Hope Flies

A moment in time.

 I am back in a land I love.      

Sometimes we walk to our dreams, sometimes we run. I flew! No matter how we travel to find them – inside ourselves or in the world,  I do believe the road we choose rises to meet us.      

I am in Macedonia, land of Phillip of Macedonia the II, the father of Alexander the Great.  The land that experienced 500 years of Ottoman-Turk domination that ended oh, so recently in the early 1900’s; a land where leisure is not a dirty world, were men and women hug openly and often, where slow food is what everyone eats, slowly. Where a mountain is seen at every turn, where wine flows as easily as opinions, where strolling is an art form, hiking is the order of the day, and where living rooms are small and an appreciation of being outdoors is huge.      

The wonderful and very proud people of this beautiful little country opened their arms to me when I served here as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer from 2006-2009. They then stretched their arms across a continent and an ocean to embrace my desire to return for work and play by opening their hearts and their homes to me as easily as we Americans open our car doors.      

I am back!      

Fort Myers, Florida to Atlanta, to Rome to Thessaloniki the second largest city in Greece with a very small and easily manageable airport.  The city is only two and a half hours from Bitola, the second largest city in Macedonia.  These very different towns each played important cultural and political roles in ancient world history. The Via Egnatia, the Roman road of commerce, passed through both towns accelerating their growth and their value to the region.      

Now, political quarrels over national names keep them separated by more than miles, but doesn’t stop the adventurous traveler from enjoying both.  Their borders are open and easily passed.      

We crossed those borders into Macedonia on Friday, September 9.  I am living here for two months, five other American wanderlusts are joining me for three to four weeks.      

We are exploring Macedonia and ourselves.  You see, I believe that all successful  journeys – big or small, lead us not only to new places, but to new observations and awareness of living, life and ourselves.      

Within hours of my arrival, an American-Macedonian friend reminded me to slow-down.  So, I did.       

I breathe slowly and deeply. Taking it all in, one drop at a time.  Ecstatic at the life changes that have brought me to this moment and to being able to share it with my Macedonian friends, my fellow travelers, family and friends back home and you the reader. At this moment my connection is closest to you the reader, the curious, interested person taking time from your day to explore the world of another.  Thank you for being here.   

Here are a few of the sights, food and people we are enjoying.      

Vessels for vino.

 Wine is everywhere.        

To market, to market

 The markets are brimming with peppers and people.      

Table-long salata

    A closer look at their beautiful bounty.      

Stuffed peppers from heaven.

Light bean salad - fresh picked!

Macedonian-style moussaka, amazingly simple and delicious.

Grape leave "sarmi" rice and meat rolled delights!

"Chorba" - light, delicate fish soup from Struga

 Visiting the villages.     

Tradition, Tradition

Beautiful Vevchani Baba

Vevchani view

A lacy view.

Church by springs in Vevchani

St. Nikola, Vevchani

Lacy screen door with luck and blessing in the village of Dihovo

 
Until we meet again . . . Sreken pat.  Happy travels.   
 
 
 

Patrice Koerper is a certified life coach and motivational speaker. She has created the life she really wants by combining coaching and speaking with travel and projects in Macedonia. From 2006-2009, Patrice lived in Macedonia as one of only 425 volunteers over the age of 50 serving worldwide in the United States Peace Corps.

In 2010 she returned to Macedonia with American guests for a special cultural tourism program she developed, “Experience Macedonian: Enjoy Europe as it used to be”. The “Experience Macedonian” posts reflect their travels.

Patrice is returning to Macedonia in 2011 for six weeks – September through October. She is offering her unique 2 to 4 weeks cultural tours to a small group of friendly, flexible, adventurous travelers. In 2012 Patrice is planning life coaching retreats in Macedonia and Greece. For more information on these exciting travel and life-changing opportunities, please email her at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com

Catching-up.

I’m baaa-ack! 

I know, I know, I have missed a number of posts. I really am sorry.  (Thanks to those who complained – nice to know you care.)   :-)    

My excuse?  Traveling, working and preparing for travel. Not much of an excuse, but true and oh, so wonderful.    

You see, I am leaving tomorrow on a dream trip – two months in Macedonia.     

Remember that whole “creating the life you want” thing?  Well, this trip is a result of Wishful Thinking working  I am returning to the people and places I love in the country where I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer for three years.   

LOOKING BACK    

I returned to the States from my Peace Corps assignment on July 26, 2009.  I arrived happy – I had just lived three of my best years; excited – I was going to see family and friends, who I loved and had missed so much; and frightened – I was starting over, I had given up my job and left behind my house when I decided to join the Peace Corps, and was wondering then “What’s next?”    

