Joy in Macedonia


On Monday, June 13th @ 18:00, I will be holding a free workshop on Martha Beck’s book “The Joy Diet” at American Corner Bitola in Macedonia for anyone interested in bringing  more JOY in their lives.

No matter where you fall on the enjoyment spectrum, I have a plan that can make this week and every other week in 2016 happier and more joyful for you. This diet isn’t mine, but I love sharing it.

If you’ve ever thought you might need a little more joy in your life Martha Beck’s book “The Joy Diet” may work for you. It helped me change my life, big time.”


Please confirm your presence: americancornerbitola@gmail.com

 

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Fall fun in Macedonia

Every fall since 2006, I have been in the beautiful country of Macedonia, which offers a very different autumn than southwest Florida. The changes here in Florida are subtle, soft, and without fanfare. Macedonian fall weather is similar to the crisp, cool, and colorful days of northeast Ohio where I grew-up, but one of their traditions is very different and so aromatic that the wonderfully rich and dusty scent of roasting red peppers in preparation of making ajvar stays with you for life.

Ajvar (pronounced I-var) is a delicious tasting, dark-orange to deep-red, roasted red-pepper spread that can make even the coldest winter day seem a bit sunnier. Every Macedonian home has it’s “special recipe”, and each is equally delicious. To honor and share the ajvar-making process I wrote this post two years ago while visiting Macedonia; I hope you enjoy it, and if you want to give ajvar a try, which I whole-heartedly recommend, you can find it at Trader Joe’s and many Eastern-European grocery stores here in the States. It will add zest to your table and will be a perfect accompaniment to any fall party where family and friends gather to share companionship and a respect for fall traditions – including football!

In Macedonia, making ajvar is not only a tradition, it’s part of the fabric of life. Families gather in villages, towns and cities for days of roasting, plunging, peeling, cooking, and stirring deep red peppers to creamy perfection. The aroma of roasting peppers permeates the autumn air. Kilos of peppers are bought in Macedonian fresh markets (pazzars) for the equivalent of American pennies. (One kilo equals 2.2+ pounds.)

Fall pazzar favorites

Their pungent crimson, thick, flesh dominates the cooking scene at this time of year. It seems every family has a special recipe for creating this rich spread, which is scooped into sterilized jars, set on shelves and shared with family and guests throughout the winter.

Fresh peppers are stuffed with cheese or meat and baked to perfection. Peppers of all shapes, colors, and intensity – burn-your-mouth-hot to sweet and mild – are served swimming in oil at almost every meal. The remaining peppers adorn walls and balconies, and are dried so large chunks of their leathery, slightly crisp, dusty-flavored goodness can be added to a delicious array of meats and bean dishes to warm-up meals during the colder months.

This year my American guest, Annie, and I had the honor of being on-hand for part of my friend Dragica’s ajvar-making odyssey. Dragica’s spirit and love of life flavors everything she does, her tasty ajvar being no exception.

We arrived after the ruby red capsicum had been roasted and peeled – a full day’s work. Our day of ajvar making (watching) began when the wood was burning and the peppers were slid from a huge pail into an even wider-mouth enamel pot for the long and arduous cooking and stirring process. Ajvar is always made outdoors, and city neighbors set-up shop in garages and backyards.

This year, after enjoying Turkish coffee and rakija in the mid-morning shade and chatting in broken English and Macedonian with her friendly and interesting neighbors, we moved to the steamy garage to talk with Dragica’s husband and college-aged sons, Marjan and Dan, who were home for ajvar making.

We decided the process might benefit from some literary inspiration – Dragica loves writing poetry, and within minutes we had created the following masterpieces. (Please remember these words were created with love, just like ajvar, and followed some homemade rakija sipping, which is basically moonshine-light and another great part of the Macedonian way of life. I must admit not everyone was sipping, but those of us who did felt even warmer and cozier.)

And, now without further ado . . .

The Ajvar Trilogy

Created with love and inspired by moments shared by Dragica, Marjan, Dan, Annie and me.

The Flavor of Ajvar

Red as the burning coals
Hot as a chick
Ladle mixing food, family and friends
Circle of life
Tastes so fine, makes me want to drink a bottle of wine.
With bread and cheese, we will eat with ease
Rex sits watching like TV.

