Monday, August 05, 2013


So what can I say about our trip to Albania? It was good to go back. It was healing to realize in all our senses that it's still there, we can go back, that it wasn't a forever goodbye. It was healing to have a better goodbye with Shpresa than the first one which was pretty traumatic for both of us. It was wonderful and meaningful to celebrate Gabriel's third and Shpresa's nth birthdays together the day we arrived.

It was HOT.

So hot.

It was strange to go past our old neighborhood, but not down our street, not past our old pallati, the grocery store, the secondhand shop, the bakery. Valerie wasn't sure she wanted to, and it was just so hot.

The best days were doing simple, familiar things - going to Dajti on the cable car, visiting "twisty slide park," going to the pool, walking down "rainbow walk" to the cafe/playground we used to go to almost every weekend, visiting a friend in her home.

It got really, really old staying in a hotel and not having access to a kitchen, even though the woman in charge of the guesthouse loaned us a kerosene burner to use in the room (I didn't). It got old not having a bathtub. I remembered other things too, other reasons why I felt so ready to leave a year ago. Our life as a family was so separate from Terry's work life.

It was amazing to hear the kids slip back into using Shqip, singing songs that we'd learned before, but they were (and still are) singing them much more articulately than ever before. Somehow the words that they couldn't pronounce a year ago had stayed lodged in their heads!

We didn't do everything I wanted to - we didn't see everyone we wanted to see, but we reconnected with the people that meant the most to us, and a lot of the places. It's strange to fall so in love with a country you never imagined visiting, much less living in. The language, the landscape, the people, for no really good reason. I have a feeling we'll be back again.

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