To Tota

travel, Uncategorized

Every trip we take a day to visit Florent’s grandmother, Tota. She lives in the village of LeBushe with 1 daughter, her 2 sons, their 2 wives and their 10 kids.
We mixed things up this time and took the train 2 hours to Tota’s house with the kids, Florent’s cousin Mira and her son Ylli. Going through all the tunnels and seeing the country from the tracks was a great experience. Ari asked to take the train back home, but instead we rode with Shaban to save on time.


Ari waiting to hop on the train


Glancing out


Ari & Ylli


Nini being Nini


Albanian Mafia shot

Tota and her family live off their land and make all their own everything. They don’t even buy oil to cook with, they make with with milk from a cow! Visiting this place is always exciting and fun for me.

The meal the wives serve is always one of my favorites while here and today they did not disappoint. We feasted on juicy pears, cheese pie, spicy peppers in a warm cheese sauce, non sweet corn bread, olives, yogurt & cheese. All things made from scratch- even the yogurt!

It was a cold and rainy day so I sat for a while by the outdoor fireplace which also doubles as an actual stove that they cook on. I watched a cat sleep by the fireplace and spoke Albanglish with the oldest wife. She told me all the words she knew in English and I told her all the words I knew in Albanian.


Obligatory village snap


Me with the wives


Our meal served on a ‘sofra’


Peppers here are the best in the world!


The stove!


3 of the 10 kids are MIA


Aunt Hedia, Florent, his Dad & Tota


Locals being Awesome (Part Deux)

travel, Uncategorized

Thursday morning it stormed a bit and I got to witness some locals being super awesome!!!

Unexpected weather always shakes stuff up a bit. Thankfully we rented the best hotel room, front and center of The Small Beach so we sat on our terrace and watched people. Some huddled under small coverings, others swam in the water to enjoy the intense rain, and some men even ran back and fourth along the beach for an invigorating exercise.

I sat with my Machiato and took it all in!



Drawing a rectangle around your towel marks your territory

We decided it was time to head back towards Prishtina. We checked out of our hotel and left Ulcinj expecting to be back at the apartment in Shenjin by lunchtime.

The road to the boarder was blocked by a very small 4 car accident at the end of a bridge because of one stubborn old man who refused to move his car to the side and wait for the police to arrive. People tried reasoning with the man asking him to simply document the accident with photos. Some even offered to buy his car off of him just to convince him to move out of the way. NOTHING worked!

2 hours later the police arrived at the scene. So we stood in the road with everyone else and watched these people argue the entire time in the Montenegro mountainside. The kids and I literally watched snails walk along the side of the road for a while out of shear boredom.


The scene of the accident from where our car was stuck

Shaban, Flo & Nini walked to the scene to get an up close glance at the stubborn man and make small talk with new friends. There were probably 200+ cars stopped because of this one man! Nini said “move your car poopy doody”– Thank God no one understood what that means to her!

Flo tells me this type of stuff is normal and happens often. Me being a huge fan of fast results didn’t understand why we couldn’t all join forces, take his keys and move the car for him… put him under citizens arrest or something???

On that note, here’s a photo of a glass of red I enjoyed with Flo on our last night in Montenegro.


Vranac Wine is really nice!



Never a dull moment

travel, Uncategorized

Day 1 was a completely exhausting travel day that never ended. Frankfurt Airport is wayyy too big and we should’ve dosed the kids with Benadryl.

Day 2 consisted of a delicious breakfast of fresh bread, scrambled eggs, feta cheese and pinjur (pepper eggplant & garlic spread) followed by a couple hours of relaxing around the Hoxha Home. It was really difficult waking up this morning- the time change is effecting us more than we expected this time around.

Everyone here goes out for coffee on a daily basis. It’s around .50 Euro for a “Macchiato Madhe” (1-2 espresso shots, a bit of steamed milk and a tiny bit of sugar). In Kosovo people sit and talk to each other; make eye contact and really get into it with conversations (no obsessive phone scrolling going on here). It’s really entertaining and beautiful to watch. Also the smokes- they are usually pairing coffee with a cig. Coffee is nothing like it is in America. It’s a thousand times better. We walked to Flo’s Uncle Gaz’s shop Marcus. We stayed for about 2 hours- 2 hours just doing nothing but talking! Another uncle his lovely wife and daughter showed up to visit.


Nini sippin on steamed milk drizzled with chocolate

NEVER a dull moment.

Nini passed out in the stroller 2 minutes into our walk back to the house. After nap time we took the kids to the Albi Mall so they could get some energy out while Hata slayed some homemade Pizza for our dinner. It was super shijshem I might add (must start taking more food pics).

After dinner I wanted to take the kids to the nearby park to play. Hata told me some family members might come to see us so we should stick around. Me being the type A crazy American trying to fit everything in asked “Well what time?” Hata’s reply “No time, it’s Kosovo- there is no time”. We stuck around and Hata’s gorgeous niece visited with her super sweet husband and 2 adorable kids. By the time they left it was 8:00. I thought I was in the clear and slipped into my floral Target special Jammies. I was then informed an aunt would stop by later. Me being and my idiotic jet lagged self, assumed who cares if this aunt sees me in my jams?

WELL… She did show up but alongside an uncle, her 4 daughters and 2 other cousins! The 4 daughters and 2 cousins all look like straight up models and are dressed to go out after this to the club. So I sat there and visited in my floral jams like a Meme. How embarrassing?!?!? I apologized for my outfit and tried to “own it” the whole time, serving up baklava, juice and water to my in laws in my floral Target special. Thankfully they are the nicest people you could EVER meet and they didn’t make fun of me for it.

Moral of the story is this: Kosovars don’t fuck around. I need to up my A game. Be ready for anything!

You’d think after coming here for the 5th time now I would learn something…