Immersion Trip: Day 6

First, I will start by saying that people who can blog faithfully have my full respect.&nbsp It has taken me eight days to get to this next entry, and we’ve been home for three weeks.&nbsp No surprise that I’m behind with my resumés as well … Today we went to Durres, the major port city of Albania.&nbsp Durres is known for the amphitheater, which was built in the second century B.C.&nbsp Amazingly, the site is only now enjoying a belated attempt at historic preservation, and houses had been built up to and into the amphitheater; the arena level is raised…

Immersion Trip: Day 5

Today we started at the Muzeu Kombetar, the National Museum, which has this mosaic above the doorway.&nbsp The museum collection spans from ancient Illyria through the current day.&nbsp We stopped right after WWII, so we didn’t get to the part that shows Hoxha’s excesses.&nbsp That can wait until we return. After the Museum visit, I went into a bookstore to purchase an Albanian language dictionary and some other books.&nbsp I wanted to see if I could conduct the entire transaction in Albanian, so I carefully explained to the saleswoman that I was an American and that I didn’t speak Albanian…

Immersion Trip: Day 4

For some reason, I was awake at 3:00 AM today and there was no going back to sleep, so I listened to the sounds of the Block waking up: someone in the apartment above us, trucks grinding their gears outside, dogs barking, and a truck picking up the garbage – although it being, Tirana, it’s just as likely the sound of a truck dumping garbage on a corner. You never know. This also was the first time I’ve noticed (and smelled) the fine dust covering everything. A few things I forgot to put into the description of yesterday. First, I…

Immersion Trip: Day 3

We had brunch with Mindy and Melissa, who will be our neighbors in the neighborhood of Selitas (assuming that I’m spelling that right; at any rate, we’re living off the Embassy’s housing compound). Photos of our house are to the right. The house has about 6,000 square feet of space with a garden and is ridiculously huge; we’ll be taking visitors once we settle in! We also were joined by Alma, Abby’s incumbent, so a lot of the talk was about Embassy business, but we also covered the general points about Tirana. Parties where people discuss Embassy business are going…