Entertaining Yourself in Albania

Melissa's Fun in Remote Peshkopi

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Melissa was sent to Albania as a volunteer assigned to lead the people into adopting some of the more advanced western teachings. Although Melissa's formal assignment was that of an English teacher, being the only American in a small, mountainous town requires one to be more.

The work is hard and time consuming, but even the Peace Corps allows time for some fun.(3)

In the quiet, conservative town in the northeastern mountainous region of Albania, social life is very mild compared to that of the United States. Similar to much of Albania, the main activity is the xhiro, or the walk about town. Residents dress up and walk in the circle in the center of town for an about an hour every night.

Because Peshkopi was a Muslim town, women were expected to stay home. The men, however, could be found either walking with their friends or in a cafe drinking coffee, cognac or the Albanian liquor, raki.

Men and women had very seperate lives in Peshkopi, as far as a daily schedule. Women rose early to make breakfast for the family, then spent the rest of the morning and afternoon cleaning the house(Albanian houses are spotless) and making the afternoon meal for the family. Because electricity and and water were unpredictable, it took several hours to make lunch.

After lunch, women continued to clean. Girls were expected to stay home and do homework, perhaps enjoying a short walk later in the evening. Boys were free generally to "do the xhiro", go to cafes or play billiards, returning after dark.

A major part of the social scene was a visit. The visits were common in the evening. Family or friends would come over for a cup of Turkish coffee to catch up on the day or week. A visit is a formal affair, so the coffee is often served on a silver platter.

Peshkopi is much smaller in size to the capital Tirana, but the social scene and attitude is similar. For raves and concerts, it's best to stay away from Albania, but for pleasant evenings with drinks and conversation, any city in Albania is suitable.

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