Mackenzie Easlick ‘17 – Looking through a haze of brown ringlets, Viktorija Janevski ‘18 seems shy at first glance. Words uttered softly betray a slight accent, the sound of someone who grew up speaking English but knows how to communicate in a language much different. Roaming through school halls and laughing with her friends, Janevski has a unique view on the differences between her family’s Macedonian culture and her friends’ cultures.
“We’re different because we’re very family oriented,” Janevski said. “My parents expect me to hang out with cousins and I’m supposed to be so close-knit with family, my Grandma doesn’t even like it when I hang out with American friends.”
Macedonia, a small European country near Greece, housed the older Janevski generations. Her parents came to Michigan from Macedonia, bringing along their parents and a culture different than what the average Michigander experiences.
“I have to explain things my family does to my American friends.” Janevski said. “We’re very superstitious, so sometimes people get weirded out by them. Like, for example, my aunt reads fortunes from coffee cups.”
Janevski has different traditions she follows, as well. Her family is Orthodox, and they place great emphasis on Easter, making sure to go to midnight mass. Her grandmother, who speaks broken English, helps honor a saint their village in Macedonia honors with them. In Orthodox, they also devote themselves quite a bit to saints, each village celebrating one particular saint on a religious holiday.
“There’s one saying my parents are always telling me, it goes ‘uchi uchi tikva buchi’ and it is basically saying study until your head hurts,” Janevski said. “My family is big on education.”
The cultural differences Janevski experiences on a day-to-day basis give her a unique outlook on the average American family, and how each family even in a small town like Romeo is one-of-a-kind.