Culture shock

We’re here! In Albania!

It’s my second full day. It is starting to feel like we’re here for more than just a holiday. And its overwhelming on a number of fronts.

We’ve moved into a brand new, almost completely empty apartment that’s being generously loaned to us. It’s awesome but it feels a little like we’re camping so today we hit the markets to find some bargains to help kit the place out – primarily deck chairs so that we can sit on the balcony with a Birra Tirana and watch the world go by!

Feb 2014 013

We’re also in the suburbs – a big change from living in the centre of London. But the suburb is brand spanking new – eight years ago there was nothing here. Now there are roads, blocks of apartments, shops, restaurants, a school and a cable car up to the top of Dajti, the tallest mountain overlooking Tirana. And the development continues at great speed.

Feb 2014 020

While the hubby’s family has  helped make our transition the smoothest possible, there is no mistaking that this is a whole other world we’ve just moved to – from goats grazing on the side of pot-holed roads, to some very creative construction work.

Then there is the language barrier. I’ve never been a great one for languages but I can comfortably say my vocabulary has doubled since I arrived – not hard when I only knew half a dozen words before my arrival. I’m coping for the moment – but being someone who likes to chat, I know that learning the language is critical to my future happiness.

I’ve also become the proud owner of proper slippers… no Albanian home is without them:

Feb 2014 013

And the pace of life has slowed to a crawl. It’s awesome. There is no rush for us to do anything and the whole year is  yawning out in front of us. Bliss.

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