Motivational Quotes 9/25/20

After a certain age, the race feels over and every year is a victory lap!

Those at the beginning long to be at the end; those at the end long to be at the beginning

To allow the current to take control, instead of resisting its waves, is to relinquish your destiny; to assert your will is to find your way back home.

What is, is meant to be; what never was, was never meant to be

Carry life on happily

Turn your weakness into your strength.

If you can’t beat the fear, do it while scared! -Will Smith

The self is perceived in meditation; but it is seen more clearly when reflected from another.

Life itself is always one’s greatest accomplishment.

Just as every story needs a happy ending, life must end in heaven.

Albania: the village

The village is an Aromanian village. I am Aromanian (also called Rremen or Vllah) on my dad’s side. There is no difference in appearance between us and Albanians. We do have our own language, though, which is similar to Romanian. However, we do not come from Romania. We  came from the Roman colonists and assimilated natives of ancient times. The village has three streets dotted by cute small houses, many of which are newly renovated or rebuilt. Strangely many are seasonally empty. Many people of the younger generation have found work in Greece and perhaps the elderly is the largest demographic.  Everybody knows everybody, perhaps for a whole lifetime, and many houses have relatives in other houses. There is one small church without a priest. But the faithful can always light a candle. A small school was in use for several years but now is closed as there are so few children, it’s easier to bus them in to the nearby town of Gjirokastra. I hear the population fluctuates increasing in the summer when emigres from Greece return.


In the village, I was stationed at my cousin Anna’s house, whom I am close with. But she had married recently and gone off to live in Italy. Just my luck. Her younger brother was around but I saw little of him till evening. We were roomies. Anna’s parents showed me great “village hospitality,” which is the only hospitality left. The cities have turned cold. Her mom cooked vegetable rich stews for me every night, often with fresh feta cheese made from milk from their very own goats. Her dad, meanwhile, works various country jobs and in the evenings he took time out to eat dinner with us.


The pace of life in the village is predictably slow. Very little TV, and no internet; truly I had no interest for either. Good conversation is your best bet at passing the time. Thankfully, for interesting conversation, if not a little absurd, I had Papo Nidha, (Grandad Leonard) my dad’s uncle to talk to. He is an old man but still of sound mind and eccentric as ever. Curious and open minded, he had many questions about America as we sat leisurely chatting in the shade of his grape vineyard in his front yard. Yet, Papo Nidha’s ultimate curiosity is not about the west but about the east! But I cannot fault him; when he was in his prime, Albania was allied with China, not the US; and as every old person sticks to the fashions of his youth whether be it in clothing, music, or political ideology, Papo Nidha still maintains an affinity for Communist China.

Strangely, it was not only China. He also likes Japan, “One time, in Tirana,” he spun me a tale the only way he can, “there was a tour group from Japan and this young man saw a young girl that he liked. She was a cashier at a shop. He told her on the spot ‘I like you and I want to marry you.’ She told him, ‘Let me go ask my parents.’ (Papo Nidha emphasized parental approval) She came back soon, with her parents blessing, and accepted his offer. They married, and moved to Japan.” Whether or not this tale is true i have no way of knowing; but i did catch a TV show while in Tirana that mentioned an Albanian woman had intermarried with a Japanese man. Now they were living in Tokyo with their 5 year old son.

I also had chaps my own age to hang with.  Papo Nidha’s grandchildren, Cousins Lambro and Pandi, were visiting from Athens. Pandi was very Hellenized. He doesn’t speak Albanian; but speaks perfect English. Lambro reminded me of my brother and had maintained his Albanian roots. I did meet with cousin Thoma, a warm and welcoming person. However, unwittingly he took me on a rather wild ride, an errand with a bus driver friend of his to buy a new window for the minibus. All that wind blowing in my face from the broken window, however, gave me chills for the rest of the day. His brother Dhimo showed me around Gjirokastra. On tour I was struck by the beauty of the old town with 19th century Ottoman villas and cobblestone streets. Looking on, I felt a pang of regret, knowing I’d leave soon. Dhimo and I settled on the wisdom, “Let us be well off wherever we may be.” I also met cousin Nikos of Greece. He hated Albania, he told me, and generally he was a lovable grump. He smoked, napped, and played dominoes all day. In other words, he was the perfect Greek.

