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A Change Overnight

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

My son sitting on our custom made Albanian mattresses

A good night of sleep can change one's daily outlook.

For the past 20 days, I have grumbled, doubted, sequestered hope, balked, and flat out denied any glimmer of goodness around me. Oh yes, I’m in Albania if you haven’t guessed.

Honestly though, this grey, Eyore-like phase didn’t have so much to do with being in Albania as it did with the horrible fact that I have not slept well, or at all since I have arrived in the Land of Eagles. At first, it was the time change which honestly didn’t take long to get over. Then it was the heat. The kind of heat that sits around filling rooms with sharp-smelling sweat and hot breath. And then, they arrived…the mosquitos. I hate mosquitos but they sure do love me…too much.

You try to sleep because, of course, you are exhausted from translating all day and rejecting the constant offers of food. You are covered in thick layers of salty sweat and then you hear it, the buzzing as they whip by your eyelashes and hum near your ear. You feel the microscopic pinch on your ankle, knuckle, thigh…and you’ve been ravaged. You try hiding under the sheets and it creates a hotbox of heat you think you’ll asphyxiate, so you come up for air and get bitten again.

The heat and mosquito tango has mucked up my sleep. Sometimes, I lay awake just waiting for the sky to lighten because that's when the mosquitos tend to disappear. Where do they go? I have no clue…maybe to sleep!!!! I then open up the patio door to let the cool morning air seep in. I'm then able I sleep for an hour or two before the Albanian disco music starts to thump outside in the hotel cafe…and then it’s time to get up.

Bleary-eyed and negative from the get-go, I arise and figure out what to feed my two peacefully sleeping mini-Albanians. I’m jealous that they got their father’s blood that repels mosquitos and allows them to sleep through the heat…punks. At three in the morning I “WhatsApp-ed” (Can I make that a word?) my mom since I knew the time difference worked in my sweaty favor. She suggested I go sleep in my rental car with the air conditioner blasting…she is so wise beyond my years, why didn’t I think of that?

So, I decided to go to war last night. I purchased the serious mosquito repellent…not the weak “family-friendly” safe version that had failed me. I applied the toxin liberally before going to bed…it was potent, and I’m not sure if I passed out from the fumes emanating from my limbs or from the sheer exhaustion my body was experiencing. I placed a floor fan (which everyone in Albania thinks is fatal and sure to make us all sick) so it passed over me. I then decided to open the balcony door (there are no windows of course), and placed the useless lacy curtain over it after I turned off the lights (because mosquitos are attracted to light). My attitude was like, “Bring it A-holes,” it couldn’t be any worse than the previous 20 days—and then, I fell asleep!

As I awoke singing, “A Whole New World” I realized I had slept the whole night through. I almost wanted to cry with relief, but I was so happy I decided not to! Suddenly, things were looking better, even though my situation had not changed that much, I certainly felt it had. The fact that I am still in an air-conditioned-less hotel room and not in my new home was more bearable and less depressing.

What is it about my body, (cough, cough) that entices these horribly vile creatures—the mosquitos, not the Albanians. Nobody wants that much attention, and why for the love of dear Jesus can’t all of Albania get air-conditioning?! I’ll tell ya why cause they would never use it! What would they be able to complain about if it were not hot as balls pray tell? And surely they wouldn't want to use it because everyone would contract a deathly cold and die from being comfortable…being uncomfortable and sweaty keeps ya alive ya’ll! Didn’t you know?

You can bet your sweet mosquito bites that my house in Albania will have ceiling fans everywhere and air conditioning whenever need it. I love you Albania, but I love my fans, air conditioners, and mosquito repellent so much more.

the cabinet maker who is making our custom beds, hopefully for sleep

The top image is of my son (my translator until he gets tired) sitting on the model mattress we purchased. We went straight to the manufacturer and he custom-made all our mattresses for us. The bottom image is of our cabinet maker, he made our beautiful kitchen cabinets cheaper than we could have purchased at Ikea. Of course, Albania doesn't have an Ikea, so this is how it is done. He also made my bathroom countertops, interior and exterior doors, and our bed frames...he's a cool dude.

What keeps you up at night? Or are you normally a sold sleeper like me?

Leave me a comment below...cause I'm in Albania and could use the interaction in English. ;)

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