To make sure that I kept going no matter how scared I got, I followed “My Courage Diet”  (lots); focused on my goals (always, see below); talked to my friends (lots, thank you and see below); and constantly reminded myself to enjoy what unfolded along the way (lots and always).     

Guess what, it worked!    

My three “re-entry” goals were:    

  1. Personal: Spend lots and lots of time with family and friends.   Done and continuing:  Three 2-6 week trips “up north” and many overnight stays in multiple Florida cities made possible by my sweet, funny, interesting, and warm family and friends, who opened their homes and hearts, which allowed me to reconnect with the people I love.  I was there for the birth of my second grandson, one year ago today; to talk with my 90 year old Dad, who is still going strong (I will be posting soon  about how he is creating the life he wants while dragging around oxygen tanks!); to reunite with some of my best Peace Corps buddies in Philly where we first met as Peace Corps prepared us to head overseas; to hang out with my siblings, one-on-one and en masse – there are 8; to laugh and cry with friends about this, that and some other things; and to spend so much time with my sons and their families that they don’t mind one little bit that I am heading out again
  2. Professional: Get my life coach certification and begin helping others create the life they want.  Done and ongoing!  Became certified in the fall of 2009; began blogging immediately, conducting workshops in Florida and Ohio soon after and coaching clients this summer.  Each step has been absolutely fantastic! Thanks to all who helped make it happen – including you the reader.
  3. Personal and Professional: Return to Macedonia in a year to see friends and to bring Americans back with me for month-long stays. Done and ongoing! In 24 hours, I will be heading to Macedonia. While I am there, five adventurous Americans (my goal was four) will be joining me for three to four weeks. I will be sharing my favorite places in Macedonia with them and introducing them to my favorite people. How cool is that!  This is the inaugural trip of a new venture, which next year will be expanded to include Wishful Thinking Works life coaching retreats – but more about that in a future post.

This past year, well 13.5 months to be exact, has been phenomenal and exceeded all of my expectations.     

Thank you to each person, who helped make this year one of my best, including, but not limited to: Nate, Tim and Luann, Jonas and Dylan, Jeanne Marie, Judy and Larry, Kathy and Jan, Geri and Dave, Debbie and Tony, Jimmy and Sherrie, Bunny and Greg, Dad, Nellie (Special thanks!), Marci and Jeff, Dao, Malinda and Mark, Elizabeth, Charlene, Michel, Darlene, Pat,  Jan, Sandy, Mattie, Sue P., Sharyn, Barb, Susan, Anne R., Eric and Paula, Glenda, Anne, Sally, Gretchen and Greg, Dawn, Crystal, Cindy, Sarah, Jesus, Mary, Sue R., Sue E., David, Angela, Virginia, Jim, Joe, the Rotary guys, and my workshop and coaching clients. I truly appreciate everything you did.  You are wonderful, and have made my life a rich, fun and fulfilling place to be! Thank you.    

LOOKING FORWARD     

 

Macedonia

I will be posting from Macedonia twice a week.  I am planning on Mondays and Fridays, but since Internet access will vary depending on where I am staying, posting days may differ – but I promise to post twice a week from the road.  I may phone post sometimes – for those of you who have not heard an audio post you can listen to my first here.    

What to expect?    

  • Interviews with my fellow travelers and interesting folks from Macedonia.
  • Funny stories – there are bound to be a few. 
  • Touching tales – those moments when the world grows smaller and you can feel your heart expanding.
  • Life lessons learned along the way. 
  • And, photos, finally, photos!  (The whole photo thing scares me, but I am stepping-up – wish me luck!)

Please join us for the journey.     

If you have questions about Macedonia or our journey this year or next, feel free to comment here or email me at wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com.  And, please share the blog with your friends so they can travel along with us: www.wishfulthinkingworks.com     

To get you in the mood, here are great links about Macedonia.    

CNN Video/Macedonia           CNN Video/Ohrid              

CNN/Popova Kula                  CNN/Skopje     

CNN/Snapshots                      Canadian Video/MK    

Culture in Macedonia             Village Dihovo Images    

Exploring Macedonia              Heraclea Lyncestis     

Macedonian Language            Ohrid      

Ohrid Pearls                           Tikves Winery     

 

Until we meet again (next week) “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”                                                     Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne    

If I were you, I would go for it.  I know you can!    

PS:  I did some Link and Page updates even though I wasn’t posting. Check out the Life Coaching Link to learn all about the new programs I am offering.  I will be coaching while I am on the road. If you are ready, so am I.     

Today is the perfect time to begin creating the life you want.   

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