about the author


The author of this blog (the one wearing glasses) was Peace Corps Volunteer in northern Albania from 2012 to 2014 in the “Community and Organizational development” sector.

Although I never experienced the cold war as an adult, that period of time has fascinated me for a number of reasons. In university I studied Latin American history in the 20th century, modern Russian history, and the philosophy of Marxism. To live in a formerly communist country had been a dream of mine which I was able to fulfill by serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Albania after graduate school.

By education I am an urban planner, having earned a Masters degree in the field in 2011 from Cornell University. The most memorable of classes I had at Cornell covered theories of development, such as why places do and do not develop historically. During my time in Albania aspects of those theories have materialized before my eyes. Regarding urban planning, communist societies build cities that are physically different than capitalist places. The experience of living in a different style of urbanism has been rewarding as well.

Before this blog, I wrote more specifically about urbanism on my other blog and covered topics regarding conflicts over privately owned public spaces and the role of urban planning advocacy groups. You can check out city planning related projects of mine there as well, if you’re into that kind of thing.

peace corps: now with kittehs

peace corps: now with kittehs


15 responses to “about the author

  1. Hello, we’re PeshkuPaUjë, an online, albanian blogosphere community/space since 2003.
    We are expanding to non-albanian blogs around and we’d like to add your blog feed to our list. Would you mind if I add this feed to Peshku? I remind you that there will be possible [moderated] discussion about your posts. If you have any questions you can reply to my email.


      • Hey, Joe!

        My name is Mike Bailey, and I’m a fellow RPCV (China 2013-15). I’m writing to pass along a big, heartfelt THANK YOU for taking the time to document your experiences in Albania. Your posts were very well-written and do a great job of communicating what your experience of living in Southeastern Europe is like. (Way to promote Third Goal!!! Woot!) And how cute donkeys can be. 😉

        Why would I be so grateful for the informative, reflective and detailed blog posts you wrote? Because in March I’m heading to Albania to serve in Group 19… I signed-up for a second round of service as a PCV. And your blog has been a great resource and ‘heads-up’ for what to expect in Albania.

        In many ways, our PCV experiences are similar (although, obviously, there are huge cultural and social differences between China and Albania). Still, it’s been fun to see things through your eyes — and this vicarious “sneak peek” has made me even more excited about serving as a Volunteer in Albania.

        In your blog, I particularly appreciated your thoughtful reflection on the meaning and significance of your service… and what the Peace Corps experience meant to you overall. So thanks!

        *Faleminderit,* Joe, for your service and for sharing some great thoughts on your blog. Best wishes for success and fulfillment in city planning or whatever direction your journey is currently taking you. Your many talents help a lot of people!

  2. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that we love your blog and especially the clever name! My partner and I have just formed an organization called Albanian Voices which will serve as a way to create a global Albanian community by collecting individual Albanian stories and experiences. We would like to talk to you a little bit more about this if you are interested, could we please personally email you? Our email is Albanianvoices@gmail.com.

    Thank you,

  3. I was recently in Albania and tried to findAlbaniananti communist art and olyfoudonethattopurcaed

    I would like to see more of your work and your friends anti communist art

  4. Hello, I myself am thinking of volunteering in an urban planning program in Albania through Peace Corps. If possible, I’d like to correspond with you about your experiences. There.


  5. Hi my name is Clarissa, I’m not sure if you’re going to get this…it’s a crazy random happenstance that I even found this blog. The universe works in mysterious ways sometimes. I’m considering applying for the same position you worked from 2012-2014. I’d love to talk with you about your experience and maybe get some advice about the application process and what not. If you do get this I’d appreciate any feedback, my email is ****
    Thanks so much

  6. Hiya. This is a similar post to Clarissa’s. I’m currently finishing my Masters degree in Urban Regeneration and Development and am definitely interested in the position you are currently working, but was wondering if you could provide some insight as to what it has been like to work as an urban planner in Albania and what living in the country itself has been like.


  7. Would I be able to have your permission to quote content from this blog and its comments, along with their link, to another forum? I find many of opinions here on Albanian culture, development issues, etc., to be excellently written and quite reflective, discussion-driving thoughts.

    • Yes, you have my permission to quote this blog. I only ask that you link back to the post when you do. Thanks

      -staff of dudewheresmygomar

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