Today is my birthday . . .

I love birthdays! The fun never fades, mainly because I have been lucky enough to share my birthdays with my fabulous family and friends. This year is no exception. My birthday week got off to a great start; I spent Sunday with some of my favorite Macedonian friends in sunny Florida. Being with them reminded me of one of my best birthdays ever . . .

Four years ago, while I was in the Peace Corps, I hosted a wonderful party at my friends brand new B&B in the rural village of Dihovo, Macedonia. (In Macedonia, the birthday guy or gal hosts the festivities or treats his/her friends!) The party was Villa Dihovo’s grand opening; we ate and danced ourselves silly. Special thanks to Pece and Renata and their family for putting up with our American antics and to my awesome fellow PCVs – Dao, Kate and Mary for their culinary creations that day. Thanks also go to my friends, Barb and Sharyn, who were visiting from the States and joined the fun cleaning and cutting veggies! Super great memories at the foothills of the Baba Mountains. Since then, I have spent many amazing days and nights in Dihovo.

You can check out the Villa Dihovo web site, here, and read more about it and Macedonia in the Lonely Planet Guide to the Western Balkans. The section on Macedonia was written by a great guy and good friend of mine, Chris Deliso, who is a prolific travel and political writer. To read more about Macedonia, click here and here, and you can find more posts and photos if you select “Visit Macedonia” from the drop-down list in the “Select Categories” box on the Wishful Thinking Works home page.

My posts and the Lonely Planet Guide also have information about Villa Patrice/Patricia, which was the second B & B to open in Dihovo, and is owned by my kind and caring friends, Saso and Nevenka. Their villa is named after me, but they did all the work, spending years creating the perfect place for you to visit, relax and renew. A few hours on their tranquil balcony with its village and mountain views will refresh your spirit. And, no matter where you stay when you visit, a walk around the village of Dihovo will transform your soul.

Thanks for joining me as I walked down my birthday memory lane. To all my friends and family in the States and abroad, please know that I will be thinking of you throughout the day and the many, many ways you have touched my life and made it richer, deeper, gentler, and more fun. Thank you!

And to all my readers, my birthday wish for each of you is that wherever you are and whatever you are doing when you read this, I hope you take a few minutes to let a friend or family member know how much they mean to you. Please don’t wait for a special occasion to let someone you care about know the difference they’ve made in your life.

And, if you are in the mood, I’d love to hear about your birthday memories and traditions. What’s your favorite way to celebrate or your all-time best celebration? What’s your cake of choice – cheesecake, chocolate or anything as long as there’s frosting?


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  1. Patti, It’s your birthday, and we get all the gifts! The gift of your friendship has been one of the best journeys of my life. We have laughed, cried, played, laughed, sang, and laughed some more. You have made such a difference in my life in how I raise my kids, my career path, and my future. What a joy life is, and thank you for my wonderful gift. PS. Happy Birthday.


    • Thank you. I was returning the joy you gave me watching you with my boys! You allowed me to do what I needed, knowing each minute they were with you they wer happy and having fun! Let’s go float in the pool again!


  2. That party truly was a special and memorable event. I’m so honored to have been included. I think back to that day often and just smile–from you showing me how to make bbq sauce from the limited ingredients we had, to me plucking feathers for the first time off the chicken wings (which turned out mighty tasty on the grill), to my realization that I was a veggie chopping nazi… Good times.

    I wish you the happiest of birthdays today. Love you!


    • I can picutre you guys in the kitchen at Villa Dihovo and our cookign spree at Villa Patrice. Thanks for being one of the best parts of my life then and now!


  3. Happy birthday, Patrice. How fitting, your birthday. Of course I cherish the vivid memories of patrice party prep – a thousand laughs with the thousand chops and peels of the various veggies. But on an ongoing divine journey, today is my first day of work with the zoo improvement team in Bitola. Thank you for fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and self-initiation in the organizational life of this town. That is my birthday gift from you.

    Your present from me is the gift you gave while you were here back to you. Patrice, if I did not already know you and have you in my heart, after only two days here I would WANT to, from the way everyone talks of you. Victor of Heraclea yesterday sends his best – I was there yesterday after my first trip to the zoo. we recognized each other from that chilly trip you and I took there on that first Christmas day in Macedonia. Truly your legacy is seen and felt all over the region.

    I send you back the memory of our first birthday in Macedonia. St. Naum weekend and your son visiting. An early morning swim in Lake Ohrid, the magical view from the window, the time, the talk, the food, the love.

    One more greeting for today that had me laugh outloud from the memory: Our friend, Chesty Buyrum.

    Chesty rodenden, Patreatcia!


    • Mary, thanks so very, very much. You sent the perfect birthday gift! So much fun, and I would like to add our walks home from “school” each day and our talks while in transist! Enjoy every minute of your stay!


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