I used to think that Bakersfield was the biggest small town in the world. Usually, upon leaving the house, I would run into someone at the grocery store or mall or gym (if I chose to go!). I wasn't prepared for that same experience here in Tirana. Maybe this means that Tirana is starting to feel like home! Yesterday, I went to Big Market. Seriously. That's what it is called. On my way there I passed the chicken lady. She's the owner of my favorite place for roast chicken. Her family has a restaurant out of their house. I love sitting on their back patio under the grape vines eating moist chicken and refreshing salad... Think I'll go there tomorrow. Sarah and I went on Saturday with hilarious results. Our chicken lady's son was covering for his mother. He doesn't speak a word of English and my Albanian is laughable. We managed to order a chicken and a salad (though we had know idea what kind we were getting). Normally, we also get bread with the meal. For the life of me, I couldn't think of the word for bread. Then I blurted out "beke." The sixteen year old son stared at me and then repeated what I said. "Po!" I shouted (which means yes). I got a completely blank look again. Two minutes later, he stands up, because of course he was sitting in his backyard, and says something like "Ahhhh, beke!" He came back with bread and sweetly reminded me that it's buke. Dang it. Off by a vowel. His mother and younger sister returned shortly there after. The son lit up his cigarette (which still shocks me) and explained to his mother our mutual confusion. Before we knew it, we had a free beer. So of course when I saw the chicken lady yesterday there was a great deal of waving and Mire Pacums (see you later!). I love that I recognize people!
I continued on my way to Big Market. I headed to the back where all the fresh cheese is and who should I see but my friend from work! Love it!
Then, when I was checking out, I ran into a father of a student. It was so bizarre. I'm starting to think I'd better be on guard whenever I go anywhere.
A student and her family sat by me in church. I absolutely love community. I've also run into this guy from church (no, I'm not interested in him for multiple reasons) twice around Tirana. We actually hung out with him and his friend at the pool on Sunday. Randomly.
So. The point of this post. For a capital city, Tirana is freakishly small. I enjoy that, though. There is a connection here that I wasn't expecting, but have found it a happy surprise.