I’ve been overwhelmed this week by the outpouring of love and remembrances for my birthday from not only friends and family at home but also my friends here.
In Albania you treat your friends on your birthday. The fact that I was at home in Lezhe this year meant that I could take out Albanian friends and colleagues for coffee and share some American brownies with the office. I am so lucky to have a group of friends and colleagues here who I am comfortable and friendly with and who, after 1.5 years, get my humor : )
For the weekend following my birthday I had organized a different kind of celebration. A few PCV friends gathered at Meredith’s house in Himare, a beach town on the southern coast. We swam and cliff-jumped and danced and went out with Meredith’s friend Edi the fisherman in his boat to a beach that you can’t get to by land. The water was the perfect temperature and unbelievably blue. Framed by the mouth of a cave on the beach, we bouldered and swam off the rocks and watched a few Albanians with snorkel masks pull up scallops and eat them on the half-shell. Going out in a boat in Albania is a rare and wonderful opportunity that I still can’t believe was possible! By now we’ve all worked our ways back to our various homes and jobs…but the celebratory mood still hasn’t worn off.
I just share this to say that this week has been an amazing end to a fantastic August full of work and travel and friends old and new. I am so thankful to be where I am and to be able to celebrate and share my life with you all. Thank you/Faleminderit (FLM), everybody! Turning 24 on the 24th was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
**click the image to see additional photos…