Before I begin, Justin has some interesting thoughts after taking a "break" from Macedonia for awhile.
I woke up this morning, like most mornings since my return from Ohrid, around 8 AM, to the racket of the construction directly behind my house. Yet another concrete, modern-looking apartment complex is being constructed where an early Yugoslav-style apartment building once stood. I've started to train myself to sleep through all that, and this morning there was little light and a cool breeze coming through my open window, and I was able to drop easily back into a deep sleep.
When I woke back up, the sky was still cloudy and a cool, moist breeze was still blowing. I felt disoriented for a moment, but then realized - this is what the fall feels like. The moisture of the air, the gray skies, the smell of roasting peppers - this is what it felt like when I first arrived. It's not actually autumn here just yet, of course. The entire year has been random and strange in terms of weather, and this is an odd cold-front that will surely be followed by more warm days.
But that cold breeze punched me right in the face. I'm leaving on October 22.
I had always planned to stay an entire year, to catch all the festivals and weather and holidays through the whole year, to stop in at my institute for the opening of the new semester. What I didn't expect was this overwhelming strangeness, this feeling of deja vu. "Here I am, back again where I started. . . "
It's more than just the smell of roasting peppers, though. Just as when I first arrived, I'm full of a nervous sort of energy. Then, I had a whole year of Macedonia before me, and no idea what would happen. Now, I'm excited for my homecoming, but still anxious - I have no idea what the future is going to hold for me now. Then, I would walk around the city, observant, trying to take everything in. . . and now, I'll savour it all before I go.