“It is always sunny in Macedonia”. That´s what I heard last year. I was living in Melilla, Africa, but suddenly I felt cold. I made the single most important decision in my life. I left my job, which I love as a journalist, in a newspaper, and I began to travel looking for the sun. I found it in the Balkans.

When I arrived in Macedonia, it was raining and dark and I saw a different Europe, which I never saw before. I had the impression I was living in Spain 30 years ago, with streets without sidewalks and mules as animals for carrying loads, also for carrying tobacco leaves. Prilep is, in fact, known as “The city of tobacco”. Many families can survive thanks to this business and many families live with less than 300 euros per month. Most of the Macedonians live all together, I mean, from grandfather to the children. By the way, grandfather in Macedonian language is “dedo”, word which in Spain means finger. Baba is grandmother. Macedonian language is totally different to Spanish, obviously, but it is interesting to know we have some sounds which are the same, like “ñ”, for example. Anyway, if you listen to someone to say a word really similar to Spanish, maybe it is, because Macedonian people were addicted to soap opera. “The end of the Spanish soap opera is happy, the end of the Turkish soap opera is sad, the end of Indian soap opera is that it has no end”. The end of my Macedonian adventure is coming. What can I tell you about it? A summary report is not easy, believe me.

 

 

 Before travel, all of the people asked me where is exactly Macedonia? The only think Spaniards know about this word is that the meaning is mix, and indeed, I lived a mix here. I learned that sometimes you can understand better without words, the verbal language is not the most important thing to communicate each other. That is something which I learned while I was listening people from US, Mexico, Brazil, France, Greece, Portugal, China and, mostly, people from the Balkans, not only from Macedonia, also from Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. A few days ago I was in Belgrade and I have no words to explain my feeling when I saw the rest of the war in building in ruins. I am sure some human lives are in ruins too since then, 1999. There are things that I will never understand about behavior of the humans. Animals, sometimes, are more humans than us. 

 

 

While I was in Kosovo, a terrorist group was bombing a public building in Kumanovo, 30 minutes from Skopje, capital of Macedonia. In Skopje, nowadays, citizens are protesting in the street looking for a better live, a decent life. In that very moment, I felt I wanted to be at home, I mean, in Macedonia. It is interesting how you can find your place anywhere, anytime, also in Montenegro. There, I remembered how I love the sea, and the sun, and the fish. Always I said that I want to be cremated and disperse my ashes in the sea. Now, I am not sure, because in Montenegro I discovered the most beautiful cemetery, in front of the sea. 

However, it is not time to talk about death, but of life. I still have a couple of days in the Balkans. I still have one weekend in this city. I still have time to love you, Prilep, but I will never have enough time in my life to say to you: “Thank you”, Macedonia. Hasta siempre, gracias!

 

ROSARIO LÓPEZ 

 

 

 



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