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Albania

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AlbaniaAlbania

Weekend of Windows.

Britney, Jon and I travel with the undeniably useful Lonely Planet. Last week, we just chose a page and went for it.  It was a weekend of windows – bound for the eastern reaches of Montenegro. We took a long car trip from Shkodër, Albania to Podgorica (?????????) thanks to a ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

This is what I see.

Most days, I walk past a small Roma boy on my way to work. He can’t be more than three years old. Even on rainy, bitter mornings, I find him on my street corner wearing only a ripped t-shirt and flip flops – dozing off on a thin stack of ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Wind

There’s no holding your breath in Krujë.  You’re too busy gasping for air.  For Albanians and any Balkan history geek, you’re also too busy gasping in awe. Krujë is the epicenter for Albania’s post-communist national identity, and birthplace of its most famous hero, Gjergj Kastrioti (Skanderbeg). It’s one of Albania’s ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Traffic Circles, Snow and Silence in Kosovo.

      Prishtina is traffic circles and streetlights, city blocks and tall buildings -- basic infrastructural elements my crazed Tirana life so very much lacks. The city seems to move in an organized, structured metropolitan bustle -- a feeling I didn’t realize I missed until I missed it. And this ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Little Baby Christina

At one month old, Christina can put up a fight.  She is misleadingly adorable in her fuzzy, pink pajamas. She seems so very cuddly and sweet nestled in her yellow blanket, snuggled alongside a dozen or so babies in this warm, dimly lit room. Nurses in faded blue scrubs are ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Convention on the Rights of the Child

Last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Albanian President Bamir Topi and his wife, along with a smattering of foreign diplomats and international NGOs, joined UNICEF for the celebrations at the Presidential Palace. I spent most of the day on my ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Into Dove Cave

I am encrusted in my own filth. Here is why: My friend Alexa (former Fulbrighter and Mjaft! activist) has founded the Albanian chapter of TAMAM (a Swedish-based non-profit focused on children’s rights and youth civic engagement). Alexa is mustering high school and college students (mostly studying social work, public health, ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

First Sunset.

Sunsets consume me. Its deep, complicated light permeates my surroundings -- and for a brief and relatively unpredictable stretch of time -- I am embraced by and absorbed into this otherworldly yet utterly natural presence of color. Sunsets blanket Tirana in faded pinks and purples -- that saturate the already ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Our Playground.

The State Department organized an all-day excursion to the Castle of Rozafa in the city of Shkodra. Marigona, Jon and I joined the Foreign Service Officers for their very school-field-trip adventure. The Castle of Rozafa was our playground: bright, green grass braided with pale, purple wildflowers -- golden lichen nestled ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Revolution Headquarters.

Wine Spirit is a small restaurant nestled into the basement of an old apartment building downtown. I have been there every night since I arrived in Tirana. I get lost in the soft, hazy glow of flickering tea lights and bright smiles -- welcoming handshakes and generous hugs. I join ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

AlbaniaAlbania

Good morning, rain.

I am sitting in my “office” (this baby pink spare room, which I have declared my academic/filmmaking workspace) shivering in my sleeping bag as I wait for the cold, blustery outside weather to calm (before I venture out into the city, on a mission for hangars, bowls, and a gallon ... read more

Jennifer Carpenter

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