A couple weeks ago, I went to the Czech Republic to do some video work for the Global Partners team there. One of the most interesting things I experienced was people’s reaction when I was introduced as “the American who lives in Albania.” Every single person had basically the same reaction. First shock then confusion. Some would even ask why.
Why in the world would anyone want to live in Albania?
Albanians seem to have a bad rep with the rest of Europe. I’m not sure why. This is Albania from my perspective.
Albanians are super nice people. People will go out of their way to help you. They will sacrificially give if you need something. They don’t have the “me” and “time is money” attitude that much of the world seems to be obsessed with.
Albania is all about relationships. I love this. But I also struggle with this. If you go for a visit, Albanians will stop whatever they are doing, no matter how important it is, to come and sit down and visit with you. Not for a few minutes. Or even 30 minutes. But for as long as you want to stay – even if it’s for hours!
And they never seem to be thinking about their previous tasks. They are always 100% there, focusing on you. (I struggle with the stopping what you’re doing any time someone comes in. I still have a task oriented mind and I LOVE checking things off my to do list.)
Albania may not have the most modern stores or chain restaurants but I like that. I like that things are still more on the simple side. Yes it can be annoying (for me) if you need something and can’t find it or have to make substitutions or spend more time doing things a different way (like cooking from scratch) but it’s so much better to be able to get to know people and not commercialized versions of people.
All the Czechs couldn’t understand how I (or anyone else based on their faces) could live in Albania. But to be honest, by the end of my week in the Czech Republic, I was 100% ready to get back to Albania.
Don’t get me wrong. Not everything is perfect in Albania. But that’s true of any place. Personally, I think the Czech is a wonderful place…to visit. But for me, I would hands down rather live in Albania. I think if people would come to Albania, keeping in mind it’s history & heritage, then they would understand the way Albania works and more of why it works that way.
Dear world, please don’t hate on Albania if you’ve never been here or gotten to know the people here. Because it’s the people who make all the difference. It’s the people who have shaped Albania’s past and are reshaping it’s future. It’s the people who make life worth it here. You should come and see for yourself.