An afternoon in Ohrid

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oct. and Nov.

Hi, everyone,
I know it's been forever since I've written, but it's been a busy month. Tomorrow is Kurban Bajram, or little Bajram. The two Bajrams will always resonate with me, because I moved in with my Albanian host family right before the big Bajram, and moved out the day after little Bajram. Thanksgiving marks half of my service time - it will be a year since we were sworn in as Peace Corps volunteers. The Mak-13's (and the Mak 12's who extended a year) are going home, and it's like losing family. They were our guides and introduced us to Macedonia, and I will forever be grateful for their welcoming us into the PC family. Mbarre rrugen, everyone.

One reason I was so busy was that I went back to the States for two weeks and visited sisters, parents and kids. What a great time! It feels like teleporting from one world into another (but not as quick - the trip home took 24 hours). Every part of it was wonderful. It was especially nice to see my parents. They have had significant health problems since I've been gone - not unexpected, given their age - and it has been difficult to be so far away. But they both looked good and we had a rewarding visit.

Talk about fabulous - San Fran and NYC were both great fun. Chris was able to arrange for Pixar to have a luxury box at the Oakland Raiders/Seahawks game, and Dave, Karen and Kellen came down to see the game with us. We feasted and watched the Seahawks lose badly, but it was great fun. He then gave us a tour of Pixar. The picture above is him in Alcatraz - I'd never gone and wanted to. Next was 3 days in NYC, where Kacy took me for a mani, pedi and massage. That night we went to a play and saw Laura Linney. It was excellent and thought provoking. It was great to see the kids' new apartments and offices - a lot has changed since I left.

Two seminars - one on sustainable tourism and one on sustainable forestry - buttressed my trip home. Above is a picture of my Kosovar friends. One day I will go visit them, but I fear it will have to wait until I'm done with Peace Corps. Kosovo is off limits to us. Everyone I have met from Kosovo has been so nice, though, and I can't wait until I can get up to visit.

Finally, last weekend I went down to Demir Kapija for a lamb roast that my friend Tracy had arranged. We all brought some a variety of things to eat or to make, and did we feast. Friday night we took ingredients we had brought to a place that makes pizza with a brick oven. We gave them the ingredients and instructed them on which ingredient we wanted on what pizza. They made the crust, added the ingredients as instructed, and then baked them in their oven. Talk about gourmet pizzas! We had a pepper pizza with fresh onions, peppers, ajvar, and the regular fixings, a garlic pizza, a gorgonzola, bacon and carmelized onion pizza, a cheese pizza, and one other yummy one whose ingredients I now can't remember. They were amazing. The next day we got up and got the combi out to Demir Kapija and dropped off the food for the lamb roast. We then went out for a short hike and condor watching. It was a pristine fall day - warm, blue sky, the kind of a day where you are so happy to be alive and outside. We then returned for the roast. The owner of the restaurant had been getting the brick oven heated and ready, and we roasted the lamb and a variety of root veggies. It was the best lamb I'd ever eaten, succulent, flavorful, with juices oozing everywhere, and done perfectly. It was possibly the best meal I have ever eaten.

Now that I've made you all hungry, I think I"ll go eat lunch. Have a great day!


  1. Bring on the mint sauce. I miss having a good lamb roast every once in a while. I think I need to go for dinner to the Greek restaurant in White Rock, they do Lamb so well. So, did you Candy, leg of lamb for my birthday dinners every year. Fond Memories. I got a new bed today so when you get back I have a bed for you again. b

  2. Okay, you just may have me beat. We had an early Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Amazing. Lots of left overs. Miss you.

  3. Great stuff! A very full month!