Including our latest visit, we’ve now toured Macedonia three times and have lived in the country for about nine months. Having the opportunity to travel through the region and live with the locals has allowed us to fully immerse ourselves in the culture. As a result, we’ve learned, participated, and became creatures of habit in regards to many of Macedonia’s cultural customs.
Whether it’s drinking rakija in the morning, taking a walk during sunset, or eating burek all hours of the day and night, Macedonians seem to be all about enjoying life. There’s a vast number of traditions and habits that are unique to Macedonia. Many of them warm our hearts, baffle us a bit, and many times make us laugh.
Here are 10 amusing habits we picked up while traveling through Macedonia.
1. Add Bread, Cheese, and Ajvar to Every Meal
Move over ketchup and mustard, since visiting Macedonia, we’ve made bread, cheese, and ajvar our go-to accompaniments. We’re going to have to start making our own ajvar pretty soon.
2. Think It’s Always the Perfect Time For Rakija
Every morning we say we’re done drinking, a few hours later, “I could go for a rakija.” If it feels so good, how can it be wrong?
3. Become More Afraid of Drafts (Promaja) Than of COVID
Whatever you do, don’t tell Fauci about Promaja. He’ll have everyone covered in crocheted blankets and we won’t be able to leave our homes without a coat or with wet hair—of course, you’ll need to close your windows too.
4. Drink Macedonian Coffee All Day Long
When we’re not drinking rakija we’re probably drinking Macedonian coffee, if doesn’t spill all over the place!
5. Condemn Drivers With Albanian Plates As Incompetent (Even If They Haven’t Done Anything Yet)
The only thing that slows down an Albanian license plate is a speed bump or a pothole. In fact, Albania’s the only country we’ve been to that you can pass (overtake) the police without being nervous about getting a ticket.
6. Believe We’re Experts in Regard to the History of the Balkans
At this point, we’re not sure anyone knows what exactly happened.
7. Only Refer to Macedonia As Macedonia, Never North
North Macedonia: it doesn’t even sound correct. Never say the “N” word.
8. Sitting at a Cafe Bar For an Hour or Two and Only Ordering One Drink
We’re getting better at this. The first time we sat down with friends in the Balkans for a coffee, we of course drank it within about three minutes, and then said, “We’re not used to these small cups. Do they do free refills?” It takes time to learn the art of a slow coffee.
9. Run the Vacuum All Hours of the Day and Night
Audrey’s obsessive-compulsive cleaning disorder fits in perfectly in Macedonia.
10. Talk Shit About Albania and Greece But Go There on Vacation
Well, some parts are kind of nice.
Did we miss any important Macedonian customs or habits? Let us know in the comments.