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Sun is on my side

Believe it or not, but every time I will look into the face of the sun, from any place in this world, I will think of Macedonia. Sun was always on my side in here, giving me energy and leading me to do amazing. As well as the people, who are the soul and the heart of this sunny place.


People. This is a key word of my experience. I like to think of myself that I am a peopleholic. Because it’s true. My people are my inspiration and the source of knowledge. Suddenly you realize, how much you learn from those you are with. Finland is not as cold as you may think and although people indeed have their very Finnish moments, but they can also hug a lot and become your best friends for a lifetime. When you have Turkish people in the house, you will never be hungry or sick. They will feed you and they will heal you with every possible way they know. You suddenly find a lot of common words between Polish and German languages and in the evenings, just for fun, you’re watching Harry Potter in German (and with Finnish subtitles). French people can speak English and you can laugh at their accent but they will laugh at you trying to pronounce French words too. And they will go around rapping in French, which suddenly makes you enjoy rap music. You don’t know a single thing about Estonia and then your friend brings you from there the best chocolate in the world and the next thing is that you sing an Estonian song about your new shoes that are very muddy. Macedonians, finally. Beautiful nation, created of not many people, yet stronger than any nation I knew before, with open heart full of kindness.


Is it really easier to understand and speak another Slavic language when you’re a Slav and you know other Slavic languages? Yes and no. I can say that I came to Macedonia straight from Bulgaria as I studied and worked in there and my head was full of Bulgarian and Serbian. Mostly, I knew Macedonian from traditional folk songs and also from my friends. So from the beginning of my stay I jumped into it, trying to have basic conversations with people in markets or anywhere else, where I couldn’t really use English. I discovered how extremely happy people are when they notice that I’m a foreigner and I can speak their language (or trying to speak, at least). During months I improved my Macedonian a lot, thanks to the best teacher ever and thanks to some of my friends who stubbornly kept talking or writing to me in their language.


Sounds odd, right? But when I came to Macedonia, one of my missions was to go at as many concerts as it’s possible and I wanted to see and hear everything that is Macedonian. So being here a month already I convinced my French friend to go with me at the concert of Lozano. I almost cried when I heard ‘‘Kilometri” and I really cried later on when suddenly Next Time band entered the stage to perform ‘‘Ja izlezi Gjurgjo”. For Macedonians it was just a regular concert as they’ve experienced it multiple times probably, but for me it was something new and amazing. I can mention many others. How much I was happy when I bought tickets for Foltin or Nokaut concerts. And every time I got the same surprised look. ‘‘You’re from Poland? -Yes. – And you’re excited about Nokaut? – Well, yes!”. I loved my musical routine in Skopje, when I was enjoying concerts of Fiction or Bona Dea almost every week. Summer concerts in City Park, where the most memorable was philharmonic concert Љубов и револуција (Love & revolution). In Dojran, on D-festival, I experienced one of the best concerts in my life, when in little church on the hill Vlatko Stefanovski was having his cameral concert. I love how much Macedonia enriched my music world.


I love my life in Macedonia and I love how random this life is. My friends made a quote out of it and every time something happens to us, we comment it with ‘‘This is so random!”. Everything is random and beautiful, starting from the people we meet to the places we explore and things we learn. The first day in Skopje we were wandering with my fellow Polish volunteer and we chose the wrong way searching for the nearest shop. We randomly made our first Macedonian friend. He is a good cook and he loves his city a lot, so at my first weekend we went to explore Vodno and we got our first truly Macedonian dinner. I have this volunteers gang that I was always with and random people who joined us during many events, staying our friends or being just a part of our experience shortly. It was a random discovery when one of the first places I found in Skopje was Beertija Pub in our neighborhood, that later on became our living room. Partly because we were playing this legendary pub quiz every wednesday for months, just to win a jar of money shortly before I left Macedonia. Partly because one has always this kind of place in which feels comfortable and cosy. Mostly because I have people in there that became a family to me. This is so random that I started watching ice hockey in Macedonia, because my friend is Finnish and she’s crazy about it. As random as it may be, I became a tires painter, having absolutely no idea about painting before. Once, I randomly got an onion as a gift when I went on a film festival event. The same evening I was taking selfie with a volunteer dog on this festival. What’s random is also when we went to one lake near Prilep and when we reached the destination, there was no lake. Only a big desert remained, as a dried memory of a lake. I could put more on the list. Random bachata dancing at Vardar river after sunset. Random bridge in the middle of Kisela Voda with no river under. Random walk to streets Helsinki and Varshavska. Random finding of Harry Potter in Macedonian after weeks of searching. Random discovery of street Skopska in Skopje. Random party where we were closer to Kosovo than to Skopje. Random conversations. Ewelina Random Makedonska.


I miss the view from my window at my home in Skopje. I could see Vodno from there. On the other side it was a distant silhouette of high mountains. They were covered with snow when I came and golden from an early winter sun when I was leaving. And this green roof of neighborhood building always attracting my eyes even before morning coffee. I didn’t say goodbye to my surrounding, to my everyday and to my friends. Maybe because I can’t say goodbye. Maybe because instead of a goodbye it’s better to say see you soon. And I have a hope that there is still a lot of marvels that Macedonia has to offer and I need to discover.

Ewelina Chańska