Chip Roland
Religious Studies Major
North Central College

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My first reaction to Macedonia was the experience of being perplexed. In our travels, I saw the transcendent "otherworld" within the monasteries of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. On the same day we would drive through Albanian towns crippled by worldly poverty.  It seems that Macedonia is as much a riddle as it is a country.  How can a unified notion (in this case, a notion of political state) be a unified notion with radically incompatible parts?  I suppose that it's an ideological habit of my American mind.  I've always considered the concept of statehood and nationhood, if not a singular unit, at least closely linked. Mine was an American mind trying to deal with a part of the world in which the linear progression of one to the other is not as simple.