Elephants never forget . . .

I’ve been thinking how lucky I am to have such warm and wonderful friends here in Macedonia and in the States, and since my Peace Corps Response project is at the Bitola Zoo, it seemed like a good time to share with you this video that my best friend from junior and senior high school, Sally, recently posted on Facebook.

Tarra, the best friend a dog could have.

Tarra, the best friend a dog could have.

The video features the unusual and enduring friendship of an 8,700 pound Asian elephant, Tarra, and a tiny stray dog, Bella, who live at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Besides playing and enjoying their daily walks through the 2,700 acre sanctuary, Tarra showed her deep devotion to Bella by keeping vigil for three weeks when Bella had a spinal cord injury in 2010 and had to stay inside the clinic on the sanctuary grounds. The elephants at the sanctuary usually befriend another elephant and shy away from the dogs, but Tarra was different. She was not concerned about her little friend’s size or the sound of his bark, only the connection they somehow felt. Unfortunately Bella, passed away in 2011, but before she died, she and Tarra had spent almost everyday together for 8 years! It’s a heartwarming tale, and a touching reminder that elephants never forget  – a friend, and we shouldn’t either.

The holidays are a great time to call old friends and let them know just how much they mean to us. Many of us call or write at this time of year to say “Hi” and share what’s been happening, but why not take a moment or two to let the folks you care about know how much their friendship has meant to you. It’s a super, sweet, holiday treat that doesn’t require shopping, ordering, baking or mailing!

I’ll be calling Sally cross-continents to let her know, don’t forget to call someone you care about, too.

When a door closes


When a door closes, a window opens . . .

I believe this to be true, and seem to be spending a great deal of time wandering the streets of Macedonia and Greece capturing these beautiful and motivating symbols of change. Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I do. Your window of opportunity may be just around the corner.


Hmm, closed and locked seems impenetrable! Ohrid, Macedonia

Don't let appearances or the number of closed doors deter you. Bitola, Macedonia

What about a gate half open? Go with your guts; it's always up to you. Ohrid, Macedonia

Mixed messages; "Should I knock or should I go?" Choice is yours. Bitola, Macedonia

A lost cause, time to let it go? Ohrid, Macedonia

Not all your options will be neatly laid out in front of you. Leptokaria, Greece

Sometimes, you may need to pause and reflect before the answers come. Bitola, Macedonia

Some choices may seeming confusing or a bit cluttered. Bitola, Macedonia

Some options will sit squarely in front of you. Ohrid, Macedonia

Others may seem whimsical or unusual. Bitola, Macedonia

Some will be super sweet, like curly rolled baklava. Leptokaria, Greece

Some may be salty. Leptokaria, Greece

Some will be combinations, and still like a seem warm and cozy option. Bitola, Macedonia

Previously closed doors, may reopen. Bitola, Macedonia

Fancy opportunities may materialize. Ohrid, Macedonia

Simple and yet stunning openings exist all around you. Ohrid, Macedonia

Moments you might miss without quiet reflection. Bitola, Macedonia


Recessed and waiting. Bitola, Macedonia

You truly never know what may open before you. Bitola, Macedonia


Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Bitola, Macedonia

With an open mind, you will surely see . . . Bitola, Macedonia

. . . the possibilities, are endless. Ohrid, Macedonia


Have a great weekend, pondering the possibilities.

PS Thanks for the “Likes” on Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook!

My bags are unpacked . . .


We are all traveling, just on different paths.                     P. Koerper, 2008

I have settled back into Bitola, Macedonia where I spent three years as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer from 2006-09. This is my second trip back to visit my friends and work on projects in this ever beautiful, ancient country.

Today I head to Greece to meet an American, who will be joining me here for two weeks. She heard me talk at a library in Florida about Macedonia, and decided to join me this year. Her adventure will be magnified as we try to cross the Greek border, which is closed due to strikes. I love that she sees this as all part of the fun. She travels well.

Speaking of adventures, here are a few photos from Bitola. I am having trouble loading photos, many more to follow.   To say I am glad to be back, doesn’t begin to capture the feelings I’m experiencing. There is a sweet sense of self that emerges each time I am here. I love walking foreign streets, and feeling like I am home.

View of Bitola from my friend Evi’s balcony where I am staying.

Bridal bread from a traditional village wedding.

Dancing the oro at traditional village wedding


Hope your journey is going well, and your path is bringing you much joy. And, as always, wish you were here.

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