Monday, June 12, 2006

Catching Up

A few weeks ago as I stepped out of the elevator on my way out to take Coco for a quick walk, I almost bumped into a woman who looked a bit surprised. "Oh it's you- and your dog Coco!" she exclaimed. Now I was the shocked one! "Well yes, this is Coco and I am Kim." "You live in this building?" she asked me. "I do yes, at the top. But do I know you?" I asked. "Well, not really," she replied, "But I read your BLOG." My gosh the world is getting smaller and smaller! And thanks to that, I now have a new, and very interesting friend. It takes time when you move to a new place to meet nice people and to become friends, but these days Tirana is beginning to feel more and more like home.

There's also another nice Albanian who has been a faithful reader of my blog for some time now, and we finally made time to have lunch together last Friday. His name is Bledi and he is so sweet. We met over a ham & cheese croissant at the French Patisserie and we really never stopped talking! We had so much to discuss, from Albanian politics to life in small town America! The hour passed much too quickly and we promised to meet again. I can't wait!

Peter and I were eating dinner on Friday evening at "Manhattan", our local pizzeria when we noticed two people looking a bit lost. They finally decided to sit on the terrace and have their dinner as well. We, being brave and kinda crazy people, immediately decided to invite them to join us at our table. And they did! We had a great time, discovering that they were from FINLAND of all places, and were here for two days in the middle of their Montenegrin vacation. It seems Albania is slowly becoming an interesting 'tourist destination' of sorts, and there are busses of tourists arriving every week. People are starting to ask me what to see in Tirana, a question that sort of stumps me. So if you have some good ideas, please share them with me!

As we sat outside enjoying our dinner we couldn't help observing the "cartel" that services our neighbourhood. We're not sure how it works but there are a dozen boys who run around "helping" you to park your car and we assume they extract a fee for their service. Then when you are finally parked in a nice spot, they swarm your door and try to sell you their cigarettes. I've sometimes watched as the older boys sit on the terrace and drink their espressos, while the younger ones do the real work, often coming over to discuss "business" with their apparent bosses. Life on the streets is hard in any city, and we see fights and bully behaviour all the time. My heart goes out to these kids and I wish I could scoop them up and bring them home for some love and a soft pillow.


11 comments:

Ms. Mac said...

It's so nice that you invited the tourists to sit with you! I hope one day I'll get the chance to do that!

There used to be areas in Glasgow where you would be approached by young lads asking if they could "look after your car" while you went shopping. If you didn't let them "look after it" you would come back and it'd be stripped! I hate seeing homeless adults, homeless children would make me lose the will to live, I'm sure.

Kim/Thomas said...

In Albania, I bet that would be exciting to have people recognize you, but in my small town upstate ny village, I would be downright freaked out:)

i'm glad you are meeting more people, I only now wish I could come to albania to have a croissant and ham sandwich:D those people are sooo lucky to have met you!
xoxoxox kim

Romerican said...

Way to go, Kim! Pressin' the flesh with the great unwashed... You inspire me to do the same. Next time throngs of fans approach my entourage, I'll swing open the pearly gates and let them bask in my radiance while signing autographs.

Truely, your spunky personality seems to draw you a richness in connections and I think it's wonderful. I think I might be taken aback at first if I bumped into a fellow building-dweller who read my blog. It's be fun, though.

DAI said...

Glad to have met you, Kim! I'm used to being recognized when in Tirana, but it was a real pleasure experiencing the 'reverse' for a change..:-)

Keep well and happy, my 'upstairs' friend, and will get together again soon; meantime, I'll say hello to NY and Toronto for you, ok?

Expat Traveler said...

ah - yeah that is so odd about those boys. It's so cool youre taking in people to a friendly convo. I'd love to see Albania, but of course we aren't traveling right now.

And I'm so happy you found a friend. I know that's important, especially for women who are at home (like us).

Dixie said...

Goes to show you that you can find new friends just about any ol' place!

verniciousknids said...

The compassion in your final observation shows just why you are making friends!

Nicola said...

This story reminds me of why we love you so much and why you are missed here ..........

Ginnie said...

These stories are what life is all about! I love it.

woman wandering said...

My neighbours are all seem so serious, I can't imagine them reading my blog :)

CanadianSwiss said...

That's so nice to read that you've found a new friend! And I totally agree with vernisousknids. :-)