a short term recap

Elbasan Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 11 › view all entries

So we've been here now what over a few weeks, not yet two weeks in Elbasan. Its different here than i thought it would be. Awkward- its one thing to be a traveler bouncing from place to place, absorbing sights and melting into streets or crowds, but to be in a place almost isolated from foreigner contact, trying to make a life here- it is so, so different. We go to places with purposes here, not to get lost. Only twice have we wandered around just to wander- every where we go we are stared at as the biggest attraction or biggest mistrust they've seen in years.

It will take some getting use to. The language is hell- just brutal. At first it was like, okay not so bad, but then we just got into tenses- holy hell- they have what like eight tenses, sixteen conjugations and all this other crap. They have two different past tenses that interchange interdependent on the subject or object of the sentence- and if you don't say it just right they have no idea what you are saying- so this will be rough. The locals say we are progressing well, but... doesn't feel like it. We are though pretty wrapped up with life here in a sense of awe and normality- if that makes any sense. Everything, the gypsie markets, the horse drawn carts next to lines of mercedes, bmw's, mafia and shady buisness men, old women and children begging, girls walking around like they just walked out of a gucci photo shoot... it's normal to us. but then we run across these simple little backwards streets and alleys tucked away off the main drags, or we wander into the castle or this sweet twelve story building with a rotating bar on top overlooking the whole valley and entire city.... and we are once again taken aback. I guess it was this way in Guanajuato or Quito- just surprises here and there, but its differnt here- almost like... we know we should expect it, but it still stuns us anways. Or better yet, it hits us in moments- in something that has become normal to us, i will stop and just think- "i can't believe this is normal to me." I thought that specifically the other day when we were passing the gypsy markets on the way to the internet.

So, who knows what the future holds for us this summer. We have been asked to help a christian/english camp in Vlora, a costal city of albania, but outside of that we have little to do or expect here. We read alot and study the language or practice it in our spare time when we are not walking to the internet or going out to the bank or get an espresso. Oh yeah, and they only like espresso's here. American or western coffee is not at all known here- i asked for an americano one time, just hot water added to one or two espresso shots and they looked at me like i was a creature straight out of a C.S. Lewis book??? Funny. We are enjoying it- we just are enjoying it in simple ways right now.

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photo by: d_ct30travel