Sunday, June 6, 2010
I just returned home from a week and Struga and Ohrid, and as much fun as I had there with my friends, it was good to return home. What makes somewhere a home? I have been pondering that since I returned. Certainly part of it is familiarity - my own bed, even if it is a couch bed, seeing how my plants have grown since I left, fixing my own food - but there is something deeper. After getting home, I went out to do some chores. As I crossed by the central square in Gostivar, the 3 Turkish girls I had escorted to Skopje for the spelling bee ran out calling my name, and we chatted. I walked a little down the street, and the psychology graduate student who is helping with the girls camp called my name and we talked for a bit. I went into my cheese store and the woman there greeted me warmly, as she always does, and helped me find the cheese I was looking for. The woman from the bread shop asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Macedonia, and we tried, as best as we could, to communicate. My counterpart and his wife, friends, sent me e-mails. Home is a sense of belonging, and it goes beyond language - to me, all these people were part of being home. The man at the import store who is always asking me and my friends to have coffee with him, the clerks at the store who always greet me warmly, the comfort of it all - Macedonia is a very friendly and welcoming place, and everyone has helped make it home. To them all, I say thank you. It's hard being away from friends and family back home, but all of you make me so glad I have come here.
Posted by Candice Wiggum at 1:42 AM