By simply living with our Albanian family, Nicole & I have inadvertently Americanized them in the process. Ok maybe they haven’t become Americanized but the adults are showing signs of at least becoming more aware of some of our Americanisms! Because let’s be honest. Nicole and I can’t be Albanian 24/7 and when you are living with a family 24/7, they are going to see you when you are taking your “American” culture breaks.
Our landlady took the time to explain that it’s our house (not her’s anymore) when the family ate dinner at our house. Perhaps this was just her way of saying if they saw cobwebs or dust or other little dirty patches it’s because it’s not her house. AKA the Americans clean it. Fine with me. I don’t think I will ever be able to clean as good or as often as an Albanian!
She told them not to go looking through all our stuff when everyone ate at our house. Albanians are curious by nature. There’s nothing wrong with that. Except our landlady knows that we have a bit more than the average Albanian probably has in their kitchen and knows we try not to show it . So it was great for her to think of this.
She told us to lock our bedroom doors just in case people got curious when they were at our house for dinner. They wouldn’t take anything. But like I said, Albanians are curious by nature. So add that extra dose to the curiosity of a kid and well, it’s just easier to lock the door. She didn’t tell us to lock the doors if we wanted. She told us, “Lock the doors.”
She said to lock the front door to keep the kids out when Nicole was sick and sleeping a lot, even though that meant she was locked out too. Albanians feel you should never be alone. Especially when you are sick. They even do “sick” visits where they come visit your house and visit with the sick person. Even if they are deathly ill. Well maybe not then. But probably only if they were told no. Luckily, they know us well enough to do a short sick visit. Once. Then check on Nicole if she’s up.
Our family now takes no for an answer. When we tell them we aren’t cold and we don’t need to get warmed up at that exact moment by their woodstove, they don’t make us go down with them. They actually say “Ok. You know.” Even if we said no before, they wouldn’t leave without us. This is an improvement.
They no longer send a babysitter up during the day. If Nicole and I aren’t both home, they used to feel the need to send one of the kids up to babysit us so we wouldn’t be alone. Because in Albania, no one is alone. Ever. EVER. Now, they just tell is if we get lonely, come downstairs with them.
They may not be taking on our “American” mindset but they are at least becoming more aware of them and are adapting to them (even if it’s just to make us more comfortable!)