Families, Food & Fellowship

Nicole’s parents are visiting and last night we ate downstairs with the family. Marijana is the best cook I know and I’m always excited whenever we get to eat her food. The only problem is that every time she always gives you too much food! Every. Time. So I expected the same to happen again. But last night, she threw a curveball!

Marijana had told us she would make spinach byrek for Nicole’s parents but then yesterday, Ida asked Nicole if her parents ate chicken. So we weren’t sure which one we were having. Once again, we weren’t 100% sure what we were getting into.

It was obvious we have taught the family some of our American ways because they usually eat pretty late but the family insisted on eating early (7 which we know means 8 or 9) but when we went down around 6:45, Marijana had already finished cooking the food! They said they knew the Scharas would want to go to bed early so they wanted us to eat early. (They know we eat early every night too!)

When we sat down, Nicole’s parents were between us. I let Nicole do most of the translating so she could show off her awesome skills while I sat beside Redi and cracked jokes with him most of the time. We definitely had fun!

We were served chicken (excpet for Nicole of course), french fries, sauce and cucumbers on a plate. Usually, we have the meat served on top of rice. I was really hoping for that rice because it is my favorite thing ever that she cooks. But her chicken is always good and was no disappointment lat night! They rarely have meat because it is expensive. Her french fries are awesome too. Needless to say, I was happy with the delicious food on my plate.

In  the middle of the table were two community bowls of salad and another sauce that Marijana had made. I was happy to see that this was all the food we would eat because I thought, even though it was still a lot of food, I could actually eat everything on my plate, making history. (Usually I can never finish).

And then…

And then she brought out byrek. She gave each of us two pieces. 2 large pieces. Reality began to set in. Ok. I knew I’d be struggling majorly to finish both pieces.


And THEN she brought out rice with a piece of beef. Really? Really. Really? There was no way. I mean if I would have eaten just the rice I would have been stuffed. If I would have eaten just the byrek, I would have been stuffed. If I would have eaten just the original plate, I would have been stuffed. But now she brings out a huge bowl of rice with more meat?

I have never ever ever been served two helpings of meat. Meat is super expensive but Marijana knew how special this meal was to be able to share it with Nicole’s parents. And they definitely appreciated the gesture and knew what it meant.

There were two options. 1) Try to eat some of it and hope they would eat what you didn’t later or 2) Don’t eat any of it so they could eat it later. (Nicole’s mom and I went for option 2 while Nicole and her dad went with option 1)


AND THEN she brought out dessert! It was kind of like baklava but with stringy stuff in it. Of course it was super sweet. Delicious but after all that other food…I couldn’t bring myself to eat the last bite. I was just too full of delicious food.

I have literally never eaten so much in my life. And I didn’t even touch the rice, meat and one of the pieces of byrek. In one sitting, I ate the amount of food I usually eat over the course of a couple days. But really I can’t complain. It was delicious.

It was such a special meal to be able to take part in. Marijana did an amazing job cooking and preparing all the delicious food (enough for an army. literally.) And just watching the families get to know each other was really cool. At the end of the night, the Scharas and the Bicis shared with each other how much love and respect they have for each other and how glad each are to have met the other and officially be a part of each other’s lives now.

Nicole and I are very lucky for our Albanian family. They really truly are our family and I am so grateful for each of them.


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