk around. I love it. There are very few lawns - almost all the land around the houses are fruit trees and gardens. They're harvesting tomatoes - large, yummy ripe tomatoes - and a long sweet red pepper that they make a sauce with. You can walk down the roads and see them searing the peppers on charcoal braziers and sometimes making the sauce. Almost everyone has chickens - so I feel right at home - and as you walk you can smell the earthiness of chickens, the sweet smell of cows and goats, and the acrid odor of pigs. Everyone has a mini farm :-). The group I'm with is wonderful and great fun - danced my feet off last night with them. And everyone is so interesting. If you added up all the travel I'm sure we'd be to the moon and back.
I'll only have internet access a couple times a week until I move into my own place at my assignment, but will try to keep you updated. I'll post pictures then, too = I'll be able to do this from my computer instead of the internet cafe. Love to all.