I had a mid-service training in Tirana, and stayed at a really nice hotel. During the training, volunteers went through discussion about life after Peace Corps. I felt overwhelmed because there are so many options to contemplate.
Then, there was the longest conference, An-All-Volunteer, where Group 18 integrated with the new Group 19. There was so much people and socializing. I felt overwhelmed but I have met almost everyone. The conference had discussions with the Tirana mayor, Erion Veliaj. I was impressed with his English as he started talking. Apparently he studied in Michigan.
After that, all of the volunteers had taxi rides to the US ambassador’s party for belated July 4th BBQ. The community was completely gated and highly guarded (guards with guns). The houses were built by the US government. I felt like I was back in the states because it didn’t look like Albania at all. The park looked green, the houses were very modern, nice cars parked outside the driveway.
As we got to the house, food was already served and there was so much volunteers. I socialized with a lot of people because….well that what I did. Brownies, hot dogs, hamburgers, and lasagnas were served. It was delightful.
We watched Independence Day until the officials kicked us out and took the taxi cab back to the hotel. It was a swell day.