Friday, October 24, 2008

Fall Fun

I know I've said it before, but in case you forgot, fall is my favorite time of year. Here in Skopje, the leaves are changing color and crackling under foot, the air is cool and crisp, and the fragrant smell of roasted peppers permeates the air. Tis' the season to make ajvar, a staple of the Macedonian diet, and probably one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten! It is a dip of sorts, made of roasted red peppers, tomato, and spices. I like to dip chunks of crusty bread into it. It is so aromatic and tasty! Thursday evening Gordana and Mladen dropped by with two jars of homemade ajvar for me. I am so fortunate to have such thoughtful and generous landlords! The first jar is nearly gone already!!

Fall is also extremely busy here due to the upcoming Halloween holiday. Halloween has always been one of Chris' favorites. He loves carving the pumpkins. Here in Macedonian, orange pumpkins like those traditionally found in sprawling patches all over the U.S. are a rarity. Instead, we have what some call "ghost pumpkins", a sort of whitish colored pumpkin. I'm told that here orange pumpkins, which are apparently much sweeter, are fed to the pigs and not marketed due to their sweetness. I guess Macedonians don't appreciate a spicy, sweet pumpkin pie!

The girls' school is hosting a Fall Festival tomorrow, and they are having a pumpkin decorating contest, so Chris has been hard at work preparing the pumpkins. This year, we have a clown pumpkin (Ana's design), a kitty cat (Alina's), and Pete the Pirate pumpkin (Arianna's). Photos are above, with hair and eye patches removed for safety!

I have been busy baking cupcakes, 98 to be exact, and rounding up volunteers for the festival. Throw in a couple parent/teacher conferences, a luncheon at the Ambassador's, t-ball practices, two sick kids, and you can see it's been a busy week for me! Next week will probably be worse! We are having three Embassy related Halloween events- Trick or Treating, a kid's party, and an adult party. Plus there will be kid's parties at school. As usual, I have over-committed myself and will be up to my ears in baking cookies, quiche, and making tons of witch and bat-shaped jello jigglers! Thankfully, we are taking a small vacation the following week, so I should be able to

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