The village is very small and that too slows down life. There are three restaurants but they are usually empty or closed. There is a tiny market; I did go there and have a beer with the owner, a family friend or perhaps a distant relative, as far as I know. One evening, I ran into an old man, a cousin of my grandma. Very nice guy, very happy to see me, and he felt as if I had materialized out of thin air. True, when you expect one to be in another continent, it must be quite a pleasant surprise to see them walking down your street. You know we don’t have villages, in America do we? Not the way they do in Albania. This village is so small, I cannot possibly find a counterpart to it. Of course, one could argue American villages are the suburbs. Suburbs have single family homes with yards. In this view, America is full of villages, more so than Albania. But the suburbs are gigantic, and thus not true villages. An American suburb would be considered a rather large city in Albania. Perhaps one could argue that small rural towns are villages. Maybe, but in my view, villages are distinctly old world.

Albania: The Name and the Flag

(in Albanian/ne Shqip)

The personal name Ilir has survived as a clue between the continunity of the modern peoples and the ancient. I lir means to be free in modern Albanian; thus the name of our ancestors, the Illyrians, can be thought to mean the free ones. This name is in fact in used to this very day. There are several names from antiquity that are currently in use in Albania today, such as Teuta, Agron, or Genti. All these names were ancient Illyrian Kings and Queens of various tribes. 

While some suppose the modern name for our country, Albania, to be derived from the word Alps, another more plausible theory is our name comes from the word Arberia, one of the ancient illyrian tribes in central Albania. In the second century AD the geographer Ptolemy, placed the location of Arberia in central Albania, but he corrupted the word as Albanoi. However, we Albanians call ourselves Shqiptare; this name is an abbreviation from the word Shqiponje-tare, meaning the people of the eagles. Our language we call Shqip, also an abbreviation of the word, Shqiponje, or eagle.

But let us ask, where does this name come from? What is its genesis? It must come from the eagles on our flag, the very same flag that our founding father, Scanderbeg, (1405-1468) raised up on the fortress of Kruja in the year 1443, when he established independent Albanian principality free from Ottoman rule that would endure 25 years. The Double Headed Eagle was a symbol of the Byzantine Empire (330-1453).

But there is yet more history to decipher here. Let us ask, where does the Double Headed Eagle symbol of the Byzantine empire originate? This image has a very curious history and a very ancient one. In fact, it dates back to over 3500 years ago, perhaps as early as 1600 BC, to the ancient Mycenaeans and Hittites!

Mycenae is the epoch of time that has perhaps Greece’s oldest civilizations that we know of. Even to classical Greece that started at about the year 600 BC they seem ancient. The Hittites are contemporaries the Mycenaeans of Greece; they were located in central Turkey.

Hittite Eagles from Central Turkey
Mycenaean Eagles from Southern Greece (reproduction)

Both cultures made use of the double eagle probably as a royal or noble family insignia or emblem. The Hittite Eagle however is a large 2 foot engraving, and clutching rabbits, while the Mycenaean Eagle is the size of a necklace. It is difficult to say who invented the double eagle; it is just as likely that each culture came up with it on its own. 

But let us ask, what is the meaning behind the double eagle? For symbols often have meanings or even good stories behind them. The double eagle seems to represent a crossroads, a convergence of the East and the West, and there is good evidence to support this view. About 1000 years after the creation of this symbol, a very curious story surfaces relating it to Delphi, an important center to ancient Greece with a religious shrine and an oracle to Apollo called Pythia.  

According to Greek myth, Zues, the god of the sky, released two eagles from the ends of the earth. Flying at the same time and at the same speed, they would cross at the center of the world. Zeus then dropped a large stone from the sky and it landed on Delphi, the center of the world, and a crossing of east and west. Indeed, Delphi’s original name was Krisa, meaning Crossing or Crossroads.This story seems to show the eagle is in fact not double headed but is two eagles crossing in flight.

