That´s my second time in Albania. Yes, because first time was in September, for a training course of a week in Pogradec. At that time I didn´t know anything about Albania. I read just something on the internet before I left and I heard all the prejudices that people have in West Europe.
But I was curious! I was curious because I like the countries, for which nobody speak about. And I was curious because of two dear friends that I met during my Erasmus-Studies in Germany. They spoke me often about Albania and it felt really strange and curious that everybody there is able to speak Italian (ok, maybe not everybody but mostl of them for sure).
Last summer, a bitter-sweet summer, I found on the portal of my association the opportunity to go to Pogradec for a training course.
I didn´t know anything about the topic of the TC, I wanted just to go to Albania. I booked my Alitalia flight and on 22th September at 8:00am I landed in Rome and in a hour and half I had the flight to Tirana. At the airport terminal, I remember, I was trying all the time to understand and recognize who was from Albania, because in my region, in Sardinia, there are no Albanians. All I know are just two persons, two students of my university. But I had created an idea how this people could look like, maybe from TV, and actually I think I recognized some people.
I landed n Tirana at 10:50 am, in a small airport, smaller than Cagliari´s Airport (that, by the way, it´s not so small). I read everywhere “Shqiperia”, and I asked myself “what does this actually mean?”.
After a pause, a sympathetic taxi-driver carried me and other participants of the TC to Pogradec, and there came the first delusion: the taxi-driver couldn´t speak any Italian. I came to Pogradec and I met there a different world, with a lot of culture, and a lot of friendly people (for example, a night I was invited to a wedding!!!). About the TC, I met there a lot of interesting and cool people. One of them is now one of my project´s coordinators. But I was regretting not having been in Tirana.
I had this regret and I wanted to go there again as fast as possible. Though I couldn´t image that I would go there so fast!!!
After to weeks I came there again for this EVS project. It is incredible, a Balkan capital with a lot of dynamism and the typical characteristic of the capitals of the ex east-European regimes: that type of attitude to make parties and to have fun every day of the week.
You can see it for example in the Blloku, where are the most exclusive clubs of Tirana are, or you could see it in Sheshi Nene Tereza the day of the football match Serbia-Albania.
But, I think, the Blloku is the most representative symbol of the “Albanian Renaissance”, the Renaissance of the Eagles´ country that now is trying to really start to fly. There, were the paranoid regime’s autocracy lived separated from the rest of the population, today is the kingdom of the nightlife.
Of course Albania has still a lot of steps to do, but here you can still see something that we, in the “civilized western-Europe”, have already lost, like the football fields in Don Bosko, where the children play after the school without I-Phones or I-Pods…
Well, definitely we can still find here the genuineness, and the desire to grow typical of the developing countries. How do we say in Italy, “si stava meglio quando si stava peggio” that means “we were better when we were not”!