I arrived in Europe a little over a week ago and instead of coming straight to Albania where my internship is located, I decided to spend a few days in Montenegro where my family is originally from. The last time I was there was about 10 or 11 years ag0, so a visit was long overdue. It was a bit of a culture shock though; I am from the city of Detroit which is a very urban and populated place and I quickly found myself on a farm on the side of a mountain, in the middle of nowhere, with cows and sheep just roaming around. (The word ‘shock’ is really an understatement)
Although I was internally freaking out nearly the whole time, I must admit it was really great seeing family for the first time in a decade and reconnecting with cousins that I’ve only had contact with through Instagram and Facebook. My cousin Fatjon was also nice enough to drive me around so I could escape the farm. So, on my second day there he took my father and me to a city in northern Albania called Shkoder. The weather was horrible but we ate at this beautiful restaurant on the water and got coffee after (pictures below). The next day we took a 4-hour road trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Anyone reading this who is a ‘Game of Thrones’ fan can definitely guess the amount of excitement I felt going there. To say it was beautiful is an understatement. The architecture, history, beaches, people, and overall liveliness of this city was magnificent. I got to go up the castle walls and take some amazing pictures of the city, too.
My last day in Montenegro was spent relaxing with family. I got to go have coffee with a couple of my cousins at night and then headed home to repack my stuff. The drive to Tirana, Albania (the capital) was only about 3 hours. Entering the city, we were met with insane traffic – I’m talking US style. But once we got through and were able to look around, I could really see how quaintly beautiful Tirana is. It’s a busy city with people walking around and talking, and the restaurants and coffee shops are full of younger and older people hanging out. It seems modern and eager to become the type of bustling city one would find in Western Europe. I’m happy I chose here to embark on my very first internship and am excited to explore the city!