Coffee is a great expression of friendship here in Albania. When someone invites you over for coffee it is more than just a polite gesture. It is a true expression of saying “I like you. Let’s spend some time together.” By visiting someone and allowing them to serve you coffee, you are showing honor and friendship to your host.
I went today to have coffee with my neighbor. They have 4 children ages 6-16 and the boys play together quite a lot. Their boys, Armando and Gjemi are older but Austin and Tyler have forged a bond over futbol (soccer) and bikes. They all learn a lot of language through playing, English and Albanian. Their youngest daughter, Uendi (Wendy) is 6 and she LOVES Jadyn. They all do really so it is a great conversation starter. I was so proud of myself because I could really carry on a whole conversation in Albanian and really understood almost everything. They are so patient with me. I took muffins and she made coffee and we talked for an hour. What an accomplishment! YEAH! Visiting is a good thing to do when there is no power…. as soon as the lights came on we parted ways… laundry to do, dishes to wash , lunch to make! 🙂
Well it is just an ordinary day to all other here in Albania, but to us the celebrated and coveted day of feasting for THANKSGIVING! We gathered with about 25 people in the Upper Room at the Dabney’s home for a day of turkey (yes, we do have those here and no, we don’t have to kill them and pluck them), ham, potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole (Amy, the team was all VERY thankful for the Durkee’s onions… thank you!) and more! We went around the table and shared what we were thankful for this year- God’s grace is certainly the biggest factor in all of our thanksgivings.
So the Wheelis family, what are we thankful for this year? Well… it must be the precious prize we have in our daughter and celebrating her first Thanksgiving! It was THREE years ago this month, that we first submitted our paperwork to America World Adoption Agency to start the process which led us to her! WOW!
Blessings to you and yours!
Starting today at 6pm the water for the whole city of Tirana will be shut off for a period of (hopefully) 24 hours. There are major repairs begin done to the water supply line. The water is supposed to be turned back on Tuesday morning… how much this will really be true remains to be seen. We are again thanking God that we have a large reservoir tank for water. It fills up when the water is on and we have a steady supply throughout the day (well, when the power is running). Those who do not have tanks throughout the city will truly be without water as long as the repairs are being made. Let’s pray that it does not last more than the scheduled 24 hours!
Our house helper Linda has been such a blessing to us over the last 5 months. I swear that she can clean our house with only a few bottles of water and no electricity better than I could have ever imagined! And she does it while dotting on Jadyn so that I can attend language lessons. She is also a great help to both of us in practicing language. Because she is someone we trust and we have a good relationship, we both feel comfortable to “try out” our new phrases and words on Linda and she is ever patient in helping us negotiate meaning!
Last week, our friend Melodye called and asked me to pray for Linda (Linda also helps at Melodye’s house, cleaning and watching her son, Jonathan). Linda and her family live with her husband’s parents. This is very common in Albanian culture that a son and his wife would live with his parents. Only recently are we seeing young couples move out on their own as the economy and culture is changing. Linda, her husband Gjergji and son Ergi, live in one room on the second floor of Gjergi’s parents home. Recently it has become a difficult situation. Gjergji’s parents have been yelling and threatening them, telling them to move out. They have no where to go and no money with which to rent or buy another house. Gjergji has said to his parents “Where would we go?” They finally have had to contact the police who have come and talked with the parents and instructed them not to make anymore threats. There is concern that there is a mental health issue, especially where the father is concerned.
Please pray for peace in their home. Please pray that they will find ways of talking together and living together in harmony. We know that only Jesus can completely redeem this situation. Please pray for wisdom and patience on the part of Linda and her husband Gjergji. And pray that we will continue to offer hope as we pray with them and offer our friendship and support.
I could not resist posting this great picture of my new niece and my brother’s dog Dozer. When Jadyn saw the picture she said “baby” and them “hum, hum.” This is how dogs go in Albanian (not woof, woof). Austin and Tyler said, “There’s Dozer…. with some baby…..”
I have a new niece! My brother and his beautiful wife Susanne had a baby girl on Tuesday. Isn’t she a beauty? We are anxiously awaiting new photos (hint, hint) but know that Mom and baby are resting at home and doing great!
Driving continues to be an adventure here in Albania. We still do not have our own car, but by the grace of God, we have had one to use since mid-July- no always the same one mind you. Our current car is a affectionately nicknamed “the ghetto car.” Traffic in Albania continues to be a lesson in trusting God. With only 15 years of driving history, signs in the back window of cars “shoferi e ri” (new driver) are common. Never mind that the driver maybe 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years old!
This month we have seen a big crack down by the police on illegal parking (double and sometimes triple parking on bus streets), obeying street lights (albeit only when the power is on), and restricting access to one way streets. This all makes for great improvements on the roads but they can’t be everywhere….
Today when I took the makina (car) to pick up the boys from soccer, I left only with enough time to get there if I encountered no obstacles or problems. In general, this is not a good idea. So when I turned down the narrow road that will take me out the main street, I was a little disheartened to see a car coming toward me. This could take a while….
Cars are parked along both sides of the street so only one car can pass through. There are however, a few places where one car can move over enough to allow the other to pass by with centimeters to spare. The car in front of me has moved over to allow the car coming toward us to pass. I am waiting a few yards back, waiting for my turn. And WHACK! In trying to over compensate for the car on his right, he hits the parked car on his left (never mind, the parked car had it’s rear end sticking out) and takes a nice chunk out of the bumper. I prepare to put my car in park, waiting for an irate Albanian (probably a mom picking up her child at the school) to come out screaming at the driver who has hit her badly parked car. I look at my watch, I am not going to make it to soccer on time. It doesn’t happen. The guilty driver looks over his shoulder a bit, looks at me, shrugs with a sloppy grin and drives on by. I shake my finger at him… he doesn’t look at me again.
Sigh, knowing there is nothing I can do, I too drive on. Okay, I am grateful I wasn’t late to pick up the boys from soccer.