Monday, January 29, 2007


This is Mariah. She guards our building and is totally loyal. She sets a perimeter for us as we walk to school, making sure we get through the gate safely. She walks us up the stairs when we come home (only once has she had the motivation to follow us ALL the way up to the 4th floor). Whenever she sees us, she wags her tail vigorously. Mom, Dad, we know you can't be with us. But you can sleep well knowing how loved we are.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


We had a fire. A possible first for us in marriage. Nothing major, kitchen fire.

You see Amy wanted to get me a chicken the other night since I was in a lot of pain with a sinus infection. So she goes out to get this chicken from our local ‘chicken shack,’ a little place about a block away that serves tasty juicy broasted chickens. They cost five bucks. Isn’t it interesting how no matter where you go in the world, a broasted chicken costs five bucks? However, when she comes back, she has no broasted chicken. ‘Yo pule (no chicken),’ she tells me they told her. ‘Finish.’ So she bought a raw chicken from a grocery instead.

We decide, of course, to do our best to come up with the same kind of thing the chicken shack makes, but we come up with a baste of our own—honey, mustard, curry, butter—de—licious.

Everything was going fine while the thing was cooking until the fire alarm went off. Again, another genius idea of Amy’s for us to buy an alarm in America and bring it with us. Honestly, I hadn’t thought it was such a good idea. A waste. But now it came in handy. We ran to the kitchen and opened the stove to find a hot pad on fire underneath the tray holding the chicken. It must have stuck to it when Amy took the chicken out to baste it. I grabbed it with tongs and ran out onto our balcony, placing it on the ledge to cool.

The kitchen was filled with smoke, so we were crawling around on our hands and knees for a few minutes trying to get things back together. I don’t honestly remember what we were doing, but we crawled around for several minutes. The chicken was fine, though, so we closed the oven door and let it cook. It would have been pretty funny for someone to come into that kitchen right then to find it full of smoke and us crawling around on the floor like a couple of wild animals
When I left the kitchen and sat down in the living room, I heard Amy outside on the balcony banging the burned hot pad to death with one of my shoes, making sure it didn’t spread (over the cold hard concrete).

Our chicken was better than what we get at the chicken shack, but we’ll probably never try cooking a chicken again in Tirana.

Milan Highlights

We stopped in Milan for a three day getaway before heading home for Christmas.