To the Romans, who conquered Greece this symbol came to mean dominion over east and west. Centuries later in the Byzantine era, Scanderbeg, who lived in the crossroads of east and west, obviously felt most drawn to this symbol and used it for his coat of arms and for the flag of his people, the Albanians, who began to call themselves the Shqiponjtare, the people of the eagles.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-headed_eagle

Images:

http://www.hittitemonuments.com/alacahoyuk/alaca08.htm

https://www.harvardartmuseums.org/collections/object/59553

https://www.inyourpocket.com/tirana

Shqipëria: Emri dhe Flamuri

English

Emri Ilir ka mbijetuar si një hallkë lidhëse midis popullit shqiptar modern dhe popullit paraardhës të tij, Ilirët. Emri Ilir ka kuptimin i lirë/i çliruar. Ai është i përhapur edhe sot, e radhitet me emra të tjerë nga antikiteti, që ju takojnë udhëheqësve të Fiseve Ilire, si Teuta, Genti dhe Agroni.

Shpesh është menduar që emri Albania vjen nga fjala Alpet, por kjo hipotezë nuk duket shumë bindëse. Një teori më e mundëshme është që emri Albania rrjedh nga emri Arbëria. Një nga fiset e lashta Ilire, me troje në Shqipërinë qëndrore, quhej Arbëria. Ky emër ka kuptimin kopësht, ose lëndinë. Në shekullin e II-të AD, gjeografi Ptoleme gjithashtu e përcaktoi truallin e Arbërisë në Shqipërinë qëndrore, por ai e deformoi fjalën duke e quajtur atë Albanoi.

Në fakt ne e quajmë veten tonë shqipëtarë. Ky emër siç dihet rjedh nga fjala shqiponjë – Shqipëria, vëndi i shqiponjave. Gjuha që flasim quhet shqipe, e cila përsëri vjen nga fjala shqiponjë. Por si ndodhi që populli ynë u quajt shqipëtarë. Kush është gjeneza e këtj emri. Fjala Shqipëri duhet ta ketë origjinën nga shqiponja në flamurin tonë—këtë flamur heroi ynë kombëtar, Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu (1405-1468) e ngriti në Kështjellën e Krujës në vitin 1443. Skënderbeu e mbajti truallin Arbëror dhe flamurin e tij të pavarur nga Perandoria Otomane për 25 vjetë me radhë.

Simboli i shqiponjës me dy krerë ka qenë i pranishëm në të gjithë Perandorisë Bizantine, por interesante është që historia e tij edhe më hershëme. Pyetja shtrohet se kur ka filluar ky simbol të cilin Perandoria Bizantine e adopoi si të vetin. Mendohet që emblema është krijuar së pari në botën e lashtë të antikitetit. Fillimet e saj gjenden rreth 3500 vjetë përpara, ose afërsisht 1600 BC. Ajo është përdorur për herë të parë nga Maisenean dhe Hititët.

Maisenea (Mycenae) i takon epokës më të hershme të civilizimit Grak. Maisenean konsiderohen të lashtë edhe për vetë Greqinë Klasike me fillim rreth 600 BC — do me thënë Maisenean janë 1000 vjetë përpara Grekëve të lashtë. Hititët kanë qenë bashkëkohës me Maisenean dhe kanë jetuar në Turqinë qëndrore.

Shqiponja Hittite — Turqia Qendrore
Shqiponja e Maiseneas — Greqia e Jugut

Në të dy popujt, emblema e shqiponjës me dy krerë, është përdorur nga familje princërore, si tregues i një ranku të lartë shoqëror. Por duhet të theksojmë që emblemat nuk janë identike – ato kanë veçoritë e tyre. Shqiponja Hitite është e skalitur në gur dhe ka përmasa afërsisht 50x40cm. Në të dy këmbët ajo mban nga një lepur. Shqiponja Maisenean ka përmasat e një varseje gushe dhe është e larë me flori. Eshtë vështirë të thuhet se cili nga popujt e krijoi i pari këtë simbol — ndoshta ata të dy e krijuan gati njëkohësisht.

Le të flasim pak për kuptimin emblemës, sepse shpesh emblemat dhe simbolet kanë një kuptim madje dhe një histori të tyren. Shqiponja me dy krerë duket se simbolizon një kryqëzim të Lindjes dhe Perëndimit, një pikë takimi të tyre. Afërsisht 1000 vjetë pas krijimit të emblemës, një histori nisi të qarkullojë për Delfin, një qendër kryesore e Grqisë së lashtë, ku gjendej një tempull adhurimi i perëndisë Apollo, nga orakëll Paithia (Pythia).

