I set out the door to purchase ingredients for chicken noodle soup. Inside the “super market” at the end of our block, I grab water, milk and noodles and hand the cashier $2.60. A little girl steps up and asks for a specific school supply and when she sees it’s .60 cents she gets serious and asks, is this a good one?!
We all laugh and I’m out the door.
Across the street I see that my usual produce friend is closed up. She’s always there, so she must be sick. I step up to the next stand and greet the man behind the vegetables. I ask for carrots, onions and tomatoes. He grabs a plastic bag and then pauses, staring at the ground for a moment.
How did you learn Albanian so well?
I shared “my Albanian story” of how I lived here twelve years ago and that I learned mainly from friends and the kids at the orphanage. He’s seen Derek and I walking around and had quite a list of questions. Albanians are a very curious and open people. Of course he asked about my family and the work I do. We talked about where he was from and where his wife’s family was from and how they came to live in Saranda. When I’m here it never ceases to amaze me that in five minutes we can go from not knowing someone at all to knowing every important detail of their lives.
And then he says, I know you were born in America, but is your blood Albanian?
I smile and say no. He asks a different way, is your father or mother’s family from Albania? It’s just that you look like you could be Albanian and you’ve learned the language better than most foreigners. Are you sure you’re not part Albanian?
Right then I felt what I felt so many times before – like I was at home.
I explain to him that my blood is not Albanian, but my heart is. He hands me the vegetables for my soup, flashes a broad smile and says, I believe you. We formally introduce ourselves and he lets me know I’m always welcome at his stand.
Walking home I thought to myself…
When my days are done (around age 107) I want my ashes thrown in the ocean so I can be everywhere (I’ll always love to travel), but please do me this one favor~
Bury my heart in Albania.
Hungry for More, Monique Alvarez *Have you downloaded my free ebook, The Hungry Soul’s Manifesto? It’s all about remembering what’s important in life – creating purpose and passion, instead of just passing the time amassing stuff. p.s. If there are typos, spelling or grammar mistakes in this post don’t worry about. Those are the kinds of things I’ve worried about for FAR too long. It’s time to just get it out and who cares if it’s not perfect, it’s from the heart!