Identifying My Identity #4

Hello!

It has been a little over a month since I have come to Tirana. Since I have been here, I have had the chance to analyze how I feel about Albania, and along with it, my Albanian identity. Having moved to the United States at a young-ish age, at 9 years old, I have held the memories of Albania very close to my heart. It is difficult to explain, but in America, I have never felt completely American due to the fact that I continue to practice the Albanian traditions. Since coming to Albania for the internship, I do not fully feel Albanian, either. This past June, I could say that I have  lived half of my life in Albania and half in the United States. In Tirana, I don’t know many people, so I don’t quite feel like I belong fully. Speaking the language fluently, however, helps in the sense of belonging. Furthermore, it has been somewhat difficult to get to know new people since I am at each specific part of my internship for only two weeks, meaning I have to meet new people each time. The sense of fully belonging somewhere is not there for either place, and I continue to struggle with it even here.

Thanks for reading,

 

Ermelinda

One thought on “Identifying My Identity #4

  • August 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm
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    Hey Ermelinda,

    Thanks for sharing this thoughtful reflection on a really personal topic – I appreciate your openness and honesty.

    I can really empathize with this struggle of contrasting identities. Growing up in the States as a Korean immigrant, I definitely felt like my life was a constant struggle between not feeling American or Korean enough. You are most definitely not alone in feeling this way – although that doesn’t make the experience any easier.

    I am glad to hear that your language skills are helping you feel more connected to the people and culture. There is definitely a point of exhaustion that people hit when constantly being bombarded with new things to see and people to meet, and it sounds like you’re getting to that point. If you are not doing so already, it may be helpful to commit to taking an hour or so each day for yourself – whether that be taking a nap, reading a book, or just sitting in your own thoughts, a bit of personal time can really help center yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed or overstimulated.

    I’m sorry that you’re having difficulties connecting with folks while you are in Albania due to the transient nature of your internship. Have you been able to connect with any other international visitors or interns? While finding someone who can relate to your experience as an American abroad may be a bit difficult, finding someone with the shared experience of being an international visitor may help provide a connection point.

    I’ll be sending you good vibes for positive connections and experiences!

    -Josh

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