Tag Archives: culture


Albanians have this amazing talent of being able to look at the sky and know if it is going to rain that day. I don’t think they’ve ever been wrong. So if you want to know the weather, don’t waste your time looking online. Go outside, find an Albanian and ask them.

The other day it had rained hard all night long. I know because it was so loud, it was hard for me to sleep through it! In the morning, it was raining pretty hard still. But the sun was shining. A really weird combination. The weather forecast said there was a high chance of rain all day.

It had just stopped raining so I headed out for work with my rain jacket on, my rain cover on my backpack and an umbrella in my hand (just in case). I made it down stairs and the grandmother looked at me as if I was crazy. She asked why I had an umbrella. It had literally stopped raining  in a down-pouring fashion only 5 minutes before I left. But apparently I was crazy for taking my rain stuff with me. She said it wasn’t going to rain any more today as if anyone could tell by a quick glance up at the sky.

She was right.

It didn’t rain any more that day.

I was the only one I saw with an umbrella or rain jacket. I really need to learn how they can read the weather so well!


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Bring Your Own Chair

In Albania, you never know what you are going to see. Literally. You [never] know what you are going to see on the bus.

A few weeks ago, Nicole, Corey & I were on the bus coming back from the city. A lady gets on with a chair. And sits down on it. Apparently she brings her own chair. Which is fine. But this is a wooden chair.  A heavy wooden straight-backed dining room table chair. That it appears she was carrying around to take with her on the bus.

Let’s hope she was getting it fixed and was just testing it out. Otherwise, next time I might bring my own chair too! But probably a smaller more convenient to carry one…

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Fine Line

There’s a fine line when you are complimenting vs just being nice regarding your landlady’s choice for dinner. Almost always, our landlady wants to know what we will be cooking for dinner. So of course, we return the question. She usually makes byrek, beans, soup etc. etc. And we always say something to the effect of,  “Oh that sounds nice!”

Oftentimes, she will bring us up a bowl of whatever it was so that we can try it. Usually it’s good.

But sometimes, she cooks dishes that we don’t share the same taste in. Like beans with lamb’s heart. I’ve never had it but it’s not really something I could ever see myself going out of the way to try. We always find ourselves in a tight spot here because you can’t say that it sounds horrible. But if you sound too interested, she will bring a bowl up (and wait for you to try it). It’s a fine line.

Every time a dish like this comes up in conversation, Nicole & I try to keep our answers short. Luckily, she knows we don’t really like beans that much. So she hasn’t brought any beans up with lamb’s heart!

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Use What You Have

The other day, Nicole & I were walking home from work. Everything was normal. We passed a few kids. But some of these kids were playing basketball. It was kind of random because they only had a basketball and a few yards of space between houses in the dirt street.

Then we noticed that they did have a basketball goal. They had a metal chair (the older kind with a circular seat) hanging on the side of the gate. The cushion had been taken out so just the metal frame was there leaving a perfect circle (with 4 legs) as a goal! How clever!

These kids not only took advantage of the very limited space they had in the road to play basketball but they also took advantage of an old unused chair!

It’s amazing the [creative] things you can do if you just use what you have.

Sadly, the next day, I went to take a picture but it had been taken down.

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Adventures in Berat

Nicole & I decided to go to Berat, Albania for a quick getaway after Easter. We left Monday and took the long way home on Wednesday. (In our defense, we didn’t know it was the super long way home…) The only thing better than adventuring with a friend is adventuring with your friends! So Nicole & I were happy when we found out Corey & Jacob would be able to come with us!

We arrived in Berat after a fairly short & uneventful 2 hour bus ride from Durres.


After we checked into the hotel, we decided to head up to the castle which was at the top of a long & steep road. The castle was a great place for exploring! Continue reading

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A New Kind of Pizza

There is only one pizza place in the Kenet. Nicole and I have gotten to know the couple that owns it fairly well since we tend to drop in rather often. They lived in Italy for a while but moved back and opened the pizza shop. They were so proud to have “Italian” pizza. While it’s not the same as you’d find in Italy, it is my favorite pizza place I’ve been to in Albania so far. Continue reading

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Flavor of the Month

A while back, Nicole & I saw a new kind of milk at the store. One day, we stopped to pick up our usual blue boxed milk and we saw a brown box. We got really excited! We had never seen chocolate milk before in Albania!!

Imagine our surprise when later at the house, we poured out white milk. And no, it wasn’t white chocolate milk. It was just milk in a brown box. How disappointing! Continue reading

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