On not knowing Albanian (Part 1)

Most places I have lived, I have know at least a tiny bit of the language. Even when I was in Cambodia, I started taking Khmer right away.

Here, not knowing Albanian, I mostly just have funny stories.

One of the women in my office did start to teach me the first day I arrived some Albanian. I learned to say “mire menjges” or good morning.  We practiced daily. Sadly, this was all I got.

A couple weeks after arriving, I was allowed to drive.  My car still had no license plates, but I had a piece of paper I could should police if stopped that proved the plates were in process and I was allowed behind the wheel.  So, of course, on my way home at 17:15 (that would be 5:15pm), I was stopped by the police.

I was ready for this, after all, I was driving with no license plates.  I slowly pulled over. As I rolled down the window, I thought: “what the heck am I going to say to this man as I pull out the piece of paper???”.  Having nothing else, I smiled at him and said “mire mengjes!”.

He laughed and waved me along. To this day, wherever I see him, he smiles and waves at the crazy gringa who said “good morning” when pulled over by the cops in the late afternoon.

Check out Part II.

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