The largest of events was the 2nd of July. This past Friday night 3,000 invitees descended upon the U.S. Embassy in Skopje. Everyone from the current and past President, the Prime Minister, various other ministers, religious leaders, political party leaders, NGO, non-profits, celebrities, students, Peace Corps, military, and yes...interns! Well, it has been my job and the job of my office to prepare the embassy, a secure compound, for 3,000 guest and hundreds of staff to service all of our guest. The key word in the last sentence is of course "secure." I can't get into specifics, but there is a lot of checking, re-checking and then some other things (not to be totally cryptic).
The event was a success though. Afterwards we exercised one of my favorite parts of European culture, a zest for social activity....well into the wee hours of the morning, or well let's be honest, dawn!
The next day, July 3rd, was the Embassy staff picnic. With another band and a Marine Color Guard, it really felt like a holiday picnic, like we where in English Landing Park! It was really great to see how into our Independence Day the Macedonians were. Most of them new and sang parts of the National Anthem, and just about everyone enjoyed some hotdogs and hamburgers. It is events like these that I see how well respected America really is. I know that many people don't agree with everything that we do, but most have a high regard for who we are.
As for the Forth it's self, well that was spent by the pool. Sunning myself and napping. In the evening we were invited to a live TV show to talk about America and to give a young person's typical holiday activities. Then we did as any good American should and ate McDonald's for dinner. I don't eat McD's in the states, but we all agreed that we had to do something uber American for the Forth. This activity was not mentioned during our interview of course!
Overall this holiday was a great success. Of course I missed being around loved ones and the smell of freshly burnt fireworks, but people here made it quite delightful! Now I have the excitement of part two of my internship. I'm looking forward to this half of the summer because now I can begin branching out into other sections of the embassy and really get a feel for the embassy as a whole. First stop on my list: Political!