1. An all-day apple picking extravaganza at my host family’s orchard! Ten hours of picking, lunching picnic style, meeting extended family members, and goofing around with Dan and my host cousin, Irina. 

    apple = јаболко (pronounced “ya-bol-ko)

    photos courtesy of Daniel O’Brien

    [kocel, macedonia]


  2. One of the projects I head up as GLOW Communications Coordinator.


  3. peacecorps:

    This year we received a record high number of applications, 17,336 to be exact! Every prospective, current and returned Volunteer didn’t start their sentence with “I should’ve,” they started it with “I did.” Life is calling. How far will you go?



  4. Want to see some of the furry friends Dan and I have made in Macedonia and during our travels? Check out catzabroad.tumblr.com. Also, a friend living in Tetovo has started http://peacecorpsbuddies.tumblr.com. Enjoy the cuteness! :)


    New shy guys.


  5. peacecorps:

    This past weekend, 44 new Peace Corps trainees arrived in Skopje—one of the largest volunteer classes ever in Macedonia! They were welcomed by these local folk performances on their first day of training #culture #culturalexchange #dancing #folkdance #Macedonia #latergram


  6. Forty-four new Peace Corps Trainees arrived in Macedonia today. I had the privilege of meeting them at their orientation site. What a great group! I look forward to spending more time getting to know them as they adjust to life here. 

    This also means that I am celebrating my one year anniversary in Macedonia! One down, one to go :) I’m so proud of all of the fellow volunteers in my cohort for their resiliency, positivity, and the community of support we’ve created. Cheers to another year!



  8. New furry friends in town :) Hanging out with the local animals has become a true secondary project.

    [ohrid, macedonia]

    photo courtesy Daniel O’Brien

  9. Last week, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, Jim, made his way to Ohrid from Stip to facilitate a training on Peer Counseling Skills. The training included much information that only touched the surface of objective approaches to counseling, communication theory, group process, and Gestalt. I was so pleased that we had 15+ staff and volunteers in attendance from NGO Option, Red Cross, schools, and other organizations. We have already received good feedback on the training and hope to plan another one in the future on this subject! I am so grateful that Jim was willing to coordinate the training with me and share his vast knowledge with this group of professionals.  

    [ohrid, macedonia]


  10. (Source: peacecorps)


  11. I am already sure that Camp GLOW is one of the defining moments of my Peace Corps service. As stressful and crazy as executing a camp for 80 teenage girls can be, the chance to be there and experience it with them is an ultimate reward. 

    I have not been to a camp in years. I forgot how much I love to sing and dance and be youthful. Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is about these things and so much more—it gives young women from all different backgrounds a chance to express themselves freely in a safe, encouraging environment. Campers make new, lifelong friends and meet fellow rising leaders from throughout Macedonia, who they can identify and connect with on a deeper level. They spend a week discussing important issues, learning new skills and knowledge, and brainstorming future projects to implement in their home communities. 

    GLOW is all about leadership development. We seek to support young women as they discover their own capacity to be strong leaders in Macedonia and beyond. The camp has a multi-faceted approach that includes community time spent in teams (8 campers, 2 counselors, 1 counselor-in-training); large group functions with the entire camp that showcase creativity and teamwork; and experiential courses that range from emotional discussions to fun electives.

    Everyday was jam-packed with courses such as:

    Cultures of the World, Relationships and Social Health, Team Building, Our Effects on the Environment, Tie-Dye, Self-Esteem and Body Image, Origami, Human Rights and Diversity, Interpersonal Violence, Learning to Lead, Public Speaking, Yoga, American Relay Races, CPR and First Aid, Stereotypes and Iceberg Theory, Nutrition, Portrayal of Women in the Media

    Each night, at least five electives were offered including:

    Korean, Mnemonics, Acting, Karaoke, American Line Dancing, Powerful Women in History, Comic Strip Art, Leave No Trace, Stargazing, Charades

    Being on the leadership team kept me quite busy, but I was able to co-teach Card Games, Kickboxing, and Self-Defense! I was also on the team to organize Field Day, during which all the teams competed in various activities (much like an American field day competition). 

    There is so much more I could say about Camp GLOW: We had an awesome Disco Night. We lit candles and shared kind words. And made SMORES! We also had a visit from the US Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission (special thanks to the US Embassy Skopje for their generous grant in support of Camp GLOW this year!) 


    If you have any questions about Camp GLOW Macedonia or are interested in supporting this project, please contact me.


  12. Apply now :) The process is quicker and simpler than ever!


    We’ve just announced historic changes to our application and selection process! Get started here http://1.usa.gov/WeLKpY


  13. I’m still obsessed with BUDAPEST. I didn’t want to leave. I think about it every day. Every minute was an exciting with each corner bringing a castle, the Danube River, cool architecture, museums, kind people, and hip places to go out (check out the “ruin bars”). I can’t wait to go back.

    [budapest, hungary]


  14. I’m not going to lie—I didn’t know much about BRATISLAVA, Slovakia, before I arrived there. I was pleased to discover a charming city with much history, kind people, a cool castle, and delicious food (I cannot fully express my love for pierogies)!!

    [bratislava, slovakia]


  15. Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna certainly deserves its own post. The palace, gardens and views of the city are truly beautiful and not to be missed if you visit Vienna! 

    [vienna, austria]