Getting to Know Albania

We are settling into our new apartment after spending the last week here.  Our apartment has three bedrooms but only one of them has beds (we will need to work on that!), two bathrooms and a nicely furnished living space plus a well equipped kitchen.  The best part of the apartment is that the apartment rent is paid by my school.  Yay!  The apartment is on the 7th floor of a 10 story apartment complex.  There are several coffee shops, restaurants and shops at the base of the apartment.  It is in a very busy area of Tirana (see the video).  The school is a 10 minute walk away.  We will not have a car while we are here but walking to most places is not a problem plus for 700 lek ($7) a taxi will take you almost anyplace in the city.

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If you count up 7 floors, that is our apartment balcony on the far left.

This is a short video taken from across the street from our apartment.  Sorry the video is so large, I cannot figure out how to shrink it.

The following are several shops as you walk down the street where our apartment is located.

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There are lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetable stands along the street.  The produce is all very well priced i.e. a watermelon costs 140 lek (about $1.40).  50% of Albanians make their living as farmers.  Albanian farmers do not have the money to buy pesticides for their crops which means all the produce is organic.  When purchasing produce we do have to sort through what we are buying more carefully than in the USA but for the most part the produce has been yummy, cheap and  abundant!

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A small appliance/housewares shop…

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A hardware store…

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The cheese shop…

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My favorite, the plant and flower shop!  I can’t wait to get a few plants to put on our balcony.

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The bakery…

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This is the name of our street.

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This is a mall about a quarter of a mile from us.  There is a regular grocery store on the bottom floor then 5 stories full of brand new shops with the usual mall stores.  As you can imagine everything here is more expensive than in the street shops.

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Randy was very excited to find peanut butter for his PB and J sandwiches.   Most shops do not carry it and when we did find it, a small jar of Skippy peanut butter cost $10.   :0

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An Albanian license plate…  We have been surprised that in a developing country there are a fair number of Albanians driving BMW’s, Mercedes and Land Rovers.  Not a lot but more than we expected.  The Albanians were not allowed to have cars during communist rule which means they have only been driving for the last 20 years or so.  Their driving seems crazy at times but not much worse than many large cities.

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Good bye to Verizon and hello to Vodaphone, our new phone company.  Speaking of which, here is our new contact information:

Albanian College Tirana
Rruga Dritan Hoxha, Nr. 1
Tirana, Albania 1000

This is the school address because it has been suggested that mailing things to our apartment may result in us not getting them.  Our Albanian phone numbers:

Randy ‭355699891928

Sarah‭  355699891929‬

I have found using WhatsApp is the best way to text and call with family and friends.  It is a free app that can be downloaded on your phone.  After the app is downloaded all texting and phone calling is free as long as you are on wi-fi.

One more thing, please feel free to comment on any posts but if you would prefer to send me an email and you are on a laptop, click on the blue contact button right under where the blog says “Teaching in Albania”.  If you are on your phone, click on the blue words “Teaching in Albania”, then menu and then the blue contact button.  As I am beginning to understand, a comment is similar to commenting on Facebook while using the contact button is an email between you and I.  Please feel free to use either way to communicate as it works for you.

I just finished my first week of new teacher training and am looking forward to sharing about it on my next post.

14 thoughts on “Getting to Know Albania

  1. So excited for both of you. Very interesting blog post. I didn’t picture Albania looking as prosperous as your video shows. Your blog is so interesting. Keep them coming!

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  2. I have been waiting for your post. It sounds great. Do you get news from our church? If not let me know I will include in my reply. Marcy Stewart’s memorial is Saturday September 1 through Anthony’s if you want to leave a condolence .

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    1. Thanks for reading my blog! Albania is such an interesting country. We are loving getting to know more about it! Sometimes I wonder if I am adding too much detail but I figure people can skim over what they are not interested in reading.

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  3. Sarah, I am so happy to see that you are settling in and getting accustomed! Do they know how luck they are to be getting you yet? If not, you know how to have them reach me! Your pictures are amazing and I am loving living vicariously through you – I can’t wait to see and hear more! We miss you at DU!

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    1. And I miss Dudley! It seems so strange to not be preparing room 630 for another school year. I am staying plenty busy though with preparing room 107 for my new first graders. Can’t wait to meet them on September 3rd!

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