I can start with the usual “Oh, summer is almost over!” but I don’t give rat’s ass about that, excuse my language. It’s just a season, why so much drama! In almost 305 days it will be back. Relax. Moving on to “Oh, vacation is over (cause mine ended already) ” and again that’s ok. I will take some more time off in a month for my next destination (not going to tell you just yet).
As the title suggests this is not about vacations. However, important piece of information, I was in Spain this year, Costa Brava, Lloret de Mar to be precise. And since we are here, Lloret de Mar is approximately 75 km distant from Barcelona.
The only day, the only single god damn day, I went to Barcelona, which was for the first time in my life and guess what happens?? A terrorist attack! And damn, was I close!!! And damn, did I nearly shit my pants!
What I want to talk about today is something that might look completely off the topic compared to what I wrote above. It’s about nationality. And no it’s got nothing to do with terrorism or something of the sort.
Back to us, it all started, on August the 10th when we take the bus from Tirana to go to Thessaloniki, Greece, for our scheduled flight to Girona, Costa Brava, Spain. After almost 12 hours of bus drive, the driver tells us to get off the bus, as we are “close” to Thessaloniki (the bus was headed for Halkidiki, a tourist hot spot in Greece). “Close” my a**, we were in the middle of nowhere with no direction, no information, no freaking mobile connection! Nothing! So, under the scorching sun we start walking on the high way. We have walked for almost 50 minutes, between risking to get lost walking in the opposite direction and being forced to cross some dried creek, dead plants and a not so challenging fence. We make it to some hypermarket or something and all sweaty, barely breathing, we manage a “taxi” whisper.
One of the cashiers was kind enough to call a taxi for us and we finally make it to the center of Thessaloniki.
Now that I am done with the story telling, I want to say that despite the controversies, conflicts, political interests or the mutual dislike between Greek and Albanian, I can say that if I start judging by mere nationality: an Albanian (driver) left us in the middle of the highway with no direction (and we did ask a couple of times) and the Greek cashier instead helped us out. Just saying.
Second, while in Barcelona, instants after the attacks, people were scared (stating the obvious here) and didn’t know what to do or where to go, lots of us entered in hotels hauls, standing there. The security guards, were more than eager to let us in, given the circumstances. No one asked for passports, nationality, religion, age, sexual preferences etc, etc. I guess these are those moments where, we get closer and become more united than ever despite everything. And in the end, this “everything” is so minor, so insignificant, so “nothing” after all.
My point is, I am Albanian and proud to be. However, do I think I am better than others just because I am Albanian? NO. Do I think less of myself, because other people from different nationalities think less of Albanian, because we are a poor, 3rd World Country (and also some Albanians have some bad reputation and criminal records abroad, but again there are criminals all over the world, it doesn’t mean that all Albanians are criminals)? NO. Do I think less of other nationalities? No. Do I think someone is better just because on the passport says US citizen, Italian, French, Russian? No.
Unfortunately there are people who do really bad things, all over the world, in all countries, towards other nations or countries, towards their own fellows. Firstly, we are humans and then comes all the rest.
And I know that tons of people write and talk about this things every day, and with all that’s been happening, no wonder why, but I can’t stress enough the fact that in order to improve and keep becoming better versions of ourselves (my eternal mantra) we need to keep an open mind.
That’s the key for learning, understanding, accepting, embracing change. Maybe it would also help with hatred, judgmental attitudes, negativity, prejudice and some more not that nice adjectives.
And this is the end of my futile rant as this post will change absolutely nothing as usual. And tomorrow, I will be discriminated and looked down upon just because I’m Albanian, but I have lived with it for some time now and I have learned to manage. I’m not saying it’s ok, because it’s not. I’m not saying that I have got used to it, because I haven’t and I never will, as I refuse getting used with racism. But I have nothing to feel bad about or be ashamed of. My parents are decent, honest citizens and they brought me up well.
I studied hard for all my life. I work my a** off everyday and deserve every penny that I earn. I walk and keep my head up high, because I have all the reasons to do so.