Notes: Rex is their huge German Shepard, who sat  quietly by. Can you guess which lines her sons added?

Lace in the window

Smiling faces looking down
Cooling breeze
Smell of smoke and peppers overtakes the day.
Mother and sons, paddling together.
More oil, much better.

Ajvar Beach

Many friendly people sit on ajvar beach.
Who asks what is that?
Foreign fires burning,
Roasting tradition.
Sharing time with family and friends as the earth tilts away from the sun, is a wonderful way to lighten your mood and warm-up your life.  I hope you take time this weekend – September 22 is the northern hemisphere’s fall equinox – to relax and reflect on how you want your life to look and feel – and, if you are lucky enough to be in Macedonia – smell! 
 
ajvar_spread.jpg

Macedonian Dream Weavers II

What happens when a man in a tiny rural Macedonian village wants to preserve his country’s past? 

Well, in the beginning everyone tells him he is crazy, asks what he wants with that “old junk”, or tells him no one will ever come to see it.

Lucky for us, Boris Tanevski ignored the naysayers and his passion and persistence prevailed.  Today Muzej Filip (Museum Phillip) is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon.

According to his third oldest daughter, Katrina, a college freshman, Boris began collecting bits and pieces of Macedonia’s history about twenty years ago. Somewhere along the line he added larger items like cars and motorcycles. (Finding cars as old as his in Macedonia that run and are in such great condition is unbelievable.)

Over time, Boris turned even his skeptical wife, three daughters and son into believers. (Boris doesn’t speak English, and my Macedonian is not good enough for all the questions I was asking so, Katrina kindly acted as our interpreter.) When his collection outgrew his home and garage, he expanded his plans and built a museum on his property to artfully display his unique collection! 

Because Boris did not give up on himself or his dreams, foreigners can slip into a world unknown to many of them for only 100MKD (about $2.20) and Macedonians can learn more about their past for 50MKD. 

After spending time in the museum, guests can relax in the Tanevski’s beautifully landscaped and traditionally decorated yard surrounded by more rural treasures while enjoying complimentary home-grown seasonal fruit with a glass of homemade rakjia or wine or a cup of  Turkish coffee.

Boris and his family offer the perfect combination of history and hospitality. When we called to check times, Boris decided that since he was going to be in Bitola, he would simply pick us up and drive us to their village of Krklino. How’s that for service? (They also called a cab for us when we reluctantly had to head back to town, at a cost of less than $3.50 for three of us.)

The total experience – priceless. 

A testament to Boris Tanevski!

 

The rest of it.

Antique Turkish Indoor Fire Pit. He had a number of these copper cookers.

Love this. Check out the keys.

 

So beautiful.

Boris and his family have carefully combined the artifacts into various settings, including a Turkish, a Jewish and ancient village rooms.

 

The Village Room

 

Tin and brass vessels in all shapes and sizes.

 

Katrina, and her Grandmother's traditional clothes.

 Check out the Muzej Filip web site, the intro is in English and offers more photos.

 And, don’t forget to dream big!

 

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

More Macedonia

Macedonia was the last country to leave Yugoslavia; it became an independent republic in 1991.

Bitola is the second largest city in Macedonia, and where I lived very happily for three years.  It is in southern Macedonia, about 10 miles from the Macedonian and Greek borders.

More history . . . did you know the malls of today, are commercial descendents of ancient Turkish markets?

My friends and I have many of his paintings.  Dan can paint just about anything: still lifes, portraits, icons, landscapes, and is always trying something new.  His paintings are purchased by locals and visitors from all over the world.  His tiny studio and shop is near the Turkish market.

My Bitola, a true European city where the night begins at 9 p.m. when the streets are filled with strolling friends and family, and the cafes and restaurants serve until late into the night.

Natural springs, seems like Florida – but it is St. Naum, Macedonia.

Back to nature.  These springs made me homesick for Florida and are near a tranquil and beautiful monastery and hotel, St. Naum, which is my favorite place in Macedonia.  From the grounds you can see across the beautiful blue-green water of Lake Ohrid to Albania, whose border is less than a mile away by foot.

St. Naum, heaven seems a little closer here.

A room with a view.

Breathing space.

And, the living is easy.

Choices by the Lake Ohrid.

And, back to the food!

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Macedonia

February 11, 2010 — Patrice

Macedonia is nestled in Southeastern Europe.

  I spent three wonderful years in the ancient, beautiful, mountainous country of Macedonia. I experienced amazing adventures of the heart and soul while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bitola, Macedonia’s second largest city, just 10 miles north of Greece. Thoughts of the people, the land, the food, and the wine are always with me. I am planning to return this year, and each after, with a few people, who are interested in the trip of a lifetime. We will spend time exploring mountains, villages and vineyards. I will be sharing my favorite places and people with them, and they will have lots of free time to create their own special moments and memories. If you would like to explore what Macedonia and a visit there has to offer you, please send me an email and I will let you know our plans. In 2011, I plan to offer week-long Wishful Thinking Works retreats in a rural village – the perfect place to get away from it all, and rediscover yourself. 

Vine-covered foothills of the Baba Mountains near Bitola, Macedonia.

Easy to see why I fell in love with this beautiful country, isn’t it?

From the hills near the village of Chaska, my first home in Macedonia.

This is where my “adoptive” Macedonian family lives, they were my Peace Corps host familyfor three months.

Bringing the flock in near the tiny village of Chaska.

Right after dawn and just before dusk, sheep are a common sight in the hills and mountains of Macedonia.

My home away from home in Dihovo, my favorite village in Macedonia.

This village near Bitola stole my heart.  This is the first B & B opened in Dihovo. I worked with the family, who are amazing!

The streets of Dihovo, Macedonia, my favorite village.

I love the houses and the streets.

Houses around the corner in Dihovo, Macedonia.

The colors and textures are so rich, and they way these homes hug the road always makes me wonder which came first!

Antique wagon at Villa Patrice, just like Ohio in the fall.

Villa Patrice was the second B & B to open in Dihovo.  Nevenka and Saso are so kind and generous, they named their B & B for me!

Pears from the tree at Villa Patrice in Dihovo, where my heart is.

The fresh fruit and vegetables in Macedonia are delicious.

Pears at night in Chaska, my first home in Macedonia. Photo courtesy of my wonderful friend, Malinda Antonik-Borgner.

Bear with me, I am a foodie and these photos touch my soul!

Cabbage, the lettuce of Macedonia.

Cabbage is eaten daily and even though lettuce is available, fresh cabbage soon became my salad of choice.  The cabbage is mild flavored, almost sweet, and, of course, has tons of vitamins! 

And, what you cannot pick, you can easily buy at the "pazzar" (market).

Tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions and white salty, sharp cheese cut into chunks and drizzled with light oil and vinegar with a sprinkling of salt and pepper easy and delicious Macedonian salad. 

Inexpensive, fresh ingredients for those perfect "salatas".

Mmm, mmm, good – the perfect combination. 
Ruby red, and oh so sweet.

About this time, I have to remind myself I am planning to walk home, hmm, maybe a taxi is in order.

Flowers in every market and every yard!

Always my last stop of the day.

For more photos of Macedonia, click here.

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Communication worth savoring

February 28, 2019 — Patrice
Me on trainI have been writing about savoring for years and have made it part of my daily life, because it is an amazing feeling and brings such insight and joy. But I never thought about savoring communication until I read this article, and checked out the research of University of Arizona researcher Maggie Pitts.

Pitts analyzed online responses after asking respondents whether or not they savored communication and if so, for a detailed example of an experience they had savored.

“Savoring is the process of (1) identifying a pleasant experience, (2) noticing that you are feeling pleasure about that experience, and then (3) feeling good about feeling pleasure” Maggie Pitts

From their responses Pitts identified seven different types of communication that people tend to savor:

1) Aesthetic communication. Survey respondents savored this type of communication because of some aspect of how it was presented—timing, delivery, choice of words or perhaps a surprise twist. An inspiring speech, good play on words or suspenseful announcement might fall in this category.

2) Communication presence. This category includes conversations in which participants reported being so deeply engaged and completely in the moment with another person that it felt as if no one else mattered. These types of exchanges often were described as “real” or “entirely honest.”

3) Nonverbal communication. From to physical contact to facial expressions, these exchanges emphasize nonverbal cues. A meaningful hug or smile might fall in this category.

