This is the Albania that I recognize, after 5 months… after having taken almost all the necessary decisions to let this country be a part of me.
Sometimes not taking these decisions, just letting the days pass by with the deaf pace of the chestnuts sellers on the streets.
In the middle of the project, in the middle of the way, halfway to the corner.
Sometimes people don’t realize all the beauty that surrounds them until this beauty fades away, or for some reason it is taken away from them.
We usually look at others and think what a wonderful life they have: with no worries, no doubts, so perfect.
I do see this beauty, and it is not a perfect beauty, with pink houses and smiling parents taking their children to school before going to work, it is not made of presents under the tree on a Christmas morning, nor made of hot milk when you have a headache, good marks at school and fairy tails before going to bed.
This is the beauty of the small things, of the forgotten children of the houses who nobody ever finished to build up, of streets without end …
Every morning while I’m going to the school I open one of the bus windows, I let the air hurt my face a little, and I prepare myself to receive all those smiles, that it is possible I don’t deserve.
Then I remember that my mother has baked a cake for me on every one of my birthdays, until I was 12, that my first doll’s name was “Maria” and that my father used to sing for sometimes me so that I could sleep better at night.
This is probably much more of everything I missed.
Tirana celebrates its independence these days, all the elegant statues hide a little of the real beauty of the city. Everything that is underneath, everything that makes us close our eyes and walk faster for these old streets.
Sometimes people say that I see everything through rose-coloured glasses; and the thing is that if we didn’t take the time to find the colours, we would convince ourselves that this is not worth it, wouldn’t we?
And it is always worth it: for my housemates that take most of the place of this beauty, for the children and all the people that I have met and make it possible that I can still get surprised by this city, which only needs an opportunity, for all those mornings where I feel really strong and also for those that I would like to run away.
For the old lady in “Don Bosko” who smiles at me everyday without expecting anything in return.
Isn’t she a super-hero to be proud of?
Happy Independece Day!