Thursday, November 23, 2006


We did the unthinkable: we rescued two puppies. On our way home last Sunday, we found them in an embankment. They had made a nest for themselves in the grass. We had no idea what to do, but having heard that people often find strays and take them in, that's what we decided to do. We kept stopping on the way home and saying, 'should we just take them back and leave them?' 'what can we do with these things?' 'will anybody take them?' Anyway, we ended up taking them home. Travis prepared a box and Amy made some phone calls about what to do. In the end, we decided it was a bad idea for us to keep them. On Monday night, a vet came to our house to give them worm shots, flea medicine and check them over. The next day we put signs up at school, asking for someone to give them a good home. Wednesday, a highschool kid adopted both puppies. We miss them.

Sudoku and a nap.

Friday, November 17, 2006


This is Kruja (pronounced Krooya), a little town in the mountains about 45 minutes from Tirana. It's known for its shopping, attracting anyone in the market for authentic Albanian carpets and tablecloths, traditional dress, or any other national keepsake. There are also antiques galore. The main shopping street is less than 1/2 a mile long, but you could spend all day weaving in and out of the shops, searching through all the dusty treasures.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Update on the doughnuts: My friend went back the next day (unfortunately in the afternoon again) and the woman still would not sell her a doughnut. "You'll buy it and take it to your international friend," she said.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Amy: My friend Entela and I were out on the town yesterday and we came to this bakery that sells doughnuts – I’m talking the real thing: authentic, Sunday-morning-before-church, police-officer-hang-out, road-trip-middle-of-the-night-gas-station doughnuts. It’s 5:00 at night, haven’t had dinner yet, but of course I have to have one. It’s more than a taste of home. It’s a doughnut. We walk in and I stare at all the choices (half of which are gone since it’s the end of the day): Raspberry-jelly filled (with powdered sugar), Boston Cream-filled, vanilla frosted chocolate, coconut-frosted, etc, etc, etc. I raise my finger to point at the one I want and I hear yo, yo, yo in Albanian which means no, no, no in English. I look at my friend Entela who is sadly shaking her head. She tells me the woman is refusing to sell me a doughnut because they’re not fresh. “I don’t care,” I say, but the woman continues to tell me no. I’m willing to pay her any price, she shoots me down. “You’ll think I make bad doughnuts if I sell you these,” she tells us in Albanian. “No I won’t,” I charm, “I’m sure you make wonderful doughnuts. Besides, Americans sometimes like them old.” I turn to Entela, “Really, they’re very good old. The glaze gets all crunchy and everything. Tell her I like them old. “Yo, yo, yo,” the shopkeeper says. “Look,” I tell her “what if I buy one, and promise not to eat it.” I’m desperate and playing dirty now. She laughs. I laugh politely. I say thank you and tell her good-bye. She smiles and says good-night. I walk out, crushed.


After visiting Vlore we caught a bus to Berat, a 2,000-plus year old city about 2-3 hours outside of Tirana. It's been called "the city of a thousand windows", and it was absolutely stunning. Cobblestone streets, quaint little cafes, lots of was hard to leave. We stayed in a nice hotel for about $7.00 per person. If you come to visit us, this is where we're taking you.

One of the many narrow pathways winding through the whitewashed buildings.

This is one of 8 out of 42 surviving churches in Berat, dating back to the 3rd century. It's inside the castle of Berat. There are still people living within the walls of the castle. It's incredible to see their daily urban lives set against this ancient backdrop. While we were inside the castle walls, we saw a boy returning home carrying a rented playstation game, passing by crumbling walls that are probably a good 1500 years old.

Tobacco sellers at a street market in Berat.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A couple weeks ago during fall break we took a trip about 3 hours south of Tirana (by bus) to the seaside town of Vlore.

Amy and our friend Entela at a cliffside hotel in Vlore.

A teletubby keeping the evil spirits away from our hotel. Stuffed creatures of all types hang from houses and buildings everywhere for this purpose.

Travis being sacrificed to the gods of the Adriatic.