4) Recognition and acknowledgement. This category encompasses communication in which participants were publicly acknowledged or offered appreciation, like an awards ceremony or a speech honoring an individual.

5) Relational communication. This category includes communication that establishes, confirms or gives insight into a relationship, such as a couple’s discussion about the future together or an intimate disclosure that brings two people closer.

6) Extraordinary communication. Many participants savored communication around special moments, such as a wedding, illness, birth of a child or other “landmark memories.”

7) Implicitly shared communication. This category includes unspoken communication experiences that may be more difficult to articulate, such as feeling the excitement of a crowd around you, or looking at someone and instinctively knowing that you are sharing the same feeling.

I love that learning something new about savoring has brought even more joy to my life, and I quickly realized that I do savor many of the conversations I have had with people throughout my life and each of those still brings me joy. Here are some of the most memorable as this moment:
  • a conversation we had in my 10th grade social science class about how people approach living and their choices;
  • a talk with a friend who was dying of leukemia;
  • listening to my sons when they were little and discovering the world around them and much later when they were in college and just after, as they explored a much larger world;
  • a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer on the train to Skopje – the capital of Macedonia;
  • talks with friends of shared books and movies;
  • a presentation on music, art and math by Richard G. Brown, the father of Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown and a much honored math professor
  • the hundreds and hundreds of rich and wonderful conversations with my dearest friends at the happiest, most exciting, or the most trying times of my life,
  • and the deep, touching and heartfelt conversations I have with my husband almost daily.
I am now looking forward to reading the books Pitts edited on positive communication, which hopefully will create more conversations for me to savor. I already like the way she thinks, “Maggie takes a “bright side” approach to the study of human communication — asking questions like, “what is going right” here, and “how can we make good things even better?”
I hope you find lots of wonderful moments and communications to savor, today and all the days ahead for you.
As I was writing this post in the early morning hours, I took a moment to savor the water color view through the screen on my balcony on a softly unfolding morning in tropical Florida.
IMG_4786
Posted in Awareness, Dreams, Wishes, Encouragement, Joy, savoring, Self help. Tags: , , . 1 Comment »

One question

August 3, 2018 — Patrice

Are things in your life falling apart or into place?

Sometimes, things may look like they are going wrong, but with time and perspective and or by simply staying in the moment, we realize they are actually falling into place.

Have a great day!

Are you ready to create the life your really want?

Start today with Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching! 

Patrice encourages all of us to identify and follow our dreams, because she knows first hand that Wishful Thinking Works.

Patrice Koerper Robson is a United States Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, who served in Macedonia from 2006-2009 beginning at the age of 53. She is one of only 460 people over the age of 50, who have served annually in the United States Peace Corps (Approximately 6% of the Volunteers who serve each year are over the age of 50).

Patrice loves Macedonia, and is happy to have traveled back to the tiny, mountainous country many times. Her first return trip was in the fall of  2010 for two months to visit friends and work on projects. She traveled back again for a month in 2011, and as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer for four months from 2012-13. 

In 2016, she and her wonderful husband, Dan, spent their extended honeymoon in Macedonia combining five weeks in the ancient and beautiful city of Bitola with side trips to Venice and to the Isle of Corfu. Patrice was also a Response Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Georgia for four months from 2011-12, which she plans to revisit in the future.

Patrice’s main passion and occupation is Wishful Thinking Works life coachingworkshops and presentations, which combined with her family and friends and travels with her husband, are all part of the life she is really wants

 

 

 

 

Posted in Awareness, Confidence, Courage, Creating the life you really want, Dreams, Wishes, Encouragement, Happiness, Happy. Tags: , , . Leave a Comment »

“30 Days New” – Days 20-26

July 22, 2018 — Patrice

So many days, so many “News” 

I truly lost track of my “News” this week while hosting guests. I did not manage a “New” each and everyday, which was “New” for me! But I am happy to say that by not holding myself to strict a standard while spending time with my wonderful friends, my week was much more relaxing! Cutting myself some slack on a public commitment was “New” for me, and easier than expected because the pay off was so rewarding – fun with friends!

