Sometimes I step outside the world of PST and realize just how much my life has transformed. Sounds odd, I know. It’s hard for me to even think or remember where my mentality was ten weeks ago when I moved to Albania. I knew two words in Albanian, I dreaded the then-awkward silences with my host-family, and the food I swore would kill me by now. And now, Shqiperia is my home.
Two weeks ago time moved so slow, and now it wont slow down. This Friday I move out of my host-family’s home into my studio in Lezhë. This concept was one of the hardest to explain to my mother: “Cili familje në Lezha?” “vetem une!” “Jo” - Increases an octave and repeats the question - After three “Vetem unë”’s and repeated assurances that I understand what she’s telling me, mama xheni gets my host-sister on the phone in Tirana who knows English. She then asks me yet again which family I will be staying with in Lezha. I yet again respond that I’ll be living by myself. The message gets relayed to my mother on the phone and, alas, I get a sigh. But not just a sigh, questions and genuine concern for my survival continue until well past my bedtime. “Who will cook for you?” “Who will hang your clothes????” I swear to you, mama xheni, I will survive. Albeit a little hard in the beginning,
At this point, despite numerous efforts, I still don’t think my parents know why I’m here. In two years perhaps they will. Perhaps I’ll have something to show them from my work in Lezha, or my Shqip will be advanced enough to get my purpose into their heads. But these are my hopes. Hopes are one of the dangerous things to have in Peace Corps. Some others? Expectations and attention deficit disorder.