My time in Skopje so far has been characterized by a unifying theme: adaptability.
Within my internship, I’ve had to adjust to a different work environment than I’m used to. Being in an NGO office, versus a hospital or research lab, comes with a change of pace and authority. Here, I’m more responsible for my productivity and motivation because there’s a lot less structure and no exact timeline or formula for getting work done. The change has been refreshing, and I’ve learned to adapt to the new style of work.
Outside of my internship, I’ve learned to adapt to the Macedonian way of life whether it be through navigating grocery stores with a language barrier, or learning how to use the city bus system. But, the most explicit way I’ve had to embrace adaptability was in my travel plans last weekend!
The plan was take buses in circle: Skopje –> Tirana, Albania –> Podgorica, Montenegro –> Skopje. However, after missing our bus in Skopje, scrambling to the bus company’s desk, and learning there were no more buses to Albania that evening, we were given a choice. The employee told us that there was a midnight bus headed to Budva, Montenegro, and there were 2 more seats left. We immediately snatched the tickets, scrapped our entire weekend itinerary, and enjoyed 12 hours on the beach in Budva.
Truthfully, I’m grateful for the fluke because there’s no way I can complain about the laying next to the Adriatic Sea and walking through Citadela Fortress.
After arriving in Podgorica (after another bus mishap – Balkan buses are crazy), we roamed the city for over an hour because I was following an incorrect address to our hostel…and that’s just one more of the many hiccups that happened! However, the other intern and I (shout out to you, Alex) enjoyed the spontaneity and made an amazing weekend of our completely warped plans. Not in spite of, but rather because of the ways we had to adapt and improvise, I’ll never forget my 48 hours in Montenegro.