An afternoon in Ohrid

Friday, August 19, 2011


Stork Nest at the beginning of summer
Endings always fill me with a sense of melancholy - a premature grief for what is passing.  This week marked two.

I mark each summer here by the storks.  I eagerly wait for their return in late spring and watch for them rebuilding their nests.  It is always amazing to me that they can perch their huge nests on top of telephone poles and chimneys, but they do.  There are 6 or 7 nests between Gostivar and Skopje that I have documented, and all summer I have watched their development:  return, eggs, hatching and growth.  As the babies get bigger, they perch on the side of the nest waiting for their parents and food.  Curiosity and bravery doesn't always pay off - if the babies fall from their high perches, they are doomed by their vulnerability and inability to fly.  But most make it and this year several of last year's babies returned to build new nests.

They're gone!
I walked to the edge of town yesterday to take pictures of the babies before they left to winter in North Africa, but I was too late.  Their exit marks the end of summer.  We'll still have some hot weather, and school doesn't start for another week, but change is in the air.  My second summer in Macedonia is drawing to a close.

Last week was also the Close of Service conference for my group, the Mak 14's.  We met for 3 days in Struga to talk about the technical side of ending service, and to select when individuals would actually leave for home.  Since I am extending for another year, it wasn't quite relevant for me yet, but it brought into focus that very soon most of the group I came with - my American family in Macedonia - will be gone.  Peace Corps spaces out times when people go, and the first three, two of whom were in my training group and one of whom is my site mate Jane, will be leaving the end of October.  I have many friends in the next group, and expect to make more in the new group that's arriving in just a few weeks, but there is a special bond with your own group that can't be replicated.  I shall miss them and the easy camaraderie.

The question we are all asking ourselves:  what should I do when I grow up?  I'm still wrestling with that - all suggestions welcomed!


  1. To be honest, I find it comforting to know that you'll be across the border from me for the next year. I won't get to know the new volunteers like you will (heck, I only learned the names of LAST year's group a few months ago), but it's nice to know that a couple of you from cherkeze will be just a bus ride away, when i'm in tirana.

  2. Insightful. Thanks for explaining a process we (Invitees) will encounter in our service.
    I always enjoy your humorous perspective and your closing comments reminded me of a Bill Cosby observation many years ago - - - "Why do people always ask kids what they want to be when they grow up? Because they are looking for ideas!"
    Best wishes in everything ahead.

  3. Ride roller coasters, go to fairs, listen to music, knit, read, garden, go to art museums, lecture, go hiking, go camping, go kayaking, ride donkeys, eat candy, smell the roses, and be happy. love ya b