On February of 8th, all members of Astana Toastmasters Club were invited by the ambassador of Macedonia to Kazakhstan, Mr. Ilija Psaltirov, for an informal meeting.
“Welcome to my home!” – that’s how the ambassador greeted us at his residency. Next to him was his assistant, a representative from Kazakhstan, and his wife, Slavitza. We were among the first comers and were pleased to chit-and-chat while other guests were on the way.
“We heard that Macedonians and Kazakhs share at least one similarity: hospitality. However, Kazakhs are also known for being late to dinners or any other events. Do Macedonians share this characteristics with us as well?” – I asked Mrs. Slavitza Psaltirov.
To that she replied: “No, we are very punctual, but I already get used to late dinners, because diplomats all over the world are always late to the dinner.” Little by little I got to know more about Macedonia and its culture.
Mr. and Mrs. Psaltirov have been living in Kazakhstan no more than two years. The embassy of Macedonia has opened in the end of 2014 and Mr. Ilija was its first ambassador. When he started the night, he was honest when said that he applied to three other locations and Kazakhstan wasn’t his first choice. He then added that when he needed to make that decision (to accept the invitation) he agreed without really knowing much about Kazakhstan because he knew for sure that he was eager to represent Macedonia no matter where he was. As for me, I am very glad he became the ambassador, because I haven’t met anybody who was so passionate about his country and strived to share his passion with everyone around him. Mr. Ilija is also very contemporary. When you meet any diplomat, you expect him to be all serious and conservative, but Mr. Ilija is the opposite: he likes to make jokes a lot, he is honest and generous.
After a brief introduction the ambassador continued by saying thanks to all volunteers who helped to facilitate events hosted by the embassy. Although our club has not yet got a chance to assist in those events, we also got a certificate of appreciation.
You might recall that we hosted a Country Day meeting at the end of January where Mr. Ilija made a presentation about Macedonia, its people and culture and similarities to our culture.
When the official part was over, Mr. Ilija came up with the idea to hold a karaoke competition. He started the competition by singing first with his own song “Ti si vulkan” – a beautiful song of his singer repertoire. The guests were grateful for the joyful event and spent the night singing and dancing to their favorite songs.
Indeed, it was a fun night that we will not forget. To feel the joy of the evening, you can find photos on Facebook (click here).