Tips & Tricks

2 years of living abroad

2 years ago the car, loaded with my stuff, crossed the border of Macedonia. 2 years ago I started living together with my boyfriend in Skopje. 2 years ago a new chapter of my life began, my life abroad in Macedonia.

Was it what I expected? Did everything go according to plan? Am I fluent in Macedonian? The answer is: not at all. I had expectations, but those expectations were nothing compared to what I have learned till now and how my life has developed. The language on the other hand, it is improving, but when I am able to speak fluent and have full conversations with Macedonians, I think that will take another 2 years.

The main thing that has changed are my feelings, compared how I felt after 1 year of living abroad. The first year I experienced all kind of emotions, from joy and happiness to home sick and loneliness. I experienced one culture shock after the other. Things that amazed me, surprised me and even shocked me. It all came together. I can honestly say I love my life now.

I have learned a lot about Macedonia, how beautiful it is with all its nature and the wonderful people who I have met. But also the darker side, how it is to live in a country where you can literally see the corruption in all kind of shapes and sizes. It is so interesting and yet terrifying to experience. How the entire nation goes on protests and contra-protests. Contra-protests are protests which consist of people who are called upon to protest against the protesters who are against the government, do you follow?

But why though?

So Macedonia is in a political crisis, as most of the Balkan countries are at this moment. Till now it goes peacefully (most of the times) and no one got seriously injured. I’m not even going to start about the economic crisis, because that’s going on since ’91. And now you are probably wondering: ‘Why the F. are you still living there?’

Ha, well that’s simple. Whole Europe is unstable at this moment. Every country has its own problems and shit to clean up. That I live in a country that is a bit more messed up than the west, I don’t care. It is interesting to experience all of this and learn from it.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m able to move back, but honestly, I can’t (not now). Macedonians are living outside and not inside as most Dutch people do. When I think of the weather in the Netherlands, I’m so happy I live here and have at least 6 months of sunny weather. And everyone here is way more relaxed and doesn’t rush all the time.

It has been 2 years. 2 years full of surprises, experiences, new friends, self-reflections and happiness. I can’t wait to see what the next years will bring. Being fluent in Macedonian would be nice or a house with a huge yard on top of mountain with a stunning view… yeah I do like the dream about my future life here 😉

10 thoughts on “2 years of living abroad

  1. Well done Lise and congratulations! What a great analyses comparing year one and year two of your move.
    By the way there are a lot of protests and counter protests in Austria and Germany these days, so Macedonia is not unique in that sense. As for corruption, I am sure you have heard of the Panama papers, but that is a totally different subject.
    I love your posts!

    Enjoy Macedonia and best regards,
    Maja

    1. Hi Maja,
      Thanks for your comment. I know there are a lot of protests in whole Europe at this moment, that’s why I mentioned every country has its own shit to clean up 😉
      Macedonia is not unique in that case, also not in the corruption.
      Hope you keep enjoying my blog!

      Have a nice day,
      Lise

  2. Nice post Lise! We enjoyed our brief time in Macedonia – it was different from anywhere we’ve been and the food was great and people friendly. We’ll go back one day. But I find it very interesting how you have ended up there and the story of trying to integrate in a place with different customs and language. You touched on politics – never gets boring in the Balkans does it?
    We’re actually thinking of getting an apartment in Croatia next year. We love being in the Balkans and would like to spend more time exploring the region.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Thank you!! Politics in the Balkans is something different, but never gets boring haha!
      Croatia is beautiful, I hope you find what you are looking for!

  3. I found your blog while looking for a apartment for sale in Skopje and end up reading few of your articles. Thank you for sharing.

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