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!