Dear Mama Xheni,
Thank you for being so generous. You work entirely too hard and I wish I could speak perfect Shqip and tell you to relax. Despite what you think, I can wash my own clothes and am a perfectly functional 22 year old. I will separate colors, I promise. If only you would tell me where it is you’ve hidden the clothesline. If only I could tell you that I do talk to my family back home on something called Skype, that I’m not depressed but am studying, and that one serving of dinner really is enough. I enjoy our routine every morning when I get up, you watch me get ready and eat breakfast and we say goodbye. I enjoy more when you greet me at the door every day after school and offer me an apple, which I gladly accept, and we watch the beauty channel together in silence. You have the biggest smile and it gives me joy that my Shqip is starting to sound like yours: harsh and extra expressive. If only I could understand you, if only you could understand me. Instead, with great pleasure, I receive your appreciative stare comparable only to the stare of the aliens in Galaxyquest.