Monday June 20th, 2011

 Got up at 8:45 this morning for a quick breakfast- you don’t really need a lot of time or space when you eating half a load of bread and some ham. We all arrived on the worksite about 9:10, and started working within 15 minutes. The goal for today was to move all the ribs for the 2nd floor ceiling from the ground. A group of us were on the ground moving and lifting the 12-16 foot long ribs up and once I got it as high as I could, the next group on the 2nd floor would grab it and pass it up to the next group on the third floor to lay the ribs in place for the 2nd story ceiling. It was a tiring process but we were able to get it done within an hour or so. After that, the OSU Brick squad was on call and we moved a bunch of bricks- one of our best worksite skills. At one point I went over to help Taylor and Kristen with the Basketball hoop we are building for the kids. It is actually a sweet hoop that would awesome to have back home, a very grassroots look constructed with careful consideration. We took a brake for lunch at 1:00, and enjoyed the chicken breast sandwiches every one has come to like. Once the chicken breast feast was over, we went back to moving bricks and moving the rest of the ribs for the rest of the day. It was a long day, and doing the same 2 jobs through out the day made it a little tedious. We called it a day at 3ish and made it back to the hotel. After cleaning up and relaxing for a short minute, we had sandwiches before getting on the bus and heading to the Mayor of Staro Nagorichane Province Residence. A few Macedonian TV camera crews were there as well, we spent some time listening and conversing with him. He was very interested in what we though of his province and his country, and of course we told the truth- its different in some ways from back home, but a beautiful area with very nice people! Following our meeting in his residence, the major led us over to an old church about 2 blocks away from his place.

From the ground up to the second story it is all original from the 11th century, and then from the second story up is all original from the 14th century. This was another ancient piece from the past that we were able to experience. The inside walls were completely covered with fresco paintings. I got some pictures and will definitely post those! All the women in our group however were not able to go step inside because their legs were exposed and women need to be fully clothed in order to step into this highly sacred place. Some of us guys thought I was unfair they could not see this beautiful church from the inside, so we took off our shorts and handed them over. They were able to go inside and the other guys were just hanging because they had 2 pairs of shorts on… however… I was not wearing two pairs of shorts and found myself standing within the walls of this ancient and most holy church in my underwear! Krista was the one I so gladly sacrificed my clothing for and I would do it again in a heartbeat- the inside of this place was so cool.

         After regaining my clothes, we all walked with the Mayor and a few of his people back to his residence. On the way we walked past a little convenient store, where the Mayor bought everyone a bottle of Skopskop- the most popular bottle of beer in Macedonia. He took of his tie and we all sat down an enjoyed a cold one with the Mayor; pretty cool! While everyone was knockin em back, Roberto and I spotted one of the largest chickens we had ever seen. Naturally we decided it would be a good idea to try to catch it… hahaha wow it was much harder than we thought! We used a cornering technique but the evasive poultry escaped through some thick brush near the side of the street.  We had a few more chances but were unsuccessful, yet it was not in vain for this experience would prove helpful in the very near future. Upon arrival to the Mayor’s residence, we all noticed a few smaller, regular sized chickens in the yard…. This was round 2! We worked together chasing the frantic little birds all over the yard until one was caught by Jen after it was hiding in some arborvitae, and about 3 minutes later one was trying to outrun me.. it failed and I caught the chicken!! Haha it felt good knowing that with a little help, (shout out to Ryan McCants) a chicken can be caught.

         We then proceeded to the nearby school to play a soccer game against some locals. We though we were playing kids or teenagers, but no… we were playing full grown men, the youngest was probably about 30. We strapped on our game faces and got hyped for the game. We played a great game on the Macedonian blacktop but sadly lost 3-2. After a close game we decided we should get some good food to ease our pain of the loss, so we headed to The Harp, an Irish pub in the town of Kumanovo. Being a young man with Irish-ness running through my veins I was excited for a meal I knew would be nothing less then divine. I enjoyed a Caesar salad, garlic bread, fried cheese, and a chicken fillet steak from the grill with French fries.. Some people have commented via email to me that I am obsessed with food due to the nature of my posts sometimes- and I do! After dinner a few of us walked to the Casino a few blocks away, and some people enjoyed playing some traditional poker games, in addition to this we met an American from Massachusetts along the way who was friends with some locals; real cool girls who spoke English! Haha a great change from everyone else here.

         We got back to the hotel with full stomachs, new friends, and a little less ( more for some) money in our pockets. All in all another great day:)


NP Honeybee- Blake Shelton

Hootie hoo