There’s a telescope on my balcony.

And I’m sitting out here drinking an exquisite half-glass of red wine that was made by the very family that owns the pensione I’m staying in.

And there is woodsmoke rising gently from all of the chimneys around.

And there are so many stars.

I’m in Vevčani; it’s a tiny town in the mountains in Macedonia, and it’s so perfect here, and so quiet that I can hear all of the thoughts in my head again.

This place used to be it’s own country; much like the water protectors in the continent that I myself am from, the people here once rebelled against their Yugoslavian overlords, briefly declaring themselves their own country to protect their natural springs, replete with passports and currency.

And it’s so cool to me to sit here and think, after everything that happened back home last year, that such a small group of people held so fiercely to such a fucking crazy idea.

While Vevčani isn’t its own country anymore, it still is its own municipality, the smallest one in Macedonia if I’m remembering correctly. When the nation finally declared its independence, the work of the regions’ water protectors was not forgotten, and the legacy of their revolt lives on in the existence of its own, tiny administrative district. 

And I’ve thought so much in the last year about where I belong, and about where home is, and even about whether or not I’ll ever really have a home ever again. But I do know that I think I will, because I’ve come here specifically to add to a collection of currency I have, wherein I have a single bill from every country I’ve been to since the beginning of 2018.

Except Japan. I’m missing that one, but that’s another story.

But just as I was telling Никола a little over a week ago, these bills that I collect, in my minds eye, belong framed neatly on a wall. And I’m telling you this because if this is my own fantasy then there’s somewhere inside of that fantasy wherein I believe that I will secure that wall for myself at some point, and I will feel stable enough to invest the time and money into decorating that wall in a manner that belies that I intend to stay for a while.

And yeah, I have no clue where that’s going to be let alone when, and I’m not even sure that it’s a goal. But I know that I’m headed to Albania tomorrow for the first time, and I know that they use the LEK there, and i know that at some point during my stay I will take a 200L bill from my bag where I keep the rest of my cash and stow it away in the clear envelope I use for my collection, and in my minds eye I will see again what that wall might look like when I’m “done.”

And much like the the Ličnič, which is the now only ceremonial currency in Vevčani, that wall, wherever it ends up being, will be my reminder of a life I fought so goddamned hard to get; one that hopefully I will be able to say that I kept until I didn’t need it anymore.


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