Chris in Skopje, North Macedonia // 2nd Report

Second report about my time in Macedonia after 6 months

Spring came with Corona. The numbers were rising and the virus got me too. From late Mid-March until the middle of April I stayed 3 weeks in quarantine at home. Fortunately the virus didn’t hit me that hard. I didn’t lose my senses of smell and taste so I could enjoy the food that my flatmates were cooking for me during those days. When my quarantine was over I knew I have to make up for it. During spring I travelled to quite a few places in Macedonia together with friends. Especially long weekends like during the Macedonian Easter holidays turned out perfect to visit places like the Mavrovo national park or the two big natural lakes of Macedonia, Prespa and of course Ohrid lake. And things became even better. After the hard Covid-19 spring, the numbers decreased towards summer and from the 1st of June wearing masks on the street wasn’t obligatory anymore. As the temperatures went higher the city park became the place to hang out, meet new people and enjoy life. Also bars and restaurants opened their doors again after closing during spring due to the rising numbers of Corona cases. And eventually even clubs were allowed to open, but only the ones with open air areas.

My workdays didn’t change that much except for one thing. Together with Clarissa, who is also a German volunteer at Volunteers Centre Skopje, I established a German conversation class. On the 21st of April, we had our first class online with many participants. Approximately every second Wednesday the online class took part and at the 30th of June we eventually organized our first German conversation class in person at the city park of Skopje. Also our Macedonian language class started at the end of March but unfortunately after 3 month I have to admit that I was not very successful in learning it. I guess my motivation was not the highest but also the online learning format through Zoom was nothing helpful. But even though I can only say the most basic things in Macedonian, local people are happy and sometimes even impressed when I say “Fala ti mnogu” or “Se gledame”, probably because some of them think I am just a tourist in here, and they don’t expect tourists to speak Macedonian.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t improved my writing speed. It takes me way too long to write, most likely because I have perfectionistic tendencies that I probably should get rid of. But also in general I already realised many things about myself during my time in Macedonia, for example that I can hardly imagine to work in a job where I have to sit in an office and look at a screen all day long. But of course, I’m still trying my best to be more productive and improve myself during my project. And I want to dedicate more time for the designing part, because that’s something I want to improve and it lately came a bit too short.

I almost forgot the EURO 2020, with Macedonia being qualified for the first time in history. We watched the first match in a bar and the atmosphere was amazing. Even though Macedonia lost this game as well as the following ones, people here were still proud of their team.




Chris is hosted by Volunteers Centre Skopje on the project “VOICES to be heard”, financed by JUGEND für Europa and the European Solidarity Corps.