February 25, 2008

Skopje Steve?

As far as I know, there aren't any groundhogs burrowing around in Macedonia. Maybe it's because nobody plays golf and few people have pristine lawns worth tearing up. I could be wrong, they might be around. Thus far we've seen an assortment of creatures here in the southern Balkans: pigs (many neighborhood yards), wild boars (dead, strapped to hoods of trucks), lynx (the 5-denar coin), stray cats and dogs (like, everywhere), and one lonely lizard (our bathroom).

Nope, no groundhogs yet.

But if there is a relative of Punxsutawney Phil among us (let's call him Skopje Steve or Radovish Ron), he most certainly did not see his shadow this year. Faster than you can sing the first verse of "I Got You Babe," winter pulled one heck of a disappearing act. Just last week we recorded our lowest temperature of the winter in town: -14 degrees celsius or 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

I guess that was winter taking a bow because since then, the weather has been beautiful and the forecast looks like more of the same. Today was the best thus far, in the mid-60s with plentiful sunshine. The town was in a downright jolly mood. Our otherwise taciturn neighbor invited me to coffee--though unfortunately I was on my way to school.

We've taken advantage of the nice weather to begin training for the Skopje Half Marathon in mid May. It looks as though there will be a rather large contingency of volunteers in the race, which I imagine has a solid international presence, given the embassies and assorted organizations in the city. Around our town, there aren't many runners (see also: zero) and so we get our fair share of odd looks. Despite the warm weather, my shorts really seem to throw people for a loop. Gee, they better hope it doesn't get much nicer. I'll be running shirtless.

That sound you hear is Jillian in the background saying, "No you will not."

P.S. Before signing off, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the two wonderful packages we received today, courtesy of the Kimes and the Walkers. And so with big smiles we'll be eating Kashi cereal for the next two weeks.


Kenji said...

Hi guys, my name is Kenji and I'm a PCV in Peshkopi, Albania (found your blog through peacecorpsjournals.com). Just curious if there is a PC Macedonia volunteer in Debar / Dibra? It's basically just over the border from me, so I thought if there was a volunteer there, maybe we could hang out or come up with projects together. My email is hajenso AT gmail DOT com.


Adam Zekmueller said...

I'm enjoying your blog. My wife and I served for two years in skopje in Mak 9. Believe it or not, I picked up the running habit living in Skopje. I liked to run along the river and learned to hold my breath when running under the old stone bridge. Okay, I'm going to read more from your blog now.