You know what I'm talking about. That smell your new car has when you first get it. All it does is bring out your inner 16 year old enthusiasm to start driving it. Fortunately, when you first get to it no one catches you checking yourself out in the gleaming paint. As you slowly stroke your fingers over the paint to the door handle, you gently pull the heavy door open and that smell wafts over your nose and brings a soft smile to your face.
You slowly slide into your seat before your enthusiasm overtakes you because you finally have what you've been working so hard to own. Adjusting your seat you think, "Wait a second in my old car that button didn't move the steering wheel." You continue to fiddle with the new dials, the radio settings and side mirrors before pulling out the driveway confident you're ready for the road. However, everything is off kilter. The car doesn't handle like your old one, it's quieter, the road feels different and it's much faster than you're used to.
This is how I feel about living here in Macedonia and learning the language. Except the steering wheel is positioned where the passenger seat would be. I've never experienced Cyrillic so this immersion has been intense. This is why I was fooled into thinking Macedonia looks like Europe. It might use the same structure aesthetically as Europe, like the car, but once inside everything isn't where it should be. Also the instructions aren't clear, they're handwritten and faded.
I'm still sitting in my new car, enjoying the smell and figuring out how everything works. I'm especially curious why the radio only plays 80's remixes. It's a process but I loving the challenge and I'm happy being here learning to read these strange instructions.
Here are some of the classic cars I've seen around town: