OK, so this is the first time in three years that I've had to witness "Black Friday", the whacked out shopping spree that takes place on the day after you just gave thanks for all the great things God's given you when you go out shopping for all the things you lack. Does this make any sense at all? The fact that people get up to be waiting outside a store at 4 am is just plain insanity! The only thing that should take place at that hour is sleep! Who on earth would put themself through the torture of getting up at 3am so you can get to the store for the "once in a lifetime deals" just to have to push your way through swarms of people and wait in long lines? Oh, and let me guess you probably put it all on your charge card because you don't really have the money to be spending, but who can pass up a deal like this? Take a step back and evaluate folks, what the season of celebrating hope and joy coming to earth has turned into! It's turned into a season of materialism, debt, selfishness, coveting, and complaining. Not exactly what Christ pictured his birthday bash to be like.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
One thing I'm loving here in America is free cell phone minutes! There is no such thing in Albania...you pay for every second you talk and every text you send (roughly 20 cents/minute and 25 cents/text!). So every time I call and it's free or rollover minutes, I have an urge to sit back and say "Ahhh, some of the best things in life really ARE free!" :)
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
One thing I love about being in the States is being able to take a shower and just leave without having to blowdry my hair! If this happens in Albania, numerous people will say "You're going to catch a cold!" even though I try convincing them over and over and over again that there is no scientific evidence of GETTING a cold from BEING cold (after checking with the doctor on our team, of course). They are convinced that things like sitting on concrete, leaving a window open so a breeze can come in, leaving the fan on all night (even if it's 95 degrees), sitting close to an air conditioner, and going out with a wet head (regardless of outside temperature) will cause near death pneumonia! Another favorite home remedy that I heard was for a fever. If you soak your socks in raki (moonshine) and then put them on your forehead, it's supposed to cure fever. I think it just gets your mind off the fever and onto other things (like the smelly socks!).
Another interesting thing about being home is having so much TV in English...with no subtitles! Especially when we get old JAG re-runs in Albania with Albanian subtitles. I kept flipping through the stations expecting to see Portugese soap operas or hoochie mama music videos (oh wait, they have those here, too!) :)
Monday, June 25, 2007
One thing that's hard to get used to in America is being able to flush the toilet paper when you go. In Albania, the waste system can't handle it, so there are little trash cans right by the toilet. It takes a few times of doing double takes when you come back before you get used to just THROWING & FLUSHING!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Vacuum sweepers are a luxury here in Albania (along with clothes dryers, air conditioners, bath tubs, etc.). So how do we clean the nasty carpet? We hang it over the balcony and take the course side of a wet, soapy sponge to it! Just one of the occassions when I wish people back home could see me now! :)
Monday, June 11, 2007
President Bush visited Tirana, Albania on June 10. Prime Minister Sali Berisha was all smiles! All over town you could find Albanian and American flags, as well as ones reading "We're proud to be partners." and "Welcome President Bush...making history". It was a lock-down secure day. No one shoed up for church except me because most of the roads were closed not only to traffic, but to pedestrians as well. Needless to say, it was a frustrating day to have my very own president here and not be able to get within eyesight of him. Meanwhile, some people had gathered at "Skenderbej Square" to welcome him. However, I felt imprisoned and couldn't wait for the visit to be over just to be able to go out! Had I been able to see or even meet Bush, the day would have been different...
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
There are no chiropractors in Albania! I've been experiencing neck & shoulder pain for about 3 weeks now, and decided to finally go get it checked out at the Korean-run physical therapy center here in Albania. It was quite the trip trying to find the place! I went to the road mentioned on their address, rode my bike up and down the road & still couldn't find it! It ended up I had to go off the beaten path down a very bumpy road and wind my way around the "Arab apartment buildings that are sky blue and white" and asked about 5 people along the way. Just as I was about ready to give up, I found the sign. It ended up I was at the back of the building and it was about a city block away from the road of their address. The bumpy dirt road made my neck pain even worse! So long mapquest & google earth, hello landmarks! :)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
If you think traffic is crazy where you live, consider that in Albania, the first thing to go out in an electricity outage are the traffic lights! And although there are several traffic "laws", not many of them are actually followed. This makes biking the best mode of transportation, since you also avoid the hassle of trying to find a parking space! However, there are times when you just need a "makina" (Albanian word for car that we use even while speaking English since it's a bad work in Albanian). But not a lot of foreign women drive, because, well it's just plain stressful! I ventured out to a local port city this past weekend with three of my teammates in a Land Rover. At the end of the trip, my teammates chimed, "We think you're ready for the Hummer!"