Here are a few things I took for granted while I was gone:
1. The impeccable city artwork. The walls of the buildings are covered in murals, beautiful colors woven together to make the chunk of cement look less like an eyesore and more like happiness. Tirana had its fair share of art doused buildings, but the quality was poor, to say the least.
2. The beer. I know, I'm obsessed, but for real people! In the last 10 months several breweries have opened in the area. I had to ask about so many beers that I had never heard of. And I thought I knew IPAs....
3. The parks and backyards. You can go less than a mile in any direction of your house and run into an area covered with grass, trees, swings, and jungle gyms. What a privilege! Then there are backyards offering you the benefits of sunning yourself, sitting and drinking a beer, and socializing with your friends. Balconies don't have nothing on the comfort of grass. I just missed the green!
4. Bikes! Riding my bike felt like flying. So much better than walking or driving a car. Not to mention that Minneapolis is rated one of the best cities to bike in.
5. The people. Holy nice, Batman! Do people really think that Albanians are the most hospitable people in the world? I won't lie, I've met my fair share of kindness in Albanian, but not to this extent, and never with this many different people in one day. Maybe it was a language barrier issue? I don't know. Either way I felt very welcomed.
6. Live Music! Holy Mama. Don't even try to pretend like you have live music Tirana. If you had live music it would mean that even old people would come out to see it, and they would dance to it. That is live music.
Things I did while I was there:
1. Drank waaaaayy too much IPA. Except I still haven't had enough to make up for the year of Pilsners.
2. Watched live music from the following bands: Roe Family Singers, Armstrong Clawhammer, Pert Near Sandstone, Trampled by Turtles, Brady Perl and the Kinfolk Choir, Reverend Daryn Christenson, Pocahontas County, and one other Jazz band that I can't remember the name of.
3. Went out to the 3 most popular college bars with my college friends.
4. Went shopping at the mall of America (worst experience ever!)
5. Spent 2 weeks paycheck at REI
6. Sat and stared at my brother's ceiling covered in artwork
Song that describes my week there: