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Back to Albania...Again

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

an image of our new big house in Albania

This trip to Albania has been a doozy. I’m usually one for organized plans of attack when it comes to packing for our trips. This trip had me cross-eyed from the get-go.

Once I arrived in Albania, I realized I forgot necessary things like my sun hat, extra bottles of mosquito spray (how could I forget that?!), and rash cream for those—all-day at the beach rashes. I still feel unorganized even after spending over a week in Albania.

Perhaps it was because this time I was planning on moving into the house that has taken us eleven years to build. Eleven years! Just typing it now is making my eyes cross. How do you plan for such a thing?! I wasn’t even sure the house would be livable or close to being finished…(and unfortunately, I was somewhat correct.) But really, how do you plan for that? Moving from Las Vegas to Tennessee, a piece of cake. Planning a house in Albania…preposterous.

So currently, we (my two boys and I) are holed up at the family hotel a short stroll from our house; and where the locals are starting to come for some quality beach time. Not only do I feel like we are taking up space that the family could be renting out, but I also feel like I am homeless… nowhere to turn. No time frame, no idea what to do next.

taking a walk down the new bridge to the beach

The bags I packed for myself and my boys was somewhat easy, but there are technical limitations. The airlines allowed each of us a checked-in bag weighing up to 50 pounds, one carry-on bag, and one personal item—a purse or backpack. The large bags were filled with things for living in our new home and I used every single ounce! Window coverings and drape hangers from Ikea (which filled one whole bag), bed linens and Turkish towels, cleaning cloths, clocks, sponges, plastic dishes, shampoo and conditioner, and of course gifts for the family.

Then there were the necessary kitchen tools, knives, cutting boards, vegetable peelers, one good pan, silverware, and the list goes on. Could I have collected all this in Albania? Sure, but at what cost, and then there was the thought of how much cash could I safely carry around with me, and then the translation issue…oye!…It was better to just buy it ahead of time, knowing that I liked what I found…cough!…at Target!

my flip flops, one of two pairs

See, this dream home is special, it’s unique, and I didn’t want to fill it with “whatevers.” You know, “that’s fine, whatever, it will do, just buy it.” I want to fill it with beautiful things. If I don’t love it, I just don’t want it in the house, even if that means going without for a while. Snobby and elitist I know, but I figure, we have saved, sacrificed, and worked so hard for so long, we deserve to have something nice to show for it, right? I presume that’s what is getting to me, I mean, who really cares in the end right? Well, I really do, unfortunately. And so, I have forgotten a few key things for myself while ruminating on the needs of the new house.

Even our smaller carry-on bags, which were reserved only for our clothes, were overrun with some objects for the house. So the boys were fine, they don’t need much anyway. And the littlest Albanian still had space to throw in a puzzle and some action figures to play with. As for me, I really had to cut back. So I don’t have nice shoes to wear to an outing or dinner…who cares? And I don’t have multiple black day dresses to wear…cause that’s all I tend to wear in summer. But, I do have a walnut salt pig (a salt container for you non-kitchen folks) and a top-notch paring knife (a small knife). So who needs another pair of flip-flops? Well, sadly, this gal does now, but oh well! I am here in Albania now, and all I need is just to spend my first night in my house and all will be well….when will that be? Your guess is as good as mine.

As they say here in Albania, “kadalë, kadalë” or “slowly, slowly.”

As for my three 50-pound bags of house goodies? They are currently taking up residence in the back of my extremely dirty rental car, waiting to be opened and put in the new house. Kadalë, kadalë.

view of a random passing near the hotel gate, they were looking for the cow.

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