Writing and painting in English and Albanian

I have started working for DAI, a USAID-funded consultant, as an editor under what is called a Personnel Services Contract. This means that I am employed on a temporary basis, for a fixed amount of money at an hourly rate. I’m editing their quarterly report, which was written piece-by-piece by the Albanian staff under the direction of the (American) Chief of Party. While the Albanians’ English is fairly good, most of them can’t write in any language. The report is full of run-on sentences, redundant language, and poorly structured paragraphs, in addition to the expected mistranslations. It is painful at…

An object-lesson (updated)

Today I took Cooper to the park, where we immediately ran into some of his friends in one of the fields. I let him off the leash to play, but I soon learned that the field had been liberally “seeded” with butcher’s scraps for the dogs. Cleo, the alpha dog of the group, found a bone and kept the other dogs – including a very eager Cooper – away, so I wasn’t worried at first; but eventually our boy got a scrap of meat and gristle off Cleo’s bone while she was distracted and ran away with it. Abby and…

January 2nd

Albanians celebrate the new year with fireworks and firecrackers, and at 300 lekë for 100 of the cheap ones, Tirana was awash in them. The crescendo had been building since Christmas, and it led to a 2-hour explosion of fireworks at midnight, 1 January. We were unable to see the main square from our vantage point, but it didn’t matter – fireworks were exploding from nearby rooftops, balconies, and alleys, some very close to our window, and unlike what the little kids were throwing on the streetcorner the night before (and almost every night before that), these were the real…