Back to the Roots #5

Coming back to Albania, I felt like coming home. Although it really is home away from home at this point in my life, a part of me feels like it IS my home. This past weekend, I had the chance to go to the country house where I was raised; it felt like even the air there was fresher. I went fig-picking, and I basically relived my childhood for a few hours.  I felt like I was returning where I was supposed to be, yet a part of me was not there. It is difficult to explain how I am feeling during this whole experience, but I would not trade it for anywhere else. The atmosphere in the country is definitely very different from what it is like in Tirana (the city), however, the countryside is what truly represents Albania since that is how most people live. The people in the country know everyone and their whole families; everyone is so close. For example, they trade vegetables depending on who-has-what almost every day, or if someone has veggies but no cow, they will trade milk for cucumbers. Even though this sounds very business-like, it is done with so much love. I admire the people here and their generosity. It is what I was missing all along. The hospitality is unlike anything I have seen in the United States, and I wish it could be more practiced in the US.

Thank you for reading!

Ermelinda

2 thoughts on “Back to the Roots #5

  • August 7, 2018 at 3:42 pm
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    Hi Ermelinda,

    I have never been to Albania but it was so heart-warming to read your post that I felt like I was there right along with you. It is so satisfying to feel that you are exactly where you are supposed to be, and to feel a sense of self resonating with the physical environment around you. When you come back to the US, perhaps sharing stories of your time in Albania and what you learned from other Albanians can help to spread the culture of generosity.

    Best,
    Jenny

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  • August 9, 2018 at 10:12 am
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    Ermelinda,

    Thanks for sharing more of your thoughts on your experience. Your story resonates with me on a lot of levels – I’m an immigrant to the States myself, and there are a lot of little moments that happen from time to time that captures the identity crisis I felt (and often still feel) as a person with feet planted firmly in two completely different worlds. You captured a feeling that’s quite difficult to comprehend for folks who don’t have this experience – thanks for giving me a chance to reflect on my own upbringing and moments of dissonance!

    Feeling reconnected to a culture that is simultaneously a huge part of your identity yet at times, relegated to the background can be a remarkably powerful experience. Oftentimes, these emotions are captured best through the small moments and observations, and it can highlight how culture shapes our values and ethical code. You talked a lot about a culture of graciousness and generosity – how do you think you can live out that part of your Albanian heritage when working in the States? What behaviors really stick out to you as prime examples of those values, and how may those translate in a US work environment? Your ability to live comfortably in both cultural contexts is an immensely powerful gift to leverage, and exploring how you can combine the best aspects of your diverse cultural experiences can really set you apart in any organization as a key component to building organizational culture.

    -Josh

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