Hard a bit to believe, but at my half a century age, this is my first intercultural experience abroad. Went by to airplanes, one from Bucharest, and the other from Rome to reach in Tirana after almost 27 hours travelling from my hometown. In Roumania, the people were asking my other collegue why to go to Tirana, and what to do there, and warned us that is dangerous. Tirana for others, has nothing to offer, and they also have nothing to offer to albanian folks. I had an albanian touristic guide, “Tirana in your pocket”, but didn’t read and studied to much from it, to not go with some very high expectation and prejudices.
I knew for sure that I was going into a place very different from Roumania,that has some similarities to it,full of people from Latvia, France, Italy, Spain and were gonna work promoting volunteering and active citizenship, doing social animation to children with different disabilities. And that was all. The rest was in front of me, waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. I was and still am sure that here in 2 months I’ll discover myself through those mentioned volunteering activities, interaction with the other volunteers, improve myself and gain new skills.
Tuesday, in the next day,we went taking a bite of Tirana, and went to the Youth Park, and to Shakesbear. Afterwards, went near the Politechnique headquarter and saw a bar named Boho(the one in the picture) with a quote on it “Some people look for a beautifull place, others are making it”. This fits also to us, to all the albanians that want to have a better life and country, to the airport guy that talked to my girl collegue, and to everyone that is in a neverending search for a beautifull place. You have the choice in your hand and choose in what side are you, in the one with the people that are looking for beautifull places, or making it.
Well, coming here was the perfect right decision to make in this moment of my life. I choose to make my life a beautifull place and be surrounded by people that make beautifull places. I wanted to take part in a change, and be at least one small wheal in this very big process.I know for sure that I am among people like me, who make the world a better place and live their life at their full potential. Do I’ll have difficulties? Yes, cause life is full also with difficult stuff. The language is with more letters than mine, the coin is different, the people look and dress different, the places are different, different culture and perception of volunteering; but the people no matter of the age( but rarely you can find old people to know English) speaks english, or at least know and call a person who can speak with you, know how to handle with tourists( they write you the price on a piece of paper), are very polite and amusing.
Tirana, and the albanian people has a lot to offer to foreigners: mountains, entertaining parks, palm trees, hospitality, kindness, cheap and good food, beatifull people in the outside but also inside, seaside, beautifull balkan music, cultural centers(for exemple Marubi Film Academy that I’ll visit next week to see some european free movies) and film festivals( Tirana International Film Festival that starts next week in 23). The only condition is to let yourself gone with the wave and permit spontaneity, fun, discovering the others and yourself, and be open to new experiences. Cause, for sure, Albania, and especially Tirana means new experience, no matter from where are you.
Mihai( Florin Anca) from Roumania