Easter celebrations vary throughout Albania. In my region, people dye eggs red, gather with their families and of course, feast on different types of meat. Lamb, goat, chicken and beef make appearances at most celebrations. Whether it is one or all of the above, you know its a special occasion when you start to get the “meat sweats.” Pair that with a few shots of raki and you have yourself a regular ole’ party.
My sitemates and I were invited to a picnic celebration in the mountains of Kelcyre. One of the families they know really well, have land about thirty minutes from the city. They raise goats and have several other animals that live on their property.
We spent the next three hours sipping wine, eating and chatting with this wonderful family. It felt great to have been invited to their celebration. Albanian hospitality has never ceased to amaze me over these last two years.
Holiday celebrations here seem to leave me with a bittersweet feeling. Regardless of how close I have grown with the people of my town or how integrated I feel, I will forever be an outsider looking in. There is always going to be the cultural and language barrier which prevents a true sense of belonging. Which tends to only make me miss my family and home a little more that day. But that is okay. I feel fortunate to have crept this close to that dividing line, standing in the middle of our two very different worlds.