Holes and Elections

I fell in a hole. These things happen here. There are lots of holes in the ground. My street just got a new brick sidewalk. It looks great but there are still holes.

Courtesy of my friend Corbin.

Luckily, I am okay.

I was approaching my house with some friends, they were walking ahead, and I could see our dog inside the gate and started to wave. Then all of a sudden I’m on the ground with a scraped knee and a bruised ego.

Falling in holes is a peace corps right of passage – one I went through last year when I fell into a drainage ditch.  A clumsy person accepts these things and moves on, Peace Corps is about resilience.

We were walking home from a post-dinner walk to the castle.  The typically peaceful walk to the castle was quite a different experience. The usual peaceful background from the castle also makes for a great backdrop for a political rally.

Continue reading


Çdo dite (Every day)

Every volunteer’s experience is different. This is a mantra that we hear since day 1.  There are some universals that many of us experience but the day-to-day life of a volunteer largely depends on the volunteers site and the individual interests and personality of the volunteer.

Here is my typical day.

Aisel, my counterpart, and me working on a project at a workshop on project design and management hosted by Peace Corps

Hanging out with the five year old that lives in my house. She was very shy but has warmed up to me and taking selfies.

Hanging out with the five year old that lives in my house. She was very shy but has warmed up to me and taking selfies.

Continue reading

The Streets Are Alive….

…with the sound of car horns

In Albania you live your life publicly. People often know all about you and what you do because you told someone and they told someone else and so on.

It is no surprise that celebrations, like weddings are also very public affairs. There is music and dancing for the entire community. The wedding party and guests will drive their cars through the streets blaring their horn.

So last night when I heard the horns blaring in the streets of Lezhe my initial thought was a wedding. However, a wedding didn’t quite fit the time of day, day of the week, or the season.

My next thought was soccer. Albania, like the rest of the world, is wild about soccer. I thought Albania must have won the highly anticipated match against Serbia.

I was wrong.

Stefan Mitrovic, a Serbian player pulled down the flag that flew over the field, a final act to end a troubled match.  Image Credit: BBC

Continue reading


Time for Thethi

This weekend I got to hike Thethi Mountain.  We took a ferry to Valbona National Park and spent a relaxing night in Valbona.  We then hiked over the mountain and arrived wet (it rained), tired and craving a good meal.

If you ever find yourself in the area I highly recommend camping or staying with Thethi Shpella Guesthouse. They deliver big time with good company and a great meal. There are some also great rests stops along the way serving up goat cheese, fresh water and other snacks.

It was a great hike and I have the blister on my foot to prove it.

Accursed Mountains, Albania

Accursed Mountains, Albania

Continue reading

Ku është Laurena? (Where is Lauren?)

This was written on Sunday but I have been unable to post it until today.  

A run in Shushicë.

A run in Shushicë.

Currently I am sitting in the internet café in the village that I have spent the last seven weeks.  Tomorrow I will become a volunteer and move to north-west of Albania to the city of Lezhe.  I will be working in the regional government office there and assisting with a variety of projects.  I will post more on that later.

Training was an intense experience.

Continue reading