Macedonia- Part 2

Zadravo, 'hello' in Macedonian. I'm pretty sure I don't say it right, but whatever. I am really enjoying my time in Macedonia. It is something of an honor to the macedonians for us to be here. They are very proud of their country and want to show it off. The people are friendly, all the girls even wave back at us (not me, don't worry Emily).

We were talking with the front desk clerk who we chat with and he talked to us a little about the politics and the types of people. There have been some political problems with Albania, and to describe it, he used this as an example: "You know, in Lion King? Macedonia people are like Mufasa, Albanians are like Scar, they are friends with the hyenas and always want to take, but Mufasa (Macedonians) are good" I thought it was hilarious that he used a Disney movie as his analogy, but it is all good.

The Olympic Champ from 1984 is actually the only Olympic Champion ever from Macedonia, so he is something of a celebrity here. He took us all out to a very nice kabob dinner the other night at a place where even the president goes. Afterwards, one of the wrestling coaches took us to his teahouse for chai and then another coach took us back to the school to meet with the FILA representative of Macedonia. The school is pretty cool, it was 10 o'clock at night and kids were still playing soccer under the lights on the cement court. We have been there at all hours now and there have always been at least 30 kids playing. It is definitely different to see that here.

We have been warming up with some games before we train. It has been fun and Team Canada is technically 2-1, but really 3-0. We started back in Rome with a win in soccer over Italy (World Cup champs!) and then another win vs. Macedonia in basketball (although they don't dribble and you can foul and tackle people = weird). Then a few days ago we 'technically' lost to the school (under age 12 team) in a game of soccer. We were beating them about 12-8, then said next best of 3 goals wins to end the game. We thought we would win easily but I think those kids were sandbagging (plus they subbed in fresh kids) and they smoked us at the end. My pride is still hurting. Some of those kids were playing in flip flops and jeans but they were incredible. I guess that is what happens when you play around the clock.

I weigh in tonight, have been taking it easy after wrestling fairly hard earlier in the week. My weight is good, looking forward to the tournament tomorrow. Hope all is well back home!

Best,

Matt

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