Saturday, October 29, 2011
Wow, I didn't mean to let like ten whole days elapse between posts, but Shpresa has been away at a conference all week and my computer time completely evaporated. What little I've been able to carve out has been used for e-mails, mostly... I can keep up on Facebook using the iTouch, but it's hard to actually write anything on the tiny little touch pad. Right now I'm in a strange little bubble that never happens, wherein Gabriel went down for his morning nap before Valerie woke up for the day - I don't know how long it will last but I'll just stop where I am and hit "publish post" when she does wake up. Although I hear Gabriel still babbling in his crib so I don't know, he might need me again in a minute. He was just soooo sleepy!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
edited slightly: I fixed the link on Gabriel's name below
I feel the shift of the earth in its orbit: the seasons have changed, and the first bite of winter came this weekend. It feels like one day we were sweating and hiding from the sun, and the next day shivering and seeking it out. This weekend I raised the awning over our balcony to let in more light, and dressed Gabriel in his winter pajamas. I noticed while walking to my Albanian lesson today that many of the sidewalk cafes and open-air produce vendors have either packed up or retreated indoors. Sure, it's 70 degrees out today, but there is a chill and clarity in the air that evokes the coming of the cold.
The turning of the seasons makes me contemplative all the more because it marks our first year in Albania. We moved here at Solstice last year, and we’ve now gone a full turn around the sun in this place. The coming of the cold usually makes me a little sad, but there’s a funny gladness in me this year as the angle of the light and the smell of roasting chestnuts evokes the memories of last year. It feels like we have come so far as a family in one year, in so many good ways – Valerie talking and engaging in pretend play, learning to use the potty, overcoming so much of her anxiety and fears from the first few months. And Gabriel – wow. Transformed from an infant into a toddler. All those milestones – rolling over, sitting up, teething, eating solids, standing, walking – if only he would SLEEEEEEP! Ah well.
I find that the same things that bothered me a year ago about Albania still bother me – the litter, the second-hand smoke – and the same things I enjoyed a year ago are still my favorite things about living here – the kindness and generosity of the people, learning the language, the plentiful fresh produce (which I’m told is de facto mostly organic, not so much from an ideological motive but more just because farmers can’t afford a lot of agrochemicals).
As we rode the bus to Saranda last week, I was struck with the feeling that this is where we are supposed to be right now. I don’t think I could give a reason or explanation; I just know, somehow.
And that’s a good feeling.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
She was lowered through the ceiling on a special descending platform with dry ice billows, blue and red lights, and two adorable flower girls.
And then there was eating and drinking and dancing until after 3:00 a.m. It was live music, kind of like this but livelier. It was very different from our Mennonite wedding in Lancaster, PA, 11 years ago!
Technically we were not supposed to leave until the groom and his family did, but by 3 a.m. we were pretty beat... so we made our retreat.
Monday, October 03, 2011
This past weekend we took a 9-hour bus trip to the southernmost part of Albania, spitting distance (almost literally) from Greece. We could see Corfu, but didn't make it there just because the ferry schedule didn't coincide with our retreat schedule.