I chased after one dream for 6 years, and it teased me. I wanted more then anything to be in Macedonia. Some nights I was, but the mornings brought me back to reality. Slowly this dream was fading, the picture was becoming blurry. The hope of going to Macedonia again became just that–a dream.
After six years I found a chance to make my dream a reality and I had to work hard to make it happen. I went there right after my sixteenth birthday and it felt like at that birthday I turned ten again instead of sixteen. The first time I walked out of the Alexander the Great Airport, I didn’t see what was happening at the moment, I saw what had happen before. The memories started rushing back. I smelled the mid-June air without humid once again after 6 years. I wasn’t sixteen; I was ten—the age Macedonia remembered me at.
This was the one dream that after it came true I was thankful for it everyday! One day, I was walking to my grandma’s house, past her neighbors that were cutting wood and the smell intoxicated me. I realized I was walking around with a smile on my face, not looking at the people, but seeing myself as a kid when I watched my grandpa cut wood, and smelling that scent everywhere in the summer time. The simple things like the smell of wood, my grandma’s cooking, my old school, the morning coffee with my friends never made me so happy before.
The atmosphere of the summer as a whole was blissful there; the people live differently. When either school or work is over, a whole other life awaits in which people have time to go slow and enjoy, sip coffee at the local cafes, shop in fashion boutiques, wine and dine on traditional dishes in restaurants constructed in old architectural style of stone and bricks with live music and subconsciously soak in the cultural essence. A large portion of the population struggles to find jobs, yet they were always upbeat and vacations were a must—at least for a few days.
Then there were the new experiences; the parts of Macedonia I never saw before. I had never climbed to the highest peak of mountain Baba before, a part of the world that seems so peaceful. I climbed up there twice and it wasn’t easy but the goal kept me motivated. It’s a different community from what we see everyday. Everyone is friendly, no one is trying to impress anyone else, I felt closer to nature, a sense of tranquility took over yet at the same time suspense of the wild life and unpredictable weather is present. A few times I went swimming in Lake Ohrid, which is full of smooth rounded pebbles and water so clear, that it is the only lake I ever dared to open my eyes in underwater; all the while surrounded by my immediate family of about 20 people playing card games and Pictionary and constantly munching on home grown vegetables and barbeque.
A vacation like that is worthwhile. It’s different from the American life. Fast food is replaced by Macedonian traditional dishes; nonstop work and materialistic needs are replaced by the relaxation in natural beauty. Macedonia is not as popular as France, or as big as England, but it possesses a unique traditional value which makes a vacation there unlike any other.
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