Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been a wonderful year and here at Shifting the Balance we have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve had an exciting year working on the campaign. Our kiddos (the dogs) are all in good health. Mum and Terry are happy and healthy. Two of my cousins welcomed healthy baby girls. All of my friends are enjoying their lives…..the list goes on.

A Thanksgiving [1] memory to share: Keeping with Mum’s recent photo of Greece, I thought I’d share my Thanksgiving memory from 2004. I was studying abroad in Leicester, England, and I didn’t really have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with. So who came to my rescue? Freida, of course. Freida and George are two of our friends from Kansas City growing up. They were both from Greece, moved to the States when they were first married, and then decided to retire back to a beautiful little village about a year or two before I was studying abroad. Well, Freida invited me to stay with them for Thanksgiving, and it was the most wonderful trip. Seeing Freida and George was such a delight, and even more heartwarming was the fact that Freida sought out the makings of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. For me! In Greece! [2] We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans. She even found pecans. It was a perfect Thanksgiving, and for that experience, I will always be grateful.

Wherever you’re spending your Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to be thankful for those around you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meg and Ann

[1]  Photograph thanks to “blogs.citypages.com”

[2]  Terry’s painting by Mike Savage, reminds us of times in Greece, overlooking the Mediterranean

A Rare and Precious Pearl–Dubrovnik, Croatia

It is Lord Byron who first described Dubrovnik as the Pearl of the Adriatic.  An ancient commercial and trading city, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.   It’s massive stone walls, erected from the 13th and 16th centuries, seem to rise out of the sea.

The harbor, now filled with pleasure boats, once made Dubrovnik a center of trade and commerce and brought great wealth to the region.  It ws settled as early as the 7th century.

A fortress sits outside the walls of the city, protecting the harbor and its citizens from ancient dangers.

As you approach the walled city, you are greeted by ceremonial guards straight from central casting.

For many years Croatia, like many of the former Union of Socialist Soviet Republic, was nearly inaccessible to Westerners.  In 1991, Croatia separated from  Yugoslavia, and, as a result, Dubrovnik became embroiled in the upheaval between the Serbs and the Croats,  sometimes called the Balkan wars or the Croatian War of Independence.  There is little left to remind us of the Siege of Dubrovnik in 1991-1992.  Most poignant is the Rooms of Remembrance for the defenders of Dubrovnik, mostly teenagers, whose images from the wall remind us of the our own children.  The destruction of the city itself, while extensive, is no longer in evidence. The churches, homes and public buildings have been rebuilt and now appear untouched by war.

The walled old city includes only two hotels.  One was very expensive.  We stayed in the other one.  While the amenities were sparse, the rooftop view made any inconvenience irrelevant.  At night it was almost otherworldly.  

In the daytime it provided a view of a rooftops and buildings in a large section of the city.      

Walking the narrow streets was an experience all to itself.  Like many medieval cities, there is no motorized transportation.  Walking is not the challenge, finding our way through the maze of streets to our destination, was another matter.  Fortunately, there were plenty of cafes where we could sit, watch the natives and the tourists and enjoy the company of friends.