Fortunately, the driver in the bus No. 22 that Sarah and Stephanie took from the central bus station only told them to get off the bus 1 bus stop earlier (as opposed to my greatest fear of them getting all the way to the end of the line and in a neighborhood I can't even point on a city map). So they call me slightly panicked explaining their surroundings and luckily they were only about half a km away from our house.
I should at this point explain the first sentence of this post. You see, Sarah is French Syrian, born in France (Vannes) but half her family is still in Syria and she visits frequently (speaks the language and all). Stephanie (or Steph) on the other hand, is Dutch Brazilian (mom is Brazilian), was born in Switzerland and grew up all over the world. Between them they speak a gazillion languages, one of which is Turkish, and that's because these two actually met in Istanbul where they were both doing their college exchange program (both in Politics/International Relations).
Our typical CS guest comes marching into our house with a humongous backpack that looks as if half of the person's worldly possessions are lurking inside. Not Sarah and Steph though - they come in with their trolley suitcases - which is the first sign they are not our typical guests. And they're not. I think it actually takes the least amount of time (from all of our guest experiences so far) from the second we are in the door until our first round of beers is downed. Sarah and Steph are both incredibly animated and have an amazing sense of humor; I wish I could share with you some of their stories but to also be able to use their words and expressions, especially this one story about Steph lugging a 60kg suitcase into an airplane. (If you're wondering how she did it, let me remind you - she's half Brazilian:))
This CS experience was one of the shortest ones we've had so far (just 24hrs) but also probably one of the most intense ones. Most of the guests we have want to do at least some of the touristic stuff in and around Skopje and they often do it alone, but S&S are so amazingly flexible that in their 24 hrs in the city they didn't see any of the typical stuff, much to our delight. Why? I mean, we love Skopje obviously, but at 40C and if you've traveled the world over, I am not sure if sight-hopping is the right strategy to feel what Skopje is about. Instead Sarah and Steph did something incredible - they spent all of their 24hrs in the city with us. We did not get to the downtown at all. Instead, we watched World Cup games together, drank a double digit number of liters of beer and laughed like we hadn't in a while. Both girls are avid football fans, and with their mixed origins they can cheer for a number of countries. Come to think of it, at the moment I type this, the only 2 teams that have firmly secured their qualification into the next World Cup round - the best 16 - are the two countries that Steph holds a passport from! I wonder how that feels...