Lise Terlaak: 15 Weird Things Macedonians Do

Lise Terlaak is Dutch. For well over two years, she has been living in Skopje, where she works as a support manager for a software company. Lise has been thinking and writing about Macedonia and about being an expat. In this case, Lise is looking at aspects which seem unconventional to her, in Macedonia: “I can honestly say that there are a few things that are slightly weird to me. Actually I am used to it now and some things don’t even surprise me anymore.”

Macedonians use Rakija for everything!

Drinking for sure, but is your nose stuck? Sniff Rakija. Mosquito bite? Put Rakija on it. Clean the windows of your car? Use Rakija. You have a small wound? Put Rakija on it.

Macedonians will always ask how much it was.

You have a new watch? Oh how much was it? New car? How much was it? It seems to be a very important question here.

It is all about food.

Main question of the day: what is for lunch and dinner? Also they love just talking about food.

For some reason it is perfectly normal to have carpets everywhere.

And they come in all shapes and sizes. Even in the kitchen you can find carpets.

Everyone has a nickname, that doesn’t even sound like their real name.

But then again, most Macedonians are not very creative with names. Most common names here are Aleksandar and Ana. So yes, there has to be a nickname in order not to call the wrong Aleksandar.

They always complain about not having money, …

… yet all the cafés are always full.

Promaja, is draft in your house …

… and according to older generations, this will definitely make you sick and is very bad for you so keep windows and doors shut!

They don’t understand you when you say: I am full.

Especially the baba’s in this country will stuff you with food and they wont take no for an answer.

They change completely when they get into the car.

Macedonians are in general very lovely people, but they drive like they are suicidal. And I’m not even exaggerating.

Sidewalks are used for parking instead of walking.

And never drive on the right lane, since that is meant for busses and cars that just pull over there. Or start to drive backwards on a boulevard, yes also this is possible in Macedonia.

Do not serve cake at the beginning of a birthday celebration.

Here, cake is served at the end of a birthday party and after the guests ate the cake, they go home. In the Netherlands, it’s actually the other way around.

When Macedonians invite you to their homes …

… always bring snacks, either sweet or salty, even when you just go to your friends home. It is like some unwritten rule of a thank you for their hospitality.

Burek with yoghurt is considered to be …

… a good breakfast according to the Macedonians.

Don’t be surprised when the older generations understand Spanish.

Back in the day, they were watching Spanish TV shows and learned the language. Nowadays it seems everyone is watching Turkish TV shows, which are seriously very badly synchronised.

Almost 40% of the population in Macedonia wastes their last money on betting on sports.

And you can find around 800 betting houses… Which is crazy since only 2 million people live here!

This article previously appeared as a blog. We thank Lise Terlaak.



About the Author

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage. Please click to support our advertisers!

Leave a Comment