At the end of July, I had the opportunity to visit and work in our office in Macedonia for a week. This journey had few purposes. The most important one was to meet the developers I’ve worked with for almost 2 years, the second one was to work together with the QA team in Skopje in order and come back with a list of results, and the last objective was to discover a country and a culture.
Arriving in Macedonia, the first surprise was of course, the weather! I left the Belgian rain and I arrived to find a beautiful blue sky and a shining sun.
After a nice lunch with Slavica (The Local HR Manager) and Zoran (The QA Engineer in Skopje), I finally arrived at the office. It’s a such lovely place, settled in a big house, close to the city center . I was so excited to meet all my colleagues! As a guest of course I brought something to represent the place I come from, and what other way to represent Belgium other than sweet Belgian chocolate? (of course!) It was at this point that I found out that Macedonians love sweets and food in general, (conclusion that later turned out to be really true 🙂 )because they were all really happy and grateful for the gift.
My first day at work in Macedonia was dedicated to communication. It was a completely different experience to discuss about our work and Vox Teneo’s projects with the people in person, instead of from behind a computer screen.
With all the contemporary communication tools remote teams work is totally possible, but face to face communication has it’s undeniable advantages.
I had only a week in Macedonia, so I wanted to make most of it. I wanted to learn as much as possible about the culture, the food, and the folklore. And believe me, one week is not enough to learn a lot about Macedonia. So my colleagues gave me a crash course of the Macedonian lifestyle.
First off I have to say that Macedonians are very warm and welcoming people. From arrival to departure, they made sure I feel comfortable there and wanted to give me the best experience possible. I noted that I quickly took my habit in our office, and I know why; my colleagues are so benevolent and friendly. I have not met all Macedonian people but I’m pretty sure that we are lucky to work with them. From going to “Kafana”, to just hanging out after work in the office yard, I had a really nice stay.
Now let’s go to the food. Well, Macedonian people obviously love cheese, bread and of course Rakjia! As i said before, they love their food and they eat a LOT! I had the opportunity to taste a lot of traditional dishes likes Tavce Gravce, Kebapi, Nafora and a lot more. All their meals are huge, diverse and most importantly, delicious! It’s very different from Belgian food.
Of course, I’m from Belgium so we have to talk about the beer! Well, they have some good beers like Skopsko and Zlaten Dab, and although I really liked them, nothing compares to a good Belgian beer. However, they definitely beat us with Rakija (a traditional alcoholic drink). Personally, I’m not a big fan, but I had to taste it (homemade, please!).
During the weekend, Zoran, Vlatko and Tina (members of the QA and .NET Team) took me to Matka. It’s a canyon and one of the best tourist spots in the country. It’s around 1 hour from Skopje and it’s just beautiful. There is a river and a big dam with a lake where a lot of people come to walk, canoe, climb rocks or just relax and have a nice meal.
It’s such a peaceful place, because of it’s remoteness and the surrounding nature. I would highly recommend visiting it!
We also took a cable cart and spent some time to admire the view from the top of the Vodno Mountain near Skopje.
I would like to say a special thanks to Zoko who took me everywhere and taught me a lot about Macedonian culture (Koze koze koze).
I hope I will have the opportunity to go back to Macedonia, I really enjoyed my journey there. Especially meeting the lovely people. Finally, I suggest everyone to go and visit Macedonia.You won’t reagret it!