When thinking of a title for this blog,  “sad” was the word that kept resonating in my head so hence the title.

I am slow with an update on what is happening with our lives right now. As with the whole world, our lives have been turned upside down over the last two weeks. At the end of February, Randy returned to the USA to get started on prepping the taxes and to touch base at home. He was scheduled to return to Albania on March 11th. Six months ago Elizabeth had made plans to come visit Randy and I in Tirana arriving on March 19th and staying for 12 days. All those plans changed with the coronavirus.

On Monday, March 10th school was called off at Albanian College because of two diagnosed cases of coronavirus.  Randy and I decided that it was not smart for him to return to Albania so he stayed in the States. It was also decided that Elizabeth would not travel to Albania. So then I had to decide what I was going to do. Since I had not seen Elizabeth and her family since July, 2019 I made the decision to go to South Africa. I really thought I would only be there for a month at the most. With everything escalating so quickly, Randy and I had several discussions within the last few days about whether or not I should return to the States. Ultimately, I decided that I did not want to take a 24 hour flight back home at the risk of getting sick and then exposing Randy and Josh. I am staying in SA for the long haul. South Africa now has 225 cases. Elizabeth’s family and I are self isolating. School was canceled last week and we are choosing to leave the house on a very limited basis. The rest of South Africa is preparing to shut down on Thursday, March 26th. Just like all over the world we will all stay put in hopes of slowing down this virus.


Here are a couple pictures from Tirana as I was leaving. So surreal! Probably similar to many of your communities. I have actually been very proud of Albania for quickly reacting to COVID-19. Considering how closely tied they are to Italy in many, many ways it was a good decision to close everything up quickly. Here is a link to Albania’s current restrictions. Albania’s Restrictions


The airport monitor as I flew through Istanbul.

IMG_4439I arrived in Johannesburg on Friday, March 13th.

I love seeing and being with my grandchildren and their parents even though the circumstances are far from optimal.

For the last two weeks I have been spending 3 to 4 hours a day with distance learning for my Albanian students. My technology skills are improving daily as I learn to use one new app after another and then get my kids (and their parents) familiar with them. I am sure I am speaking for thousands of teachers around the world when I say it is a challenge to keep the children engaged and to make sure they  are learning the skills they need to move to the next grade level. I miss my students and being in the classroom very, very much.

I start each week with a short video just to get the kids (and me) prepped for the upcoming week. Here is the video I sent out last week.

Before I close this post I want to give you a quick update on our son, David. As many of you know, he is finishing up his residency in cardiothorasic surgery at New York University in Manhattan. As expected, there have been fewer and fewer surgeries over the  last week. David is expecting to be assigned to a COVID Unit soon. He has been told that all the healthcare workers should expect to be infected. Prayers for the safety and health of all healthcare workers worldwide.

I am so sad, sad, sad to say this may be my last blog post because I am not sure I will get to teach in Albania again. I would not be surprised if Albanian College closes down for the rest of the school year.

I am praying for peace and health for you and your loved ones as we move through this very difficult time in our lives.

27 thoughts on “Sad…

  1. Sarah, you and your family have been in my thoughts, given the worldwide pandemic we are all experiencing. I am glad you are with your grandchildren, daughter and son-in-law during this uncertain, “stay put” time. I am sure your students and families in Albania find it comforting to connect with you online. Thanks so much for the update, and please continue to keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God bless you and your family, Sarah. Stay safe as healthy. Keep us updated on how things are going in SA with the grandkids. Special prayers for David as he transitions over to COVID care. Much love to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah –
    I’m glad to hear from you & get your update although I know it’s one you’d prefer to be different. Am happy you’re with Elizabeth & her family. I will add David to my list of prayers. “Sad” is a hard, but authentic title. God bless you all – stay well, my sweet friend.
    Lisa. 💕

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  4. Sad is a good title for how things are right now. We will all get through this together though. I’ve started my online teaching too as of yesterday. My technology learning curve is a lot higher than yours but it’s coming along. Becca became a nurse last May and is working on the MedSurg floor. It is so hard to hear about all the supplies they do not have. Joe is in Tokyo and feels the government is not honest with them and trying to hang onto the Olympics. I did visit Kirstin in Tennessee this month and we had an early first birthday celebration for baby June. Four people came but with technology another dozen were present. I miss my old friends from New York so much during this time and hope and pray that Everyone is doing well. I’m glad you’re with Elizabeth. You must be bringing a shining light to them during this time to have you present. God bless you Sarah, it must be hard to end your teaching in Albania in this way.


    1. Lynn, thank you for your message including the update on your family. Congratulations on being a grandmother. Isn’t grandparenting the best? I am wondering what took Joe to Tokyo. I hope your distance learning is going well. I really don’t mind doing it plus it helps to pass the time. I am amazed with how fast my day seems to go with teaching, helping Elizabeth with the kids and then having brief conversations with my guys in NY on a daily basis. David has now been assigned to a COVID ICU floor of 16 patients mostly on ventilators. 80% of patients who go onto ventilators do not make it so the patient turnover is frequent. David’s spirits seem OK despite everything. How is Becca doing? Thanks agin for staying in touch. Hugs to you!


  5. Yes Sarah, We are all praying. I hope you and all your family will be safe. You are doing all the right things. See you when you do get back home. Reflecting you have had a chance of a lifetime, well done!

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  6. Sarah, I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. I know what it’s like to have to involuntarily leave what you love doing, knowing you’ll never return in the same way. I am relieved to know that you’re with family (especially grandchildren!) during this difficult time. I’ll keep David and the rest of you in my prayers. May we all come through this healthy and more united than before.

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  7. Sarah, I’m glad you shared with us – thank you. I have thinking about David; he will be in my thoughts and prayers. I would love to see another blog post of your grandchildren. How lucky Elizabeth is to have a teacher in quaratine with her! Please take care. Love, LB

    Liked by 1 person

    1. With time I will need to make another blog post about the grandchildren and this whole experience. Praying that your family, especially your father-in-law, are doing Ok considering the circumstances. xo


  8. Hi Sarah, I was wondering how you have been. I am happy you are with your grandkids but the unknown is scary. Will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sarah, I was so happy to see an update from you and to know you are safe and not alone. I have been wondering how you were handling everything in Albania. I’m glad that you are able to be with family right now, although I’m sure it’s difficult being apart from Randy during this time as well. It’s definitely a crazy time in the world, and I agree, so devastating to not be able to be in the classroom with the kids. Wishing you continued safety and health during this time.
    Take care,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So glad you are with Elizabeth and family. While it is such a difficult time, what a blessing that you can be together! I know you are a gift to your children in Albania too. Stay safe and well and until we see each other again, know that you are your whole family are in my thoughts and prayers! Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great update. Thanks for sharing. It’s amazing that the same thing is occurring all over the world. It’s great for us having Randy back at the Fire Department. I truly believe you made a smart, well thought out decision to ride this out there, and not get on a plane. Stay in Peace, Linda


  12. Sarah! I am sorry you had to leave those beautiful children and country. It is surreal.

    What a whirlwind your life has been. I am glad you will be with your grandchildren and kids. Please give them our love. I’m sure Elizabeth and all are thrilled you are there! Please send lots Amsterdam lots of pics.

    Thanks for the updates on David. Heavy sigh. He will be incredibly comforting for these patients.

    Sad is the perfect title. My heart is heavy for you with this sudden change up in Albanian experience and missing your sweet students.

    You are in our prayers sister.
    Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Sarah,
    Our Grandson , who is a jr at Hobart was taking a spring semester in Prague, and had dinner with a classmate who had recently returned from Italy and later diagnosed with the virus. Grandson was put in isolation for 12 days and during this period all exchange students except Grandson were sent back to US. We were concerned that travel restrictions would keep him in Prague when his 12 day isolation ended. Fortunately he contacted the US Embassy which was very helpful in arranging his trip home. Once in the US he was again placed in isolation for 12 more days, which will end very soon. It was a great relief knowing he is back on US soil.
    He now is in Buffalo, and taking his Prague courses on line.


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  14. Dear Sarah Thank you very much for your Update.

    Bring our regards to your family.

    We know that David, Amanda and her husband will have a hard time in front of them. We try to make a secure oasis for the children here. They think it is very strange and different without other children.

    Best regards Niels and Else

    Sendt fra min iPad

    > Den 24. mar. 2020 kl. 07.33 skrev Teaching in Albania : > >  >

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sarah, I was so happy to see an update from you and glad you are with family right now! I will keep you all in my prayers. Special blessings for David and all the others who are caring for us!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sarah, like so many others, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Knowing you, you’ll find the silver lining during your time in SA. Will be thinking of you all…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Love you and miss you my friend! Josh stopped by one day last week and told me you had gone to South Africa.
    I am glad you are with Elizabeth and family! I would love to talk when you have a chance.

    xxoo Cindy

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