This is an attempt to capture how I had been feeling about leaving Albania in my final months of service there. Who had I become after these two years and what would become of this person?
From vomit stories, surprising literate shepherds, and regretful romance, odd moments are bound to happen when an American lives in Northern Albania for two years. This is a modest attempt to record a few.
Albania finds itself fairing pretty poorly among other European and Balkan neighbors regarding the rights of women and gender equality. With all this in mind I knew that women’s empowerment was an issue I wanted to address during my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in northern Albania.
After having lived in big american cities, life in a small town in Albania proved to be a kind of double culture shock. For better or worse, it isn’t important who you are as much as whose you are.
Some six months after ending my Peace Corps service, I’m trying to look back with more neutral eyes. Considering the difficulties of finding fulfilling work and fitting into a small rural Albanian town, was my two years in Peace Corps worth it? Would I do it all again?
Enter the 28 year old male American Peace Corps Volunteer who without realizing it, will remind Albanian mothers of their sons who live abroad and will provoke sadness as well as motherly compassion.
adding up all the things Albanians asked for help with, (besides emigrating to America) the most common request was “teach me English.” Neither I nor my site mate are part of the English teaching sector but we nonetheless decided to give it a shot.