I have never been a big fan of winter. Yeah the holidays are nice, and falling snow is pretty, but it’s cold and dark and damp and it’s barely ever started and I already can’t wait for it to be over. Take this sunset for example – we’ve been having beautiful sunsets like this one almost every day, but I usually miss them because they’re at 3:30 in the afternoon while I’m still at work.3:30 IN THE AFTERNOON! Luckily in a few days we’ll start getting longer periods of sunshine instead of less, which will be an improvement.

Even though winter’s got me a little down, there are a lot of things I’m loving about life right now.

1. PUPPIES! Look at these little faces! And those little paws and tails and chubby bellies! I generally go for some puppy snuggles in the morning before work and again in the evening, and it makes the whole world better. Eventually they’ll go to new homes, but I love having them around for now.


2. Our Macedonian family (and our evening meal). Every day when I wake up and go downstairs, there’s breakfast on the table waiting for me. And when I come home from work, пучек is ready. Our host mom Violetta is an amazing person, works all the time, and she’s also an amazing cook. For our anniversary, she just whipped up this amaaaazing cake and got us a bottle of wine. When we were running to get to the bank before catching our bus to Skopje, our host dad Sasho lent us cash to cover our bus fare so we could have time to eat breakfast. Zoki, our host bro, is always inviting us to go out with him and his friends, and makes sure we aren’t complete homebodies all the time. They’re all so nice to us all the time, and I don’t know how we’ll ever pay them back for two years of substitute family-ness.


3. Two Christmases. I love Christmas, not as a religious holiday but as a time for singing, lights, indoors trees, Chinese food, movies, presents (and wrapping things), visiting, and general merriment. This year, I get to celebrate twice! American Christmas on the 25th, and Macedonian Christmas on January 7th! There’s lights up all over town, and we’re putting up decorations this weekend. I’m pretty excited! And we’ve got a care package from my parents on its way!!

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