Before moving to Albania, I was told that I would be blown away by how pro-USA many Albanians are. I was excited to live someplace where people like (US) Americans.
I had no idea how true these statements are.
I can’t say anything about the politics of the place, but individuals really like the US. And, even more surprisingly, they know a lot about the US. For example, most Albanians I have met can tell me who Woodrow Wilson was and what he did for their country.
I am willing to bet most US Citizens walking the streets of Wisconsin, my home state, couldn’t even do that.
I have had the chance to travel this country and every so often, you see an American flag hanging in someone’s field or flying from the back of a bus. In many ways, many Albanians I have met are more pro-American than many Americans I know.
Of course, this is not everyone. No people has everyone think alike and I can’t speak to difference in thoughts of different generations or religious groups or geographic communities. Still, it is striking. And shocking. And, a lot of time, heart warming.
Hillary Clinton came through here yesterday. I couldn’t have missed hearing about it because 1) people were excited and 2) the major streets in Tirana were flying both Albanian and American flags. As I walked to the store to buy ice cream, I couldn’t help but think: I have never seen this many US flags flown anywhere, even back home.