Albania Vlore

Christmas in Albania

It’s less than two weeks until Christmas and I’m feeling kind of Grinchy. I’m not exactly sure why but maybe it something to do with the absolute certainty that I’ll be alone that day. What’s the big deal; I’m always alone that day!? Time to snap out of it.

Albania is about 70% Muslim (20% Orthodox Albanian and 10% Catholic) so Christmas is not nearly as much of a big deal here as in the US, though I have seen some decorated trees here and there. Christmas cards are nonexistent (as are all other greeting cards) and I do miss sending and receiving them. I brought only one Christmas card with me. I sent it to my friends in Hawaii on November 25 (cost $1.80 US for the postage) and it hasn’t arrived yet!

I thought this was a really good article on Albanian Christmas….well New Year really. For the 50 years that Albania was a Communist country, all religions were illegal, so New Year’s was the big holiday of the year.

I did get a coffee grinder and it did solve my almond flour problem! Yay. If I shake it while grinding, it doesn’t even need to be sifted. The grinder also did a great job on flax seeds. In the blender, all they did was fly around and end up exactly the same way they went in.

My biggest pet peeve in Albania is the trash that seems to be everywhere (though the beach is clean; someone must be picking it up). These photos are the areas on both sides of the steps leading to my building. I keep forgetting to grab a trash bag and go down there and pick it up. Maybe if I did that several times, people would catch on?

My cooktop here had two electric and two propane burners which I thought was a great idea! In case of power outage, I could still cook! But the gas burners had never been hooked up so I asked the property manager if they could do that. The next morning the apartment owners showed up with a brand new glass electronic cooktop! She said that the summer renters have kids and they didn’t want gas burners around the kids. ?? So they switched the cooktop so I could have more than just the two burners to cook with. The new cooktop was slightly bigger than the old one as they used a power cutter to enlarge the opening in the countertop. What a mess; sawdust everywhere!

They also brought me a very pretty area rug for the living room. They placed it under the sofa legs and I didn’t realize until after they’d left that it was CROOKED! Oh horrors, my OCD antenna was up and quivering wildly! See how the border is way more exposed at one end?

The sofa was too heavy and I couldn’t budge it but the next day I propped one end of the sofa up on a small saucepan to get the weight off it and was able to get it mostly straight….it’s not perfect but at least it’s not nearly as obvious. I fear I’ll wear a path where I pass through to the kitchen so I’ve adopted a crazy little hopscotch-type maneuver so I only step on the red areas, which I figure will hide dirt a lot better than the cream ones.

And while we’re on the subjject of my OCD, here’s another thing that constantly bugs me…..the green stripes on the back cushions don’t all line up straight with each other! Oh the agony…..

When the owners showed up the other day I wasn’t expecting them so I was in my Staying Home clothes and I was pretty embarrassed. I wore really baggy fleece pants and a fleece shirt that clashed; no bra and hadn’t yet brushed my teeth yet; my hair was sticking up all over and the previous night’s dinner dishes were unwashed! The landlord is supposed to be coming today to check out the bedroom heater so I set my alarm to wake up early and be properly dressed, etc. Wow I’d forgotten how horrible it is to get awakened by an alarm! I can’t believe I went through that torture 5 days a week for nearly 50 years. (And naturally, it’s almost 4 pm and he hasn’t shown up yet!)


One reply on “Christmas in Albania”

Maybe if people see you cleaning up it just might make them realize how nasty they keep their city. So happy you are able to now make your almond flour, progress! The rug is really nice, can’t believe they left it crooked though.


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