The first week back home ended wonderfully in the beaches of Southern Albania. I was able to get a boat tour of many near by beaches, swim for long periods of time, and even go kayaking. After one year of taking different classes and doing multiple jobs during summer, this vacation was just the perfect break I needed. In addition, spending time with my family made every single day even more enjoyable and entertaining. Seeing Melodi try hard to learn how to swim and eventually making it, made me feel very proud. She is growing up way too fast, feels like yesterday when Melodi was learning how to walk and talk.
The seven-hour ride back home, started with lots of conversations, jokes, and songs and ended up with both Melodi and I sleeping on each other’s arms. Only when I went back home, I realized that the first week was gone and I would have to start packing soon. Time really does fly when you are having fun!
Monday morning I imported to my laptop all the pictures we had taken the past four days, and then spend most of the early afternoon giving Melodi a pedicure. When she was young I would always grab a bucket of warm water with lots of soap, and tell Melodi to put her feet in there. She has always loved it, and mentions it all the time when we speak on the phone. It was so funny to hear her giggle because the water was a bit hot and also because she was so happy.
In the early evening I invited Melodi and some of the friends to go to the park with me. They played on the playground while I was reading a book, and then we bought fresh grilled corn on the street. After dropping off her friends, we went home and had dinner with our parents and ended the evening in our house balcony drinking tea with biscotti. I will always cherish these moments spent with my family, and all the laughter that follows our conversations every time we are together.
On Tuesday evening I went out with Harea, my cousin and also my best friend. Harea has just gotten accepted to one of the biggest medicine schools in Kosovo, so it was great to hear all about her excitement for the upcoming year. Harea’s family and mine always went on vacation together, so most of the evening we talked about our long vacations in Bulgaria and all the fun we had. It is awesome to catch up with her!
On Wednesday Melodi and I made Sushi, a type of food that I love a lot. However, my parents did not like it as much. That could be because it was not restaurant quality and also because they had never tried it before and it definitely takes some time getting used to it. In the early evening Melodi got her ears pierced, finally! She had been asking my mom throughout the whole year. I remember when I got my ears pierced I was extremely excited as well, so I do not blame Melodi at all.
Thursday evening was one my favorite evenings, because we had a family reunion at my aunt’s house. Even though the family in my mother’s side is not very big and many of us live out of the country, it was still great seeing my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and many of their children. We danced the whole evening with traditional Albanian songs, which was fun especially for me since I had not listened to those songs in a very long time. My aunt even cooked some of my favorite dishes, which she cooks better than anyone that I know.
On Friday I was trying to get as many thins done such as going to the hairdresser, doing some last minute shopping, and quickly visiting some of my relatives. Goodbyes are never easy, so I bet that you can easily imagine the number of times I cried in one day. In the evening I went out with some of my best friends, we had Italian Pizza and Turkish coffee later on. It was a pretty international evening.
I spent most of the day on Saturday doing some final packing and trying to hang out with my family as much as possible. We had a lovely lunch together, and went out for an evening walk. We discussed about my plans for the future, about education at Quest and how much I love it, and just life in general. At 7 AM on Sunday morning I gave Melodi a kiss on the cheek while she was still sleeping, hugged my mom extremely tight, and headed to the airport with my dad. My eyes were swollen for the next couple of hours, but at the same time I was starting to get excited to come back on campus to meet the incoming and returning students. I am very excited for this upcoming year, it will be a great one!
Thank you to every single person for making my short time back in Kosovo and Albania wonderful and adventurous. I am blessed to have such great people in my life, whom I miss dearly when I am in Canada.