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Published on Jan 1, 2010
Skopje, Macedonia, on Christmas Day (December 25, 2009).
In Skopje, most Christians celebrate "old" Christmas, which is January 7.
However, our friend Lilijana Ordev celebrates "new" Christmas, so we (Lilijana, Jerry Siegel, and Jennifer Semple Siegel) decided to walk downtown and look at the Christmas decorations and lights, which are awesome. This video captures a bit of the festive spirit, but it's nothing like being there. It's a mixture of Christmas spirit and carnival (Santa and clowns!). A temporary ice-skating rink has been set up, along with booths selling icons, wine, beer, coffee, popcorn, Macedonian doughnuts, chestnuts, jewelry, and collectibles and antiques. Even during non-holidays, downtown is always bustling and considered the place to be.
Skopje is turning into a real happening place, and I love being here. At heart, I'm a big city girl (but not too big), so Skopje and I are a good fit. It's a big, small town (it's not uncommon to run into someone you know downtown or at Ramstore Mall)--and a best kept secret. I live about one mile from the center, so Jerry and I often walk downtown just to get coffee or eat at one of the myriad cafes and restaurants.
In this video, you will see our friend Lilijana buying grilled chestnuts from a street vendor; I have never tasted such delicious treats: slightly sweet and charred grilled, a mix of soft and crunchy. From late September to about late February, these vendors are all over Center City, cooking up their delicacies. The sweet aroma fills the air and is always so tempting. Fifty denars (about $1.25) buys a small bag, enough for two people to share.
I'm currently living here (until July 15, 2010), where I'm teaching at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje as a Fulbright Scholar.
This video is made up of a lot of short clips; I'm not very good a editing videos, so I used the mixing feature offered by my Flip Video camera. The music (unfortunately not Christmas music) was provided by this automatic feature, so I believe it's okay.
My Flip camera would not steer me wrong, now would it?