Sipas mitologjisë Greke, zoti i qiejve, Zeusi, lëshoi nga fundi i botës dy shqiponja, dhe atje ku do të takoheshin ato, ose kryqëzoheshin, atje do të ishte qendra e botës. Zeusi lëshoi një gur të madh nga qielli, nga vendi ku u kryqëzuan zogjtë, dhe guri ra në Delfi. Ky i fundit u quajt qendra e botës dhe gjithashtu pika e takimit të Lindjes me Perëndimin. Në fakt emri origjinal i Delfit ka qënë Krisa, që do të thotë kryqëzim, ose udhëkryq. Sipas kësaj historie del se nuk kemi të bëjmë një shqiponjë me dy krerë, por kemi të bëjmë me dy shqiponja që kryqëzohen në fluturim. Njëra shikon nga Lindja dhe tjetra nga Perëndimi.

Për Romakët që pushtuan Greqinë ky simbol mori kuptimin e dominimit mbi Lindjen dhe Perëndimin. Shekuj më vonë, në kohën e Perandorisë Bizantine dhe asaj Otomane, Skënderbeu, i cili jetoi në kryqëzim të lindjes dhe perëndimit pa dyshim e ka pëlqyer dhe vlerësuar këtë simbol. Ai e përdori atë për flamurin e popullit Shqipëtar dhe për mburojat e ushtarëve. Kështu populli filloi ta quajë veten Shqipëtarë, do me thënë populli i shqiponjave.

perktheu: Lulieta Shetuni

Happiness happens

How, when or why does happiness strike? A few years ago I took a trip. To Albania, of course, my beloved home. I went through Washington DC. I was nervous. It was my first trip alone overseas.  Anyway, we were flying by night. We boarded, we soon flew off and there I was in the middle of the night flying over the Atlantic. Soon enough I ate dinner at 1 AM and listened to a random playlist of songs, as one does on long international flights.

I got up and out of my seat and walked over to the restrooms but they were both taken. I had to stand next to one door and across me was another young man waiting on the other bathroom. As we stood there, our eyes met in the dark, and I could see in his face that he was happy! I too felt the happiness of the moment … But why? It was 2 a.m. in the morning, we were both sleepless standing in the dark waiting for the bathrooms to open up? And that is a happy moment?

You never know when, where, or why happiness is going to strike. Why was I and this fellow passenger happy? The situation was novel, we were going to Europe, a very novel thing if you don’t go very often. We were happy because it was very late and nothing was expected of us: the day was over, now we could relax. We were happy because travel energizes just as much as it fatigues. And finally for no reason at all; happiness is transitory and inexplicable, like a bolt of lighting; you never know when or where it is going to strike. This reveals it’s chance nature, and its namesake “it just happens.” Happiness happiness… but it happens through meaningful activity. Happiness never happens just lying on the couch doing nothing. You have to earn it.

motivational quotes 12/23/14

An oldie but a goodie

George Shetuni

Don’t turn into a cynic.

Daily life is happiness to me.

You can’t enjoy pleasure because it’s always accompanied by pressure.

Don’t allow yourself to be idle.

Be mindful.

Stand for something.

Embrace your nature. (Gretchen Rubin)

No guts no glory (folk)

Try really hard.

If you can take the blame people will give you the responsibility. (Gretchen Rubin)

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Motivational Quotes 8/7/20

It is always a writer’s duty to make the world better -Ben Johnson

desire not more than what is meant for you

You can never enjoy pleasure because it’s always accompanied by pressure

Excessive good luck is not a gift but a loan to be exacted for in the end with excessive interest

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words, the way we treat one another, really do matter

Common sense is the basis of genius*

everything is impossible until we see a success*

It is the lot of some to be poor, and this is my lot, for which I have no remorse about. -A

Philip Randolph

True wealth is to know not the value of riches

A happy ending is so but temporarily;  soon enough the struggle resumes and takes on new form

*Emerson

Albania: The Bus Ride

I was now to go south to a village near Gjirokastra. My grandpa took me to the bus station. By the way, I feel weird saying my grandpa, as if I was 3. I was 30! Anyhow, I took a seat, the sole person in the minibus. As I was sitting,  I saw grandpa chatting up the driver and his assistant, as if to make sure I’d be in good hands, and it occurred to me what a charismatic old gentleman grandpa is. He was full of good humor and cheer, dressed in suit and tie, and even a hat, as if he were going to some fancy downtown office, not to a pot-holed bus lot full of dirty rainwater. Anyway, Grandpa stepped outside, a few people came in, and I waved good bye to him out the window.