One friend was visiting from abroad and another from Colorado. I met both while serving in the United States Peace Corps from 2006-2009 in the country of Macedonia. Oddly enough, because of her travels to the U.S. and mine to Macedonia, I have seen my Macedonian friend many more times than my American Peace Corps pal!  It has been nine years since we all have gotten together, so coordinating their visit was a definite  “New”.

One of the joys of reuniting was realizing and talking about how lucky we were to have met. It is astounding to consider all of the twists and turns our individual lives took to connect us originally and the many choices we have made to keep in contact since we first separated nine years ago.

Nine years laterTo celebrate gathering again, we recreated a photo we took in the tiny, remote village of Dupeni, Macedonia, which was one of the last times we were all together. Recreating a photo was another “New” for me! My husband very patiently juggled our phones until we agreed that one of the many, many new photos he took was flattering enough for all three of us – thank you, Dan! Our quiet, peaceful Long Island backyard was the setting for our new photo; we agreed it had some of the same relaxing characteristics of my friend grandparents’ villa in Dupeni, and also agreed we should not wait another nine years to gather again – somewhere in the world.

One line a dayAnother “New” this week was learning from my American friend about her “One Line A Day” habit, which began with the gift of a five year journal in which you simply write “One Line A Day.” She has passed the one year mark in hers, so she is now enjoying having past year thoughts at her fingertips as she adds her new ones. She shared some of the insights she has gained from writing and comparing her thoughts from year to year, which inspired me to buy a similar book. As soon as it arrives, I plan to start a new way of journaling – “One Line a Day”, which will be “New” for me.

A foot injury kept me on Long Island this week as my friends headed into New York City on the train for a day of sightseeing. Admitting I could not join them was tough and a “New” for me, I usually push myself no matter the circumstance. But as their plans solidified, I knew I had made the right choice, and I smiled throughout the day, knowing I was comfy, cozy at home and doing the right thing. Smiling about a limitation was definitely “New” for me!

Teddys PorchAnother “New” this week involved a fashion choice – not the most earth shattering “New” but stepping out of my comfort zone into a seersucker dress was “New” for me. The dress will not make it into my regular summer rotation – it’s a little too old school for me, but I was happy I gave it a try, and have lots of photos commemorating it’s debut! Here is one of us relaxing on Teddy Roosevelt’s front porch at Sagamore Hills. Posting the photo is another “New” – it is not my most flattering photo, but the moment and circumstances surrounding it make it special to me and sweet to share.

This very special “New” is from a wonderful friend and Wishful Thinking Works reader, who shared how “30 Days New” inspired her to develop “News” of her own. I love her “News” and the fun she is having creating them:

I have loved reading your “30 Days New”. I haven’t managed it every day, but I definitely made a start. 1) I learned to make goat kefir 2) learned to make kombucha 3) learned to actually LIKE the kefir and kombucha 4) learned I can take my grandkids 2&4 to the swimming pool without them drowning or me having an anxiety attack 🙂 5) learned how to create and use Event Brite for an organization I work with 6) learned to make almost professional looking greeting cards 7) learned to make 2 other fermented probiotics, but still trying to like them.

What is “New” with you? Have you tried anything out of your comfort zone lately? How did it feel? Feel free to share your experiences with us, we’d love to hear about your success!

To read more about how my “30 Days New” habit got started, click here.


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Posted in 30 Days New, Awareness, Change, Confidence, Courage, Creating the life you really want, Dreams, Wishes, Encouragement, Friendship, Fun, Happiness, Happy, Interesting stuff. Tags: , , . Leave a Comment »

Grab a cup of tea or coffee, relax and read on

October 30, 2017 — Patrice

alarm-clock-2132264__340I was writing a post for my Meditation Facebook group this morning when I came across this photograph, which led me to slow down a bit and allow myself to spend some time wallowing in the wonderful memories tea and Fall have brought to my life.

I think my reverie was made easier, because there is a chill in the air this Autumn Monday morning in Florida.  Temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s are as cold as we get even in the middle of winter, so today’s weather was a welcome surprise for me.

With a cup of tea by my side I let my mind wander through some of the scenes and memories that a relaxing cup of tea and Fall weather have given me over the years. I spent time in my mind at kitchen tables around the world sipping tea and savoring the feelings those moments evoked.

