One thing that took us by surprise about Macedonia was the weather. We had anticipated 4 seasons, similar to the Northeastern US. We were blindsided by the intense heat of the summer months! I was disappointed to hear that this was not an unusually warm summer, and that every August is unbearably hot(90-105 regularly). I found it amusing in the past couple of weeks when local people would refer to the imminent end of summer. Basically, after Macedonian Independence Day (September 6th, if I remember correctly) the end could come at any time! I was warned to take advantage of the swimming pool while I still could, because soon it would be too cold to do so. I figured they were exaggerating the situation, since usually the temps slowly decline as fall approaches, and then summer ends. You know, you start wearing longer sleeves, then move on to sweaters, pants, etc. NOT HERE! Last Friday, it was 94 degrees and scorching. Saturday the rain came, and the temp dropped into the 70's (with low's in the 50's)! It has not been above 70 since(honestly I don't think it has reached 65 for a couple days)!!! The kids are wearing pants and sweaters. Alina even put on her winter coat to play in the yard yesterday! Mladen came on Wednesday to test and prepare the heating system for us. The air conditioner is no longer necessary. How bizarre!
Unfortunately, for many Macedonians residing in Skopje, their homes are heated by "city heat", and it won't be turned on until October 15th. I attended a function at the school this morning, and it was actually quite chilly there! I had read of these types of systems on various post reports. The city provides heat to all the buildings in town, through hot water radiators I think, and it can be difficult to get accustomed to. Basically, you have very little control of the temperature of your own home! Fortunately, most reports/opinions I have come across complain of too much warmth as opposed to too little, but I am sure there are those who would disagree! We are lucky to have our own oil-fired hot water radiator system, and we can control our own thermostat, so to speak. Now I can kind of understand why people are so aware of the imminent "end of summer" due to the affect it has on them and their ability to maintain their climate!
Now, I really have to find a charitable organization to donate all those old bedding sets and winter coats to, since I think they could really use them already! Ciaou summer!