From Albania to America

In the early 1990’s a lot of foreign visitors were coming and going in our apartment. They were contacts of my dad. And he was kind enough to invite them for dinner. And of course, he was hoping to get something in return! At any rate, my mom was the one who had to bear the brunt of the burden as she was the one who did all the cooking. One of them was an English man from America, named Ian, whom we knew for a long time; another one was an Aromanian man from Romania, and then there was an entire family from England who decided to vacation in Albania in our home! My dad went around the whole country with them, and it was all for naught! Not only did the Englishman not offer any invite to us in England, he brought his neighbor with him!

The American Embassy had really opened shop in Albania at this time. They were even offering Fulbright Grants to those few who dared apply for them. A Fulbright Grant, those of you “not in the business” is essentially a year of university research abroad. And if there is a daring man out there, it is my dad. He really wanted to get out of Albania. I probably would have stayed put! So tipped off by a colleague of his at the Art Institute, my dad heard about these great grants and he headed off right away to the American Embassy. But as these things usually are, once he goes there, he finds out they had already run out. They had only a few. So my dad, I imagine, was very disappointed, but while he was there he met the man in charge of the Fulbright Program in Albania, an American called John. My dad gave him a copy of his book, and this gesture and the fact he even had a book, I believe impressed John. John was a kind man. He felt sympathy for my dad, and he was in a tight spot himself having no Fulbright for him, but he could not help him. Yet, a couple of days more pass, and again as these things usually are, John calls my dad with great news. A couple more Fulbright Grants had come in from America and he told my dad to apply. My dad applied, and the rest is history. In the meanwhile, my dad invited John over to our apartment for dinner; this dinner however was different in that it was a celebration. We never heard from John again. As we left for America, he left for Asia.  (Excerpt from)

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Fledgling

(Written at the turn of 2011)

I was born in 1983,
But I feel this is the beginning.

I was a baby in 1983
But I am a fledgling in 2011.

This is the beginning of my career.
And thus of my life.

Because I believe
To live is to work.

And to work
Is to live.

Now I want to work.
Now I am free to live.