My mental journey began with my sister in Avon, Ohio’; I love her kitchen and the view through her sliding glass doors – I never tire of visiting her. Her tea is loose leaf and deliciously flavored. I then traveled back in time to my Mom’s kitchen in the parkway house they lived in after moving from the home in which we grew-up. I remember feeling so happy that they were happy, while sipping her honey and milk laced tea.  After revisitng Mom, I stopped by my former mother-in-law’s – she kept Constant Comment in her cupboard for me  – she was a coffee lover her entire life. Next, I fast-forwared to time spent with my amazing host family in a small village in Macedonia 11 years ago, where I enjoyed fresh-dried and fragrant mountain tea and personal cross-cultural exchanges.

During another time living abroad, I sipped tea and cooked-up a storm with my Georgian host family in their tiny kitchen that was always cozy and warm and overflowing with family and friends. I completed my morning’s sojourn enjoying another special memory with my dearest friend in Florida, who I was able to share daily tea and conversation about our lives and the world around us for months at a time before she passed away last year. We odten laughed about the fact that she barely dipped her tea bag into the steaming water in her cup, while I often let mine steep as I sipped.

I hope you find time today, this week, or in the month ahead to sit and savor some of your favorite Fall memories and any present or future moments you create this year with the special people in your life.

Take time to take in the good, and both your body and your brain will be relaxed and refreshed.  I guarantee it will be time well spent.

 

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Posted in Awareness, Change, Congruency, Creating the life you really want, Dreams, Wishes, Encouragement, Happiness, Happy, Joy, Mindfulness, Visit Macedonia. Tags: , , . Leave a Comment »

Journey of a lifetime

February 1, 2017 — Patrice

Patrice BitolaWishful Thinking Works

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to change your life dramatically? To try something terribly new and scary, but truly heartfelt – all on your own? To do more and learn more than you ever thought possible?

I did, and I am sharing the experiences of my amazing adventure in Macedonia as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer from 2006-2009 at programs for the Naples Florida Regional Library, on Thursday, Febraury2, 2017 at 3 p.m. and at the Fort Myers Beach Library on February 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Only 450 people over the age of 50 serve in the Peace Corps each year, I was lucky enough to be one of them. I was 53 years old when I decided to take the biggest risk of my life, and ended-up on an remarkable journey serving in a tiny, ancient, mountainous, wine-soaked country just north of Greece. It truly is my personal “Eat, Pray, Love” story.

You are never too old – or too young – to decide who you want to be!

My journey really began in 2004 when I started looking at my life through a new lens. I spent less time “doing” and more time reflecting and thinking about how I wanted my life to look, feel and be. During that time I discovered three things:

  1. I wanted to “touch the face” of the people I was helping. I am a visual thinker and that was my way of saying I knew I wanted to work one-on-one with folks. I had risen as far as I could in management within my field, and although I loved my job and was impacting my community in a way I wanted to, I knew I had more to learn and give at a personal, one-on-one level.
  2. I knew there were more people I was supposed to know in this world – not just to meet, but to know. Luckily I was right, and made friends for life on my journey.
  3. And, I knew I wanted  to live in Europe. Didn’t know how or why, but knew I wanted to live within another country and culture.

Macedonia Map

During my two years of introspection and months of research, Peace Corps (PC) rose to the surface. Joining PC was never planned, but popped-up while searching Internet options that would allow me to live as I realized I wanted to. And, and as sad as this is to admit, I had no clue where Macedonia was until I started exploring serving in the Peace Corps in Eastern Europe.

You are never too old – or too young – to become who you want to be!

During my presentation you will find out what it is like to pack two suitcases and leave behind everything else you love – family, friends, your home and your job to volunteer in a country where you must learn a new language, work in a new job and make new friends, while trying to understand and meld into a culture that is foreign to you.

Through photos and stories I will share how this wonderful trek enriched my life and broaden my understanding of myself, others and the world around me.

Postscript:

I returned to Macedonia in 2010, 2011 to visit and for projects and in 2012 for a short Response Corps Peace Corps (RCPC) assignment. In 2011, I served in the Republic of Georgia on another short RCPC project. In May of 2016 my new husband and I visited Macedonia for a month for our honeymoon. He loved it!

The learning and the fun never has to end!

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