To anyone that will listen, to my friends and family, to journalists that interview me- I always say the same thing. I ended up here by chance, I fell in love, had to stay, and wanted to share my thoughts on this country with the world. It seems that I was not alone in this wish and over the last few months I have met three fellow writers who are all living in Albania and running successful blogs that highlight different parts of living here. Ladies and gentleman, meet Alexandra, Anna, and Roksana!
Alexandra Lewis, HaPi Tirana
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“When people asked me why I chose Albania, I always say, “I didn’t. Albania chose me.” I was 24 and after having travelled extensively through Asia, I decided to my first big Euro Trip. I’d been wanting to visit Albania for about 10 years. I had read about it in a travel guide in 2004, when Edi Rama was mayor of Tirana and had just repainted the dull, grey city with bright, vibrant colours. It sounded like such an intriguing place, with such interesting history. The fact that I had never met an Albanian person, or known anyone to visit Albania only made it more appealing. So basically, I just came here for a holiday and by the second day I had a group of friends (that I am still friends with to this day!), a job offer and had sold myself on the idea of taking a one year break from life in Australia to teach English in Albania. Now 28, I still teach English with the same institution that offered me the job when I arrived. I somehow also managed to convince some people that my face was appropriate to put on televisions across the nation and for the past year I have been delivering the only English News Broadcast in Albania, covering local news translated into English. Many people, both here in Albania and back in Australia, think I must be absolutely bonkers to move 15,000kms away from my home, my family and my life-long friends to seek opportunities in a developing country. Looking back, I think it certainly was a bold decision, but I like to think that it’s all worked out pretty well in the end!”
Alexandra runs HaPi Tirana (EatDrink Tirana, in English) which offers a tasteful guide to the many bars and restaurants in the city. From high-end Haute cuisine to slap-up sufllage (souvlaki), cocktails to coffee and everything in between, Alexandra can give you the lowdown on the best places to eat, drink, and socialise, in and around Tirana. You can follower her blog on Instagram here.
Anna Giulia Buonanno, Da Torino a Tirana
“Born and raised in Torino, Italy, I found my home in Tirana probably because of the assonance between the names of the two locations. I am a film lover and book eater, especially when it comes to historical novels. I’m a social media strategist and enthusiast with a dream of writing the next Best Foreign Language Academy Award winner.”
Anna has studied film and worked in television both in Italy and Tirana. Like many others, myself included, she ended up in Tirana by chance and stayed here because she adored it. A creative soul who enjoys coffee, photography, and thrifting, she set up her blog ‘Da Torino a Tirana‘ to show her friends back in Italy, what life in Tirana is like. She also hopes it will act as a guide to any Italians or Italian speakers that plan to make this beautiful city home. You can follow her on Instagram here
Roksana Novak, Albania po Polsku
“My name is Roksana, I am Polish and I’ve been living in Vlore, Albania for 8 years. Through my blog albaniapopolsku.pl (Albania in Polish) I want to overthrow all the myths about Albania, which reign in the Polish mentality. I invite you to an amazing journey through the country of eagles. It will be colourful, sunny and tasty, spiced with a bit of irony! I will try to describe Albania objectively, although it stole my heart.”
Roksana is in love with Albania, and although I don’t understand Polish- just from looking at her pictures and posts, you can see that this is most definitely her home. She has the same idea as me when it comes to using her blog to dispel the less than pleasant myths that surround Albania and Albanians, from a European perspective. Check out her blog here, for some superb photography of the places she visits, and you can follow her on Instagram here.
Do you know of any other foreign bloggers living in Albania that are spreading their love for Shqiperia, internationally? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know!Follow The Balkanista!