The driver was a man with a comically shaped head and his assistant was a lean older man who reminded me of Regis Philbin, though he was not funny like Regis, but rather funny in a sleazy way. The minibus got going, and the driver was exceedingly distracted by everything to the side of the road. He would look for any reason whatever to stop the bus; the most bizarre stop that came to pass was a vegetable stand by the side of the roadway. Can you imagine a professional driver in America stopping a bus full of passengers so that he can, on his own whim, get out and purchase the likes of lettuce and green onions! Absurd. But that is exactly what he did, and us passengers were just sitting there, our journey made slightly longer by the distractions of this buffoon and his sleazy companion. OK, so then the  journey picked up some momentum, for an hour or so, but the driver’s absurd desire to stop was ever present; the pretext being to pick up more passengers, but the real reason I suspect was that he was lazy and always looking for an excuse to not do his job!


Anyhow, we passed a few hours and finally took a scheduled break at a roadside restaurant and shoppe. I walked out, as it’s nice to have a break and stretch, picked up a water and returned on the bus. The bus was nearly empty but there was this nice teenage girl sitting behind me, and so I thought to ask her if she knew whether we were near so-and-so a village. She was of that area and told me were approaching it. Although  I said nothing more, I could tell we were both friends, in a way, and I enjoyed chatting with her simply because she had that youthful charm that I cannot find in adults. Though beyond her, I caught the eye of a shady character in the back who gave me a dirty look simply for speaking…


All the passengers boarded and we were now at full capacity. Yet just as he had done all along, the buffoon kept up his unquenchable thirst for breaking for every single passenger on the road. He picked up one and he picked up another, and yet another, and then a fourth. And where was he putting them? There were no seats open. They were all standing in the aisle! But even that wasn’t enough for him. He had to congest the isle! Only then would his absurd desire find satiety. As the aisle was clogged with standing passengers from the back to the front, the idiot stops yet again. This was too much, and a young man from the back of the bus spoke up: “Where ya gonna stuff ‘em, oh master?” Certainly the voice betrayed sarcasm, concern and incredulity.


When my turn to depart the came, a young fellow near me who was travelling with his  girlfriend turned his head and winked as if to say goodbye. Yet soon enough this warm jest was marred by the crazy driver who suddenly turned his eyes to me in the mirror and made a sharp, hurried gesture as if he couldn’t wait to be rid of me and had been wanting to do so from the moment I got on. The whole way, not once had he looked at me even though his eyes went everywhere. I was rushed off in an unfriendly hurry, though it is true my seat was coveted by long standing passengers. I walked by the side of the bus to pick up my suitcase aware that the young girl’s eyes were on my face. I wish I could have looked happy for her, so as to leave a good impression. Unfortunately, I could not as I was too fatigued.

photo credit: Powers to Travel

Christ versus the establishment

Posted:Fri, 17 Oct 2014 on an old blog of mine
Today we who are Christians love Jesus and worship him and accept him at his word that he is and was the son of God. But did you know that when Christ was alive he was hated? Of course!  The establishment hated Jesus. Who is the establishment? The establishment was 1. the Roman Empire and 2. the Judaic religion. And both of these establishments hated Jesus because he challenged them and he questioned them. And if you read any words of Christ in the Bible you will find out that he was a tough guy, would not appease others and would not be appeased. He preached love God and thy neighbor as yourself, but he was not modest.  He spoke as a leader and he put himself on a high pedestal. So no, Jesus was not humble. He was bold.
Here is a prayer of Jesus:
I gave them your word; the godless world hated them because of it, because they didn’t join the world’s ways, just as I didn’t join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world but that you guard them against the Evil One. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. (John 17:14-16, MSG)
Clearly a man of conviction, and dangerous to the establishment, the Romans felt threatened so they crucified Jesus. The Jews likewise never liked or believed him. But hey, Jesus was clearly very good at what he did, because the proof is in the pudding: there are 2 to 3 billion followers of Christ today.

