There are certain things that I truly love about living in Albania- one being the weather. Here it is, the beginning of October and there are women still wearing white sundresses and sandals, and during the day we can still go out in short sleeved T shirts. Coming from Canada I am used to winter making its appearance sometime this month and forcing us to wear sweaters and boots. Some days I wake up and pinch myself (or P) just to be sure our life is real. We have two large windows in the corner right next to our bed and on days like today the sun streams in and wakes us up by 7 am. I sit up, slip on my slippers, and stretch- looking out at the wonder of the Dajti mountain with the sun peeping over the top.
When you live as an expat in an unusual country (and Albania is quite a different place to be), if you keep your eyes and ears open you discover a lot of amazing customs and cultural quirks. Look at the photo on the right. Can you tell what is happening? As I was making the bed this morning I heard a very steady drum beat and I wondered if today was a special day and if there was a marching band somewhere nearby. My curiousity got the best of me and I looked out the window and watched an unusual happening. There in the alley were two men, one with a drum and the other doing a sort of dance. Hummm I wondered, were they serenading someone with a birthday (like they do in Holland)? But no, they moved on a bit and continued their performance. Then I began to see what was happening. People would come out on the balcony or lean out their window and toss coins down to the dancing man. I believe it is an innovative way of begging! They slowly walked on stopping every so often, picking up volume until they were noticed and rewarded. Being on the 9th floor I couldn't really throw anything down to them, but I wanted to. Creativity and motivation should be rewarded!