Albania: A Visit to Elbasan

After getting my fill of Tirana, I decided it was time to go off and see some other relatives. First up, was my first cousin Leda who lives in Elbasan. Elbasan is a city in central Albania, about one hour drive south of Tirana, but even closer now that the roads are better. It is the third largest city, but like every other Albanian city, it pales in comparison to Tirana, having only about 75,000 residents in the city proper. Occupied by Illyrians, in ancient times, the via Ignatia, the ancient military road from the Adriatic coast to Constantinople went through this area. Back then it was just a trading post called Mansio Scampa. Mansio Scampa grew into a city of 2000 by the 3rd century and was an early center of Christianity. However, once Rome fell, so did ancient Mansio Scampa.
The Ottomans set up a huge fortress here in the 15th century, that they called il-Basan, it’s namesake, meaning simply the Fortress. For the next four and a half centuries Elbasan stayed in Ottoman control and understandably turned Muslim. At the beginning of the 20th century the population had grown to 15000. During Communism the city became an industrial center enabling population growth. Recently, in 2014 it became the host city of the national football team, a surprise to me, considering Tirana is the capital.

***
My aunt, on my dad’s side, and her family lived in Elbasan. My grandma used to take my brother and I there as kids. I don’t have any outstanding childhood memories, though I do remember that she and her husband lived in a house, something utterly unusual for an Albanian city, as apartments are always the norm.  I have been to Elbasan twice since my family immigrated, once in 2004, on my first visit back to Albania. Back then my aunt and my grandma were still alive. We had a drink inside the castle, though it was “gutted” as I heard a recent tourist put it. This time, I sat alone one morning, outside facing this fortress, having a drink on the piazza, and truly felt an American on tour.

***
I have never been drawn to Elbasan. It has an industrial feeling, no doubt due to the decades it spent as a town with iron works and other factories. Someway, somehow, as happens to people, its trade became incorporated into its look, giving it a gritty feel. It is not a tourist destination and has no standing historical sites other than the Ottoman castle, which is large but does not impress. The social life of the city centers around this fortress, which also has restaurants, and houses.

***
My aunt was gone. What drew me back to Elbasan was her daughter, who though a decade older, I am good friends with. We had kept in touch through Facebook, enough so to warrant an in-person visit, if the opportunity should arise. This was a calm visit. Not a lot happened, but she and her young teenage daughter were gracious hosts to me. We chatted and caught up as cousins might, when reuniting after a few years. I was long lost American convert, who could still relate to my Albanians counterparts. We get along well. Unfortunately, she had me housed in her father’s house-you know the spacious commodity so unusual for Albanian cities, that I remembered from my youth-well, as soon as she went to work on Monday morning, her father, secretly rushed me off to the bus station and sent me back to Tirana! Poor Leda, she was upset when she found out…I spared her the fact that her father kicked me out.

***
But what a scene that bus station was! That was one of those “only in Albania” moments I witnessed. It was outside the fortress, so there was a lot of people watching, something I personally like. My “gracious” host and I were standing amidst a large gathering of people. “You wait here,” he told me. “There are no empty seats unless you rush in.” Fine, thought I,  there’s no way I can hussle my way into an overcrowded Balkan bus. I come from America, the place where buses go empty. So I stood there, people watching, and my eye caught this girl. She had curled hair, your typical brunette Albanian complexion, and was wearing stylish jeans. She had the aura of Albania, slightly yet unmistakably different from American girls. She was pretty but she was preoccupied, no doubt worrying about shoving her way into an overcrowded bus.

***
Then the bus came, and I can tell you, all of the people huddled in the station gathered around the door, but before they could enter, the people on the bus had to exit. You see it was already full! Only  a few seats opened, and it was a mad scramble for them. I never could have gotten one. I entered the bus with a delay, and took the seat my host had got for me. Give the man credit, he was good at saving a seat, though his motive was questionable… Only about half the people did not get on. I don’t know what became of my bus station beauty.

***
The ride went without incident. But I will remark here that I did witness a special moment. It was a sunny day and our bus now came near upon a mountain. In the olden days, when I was a kid, this route would zigzag around every bend. But today Albania had drilled a tunnel right through the mountain. My small country has progressed! Now you’ll say, big deal George, America has been drilling tunnels since Albania was under the Ottoman yoke. True! But never have I seen a tunnel as picturesque as that one. The traffic lights, the entryway, the sun’s light hitting the mountainside; it was a moment where Albania shined.