Big city Boston

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My family and I took a quick trip to Boston over Memorial weekend. It was my first time there but it won’t be my last. Boston was…big and bustling. Boston makes Albany look like a village! I mean look!

Boston photography

We didn’t see too much because we were there for about two days but I loved everything I saw. So many places to eat…and walk to…and look up at.

Boston photography

My brother and I took a Duck Boat Tour where the tour bus rides through the streets of Boston and the guide explains all kinds of historical facts and stories THEN the bus goes into the river and turns into a “boat”. It wasn’t as cool as it sounds and the downtown part was more interesting than the view from the water. However, I can’t wait to go back. I felt good in Boston. I mean, I felt small and in awe but still good and excited to be in such a big city. I’m already planning a second trip. Boston and I have some connecting to do.

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A trip to Arizona

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So I finally reached the West coast. My first trip to the hot side of the U.S. took me to Arizona. I reunited with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen since high school graduation five years ago. It was a short trip but we did a lot. I saw parts of Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix and Chandler. Canyon Lake (pictured below) was pretty. Very calming, that was my favorite part. Or maybe that was just because we were the only ones there and you could actually hear the water lap against the sand.

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Casey Morgan’s had delicious food. So many restaurant menus there are heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine. I had an enchilada dish that had more beans on it than anything else.

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My best friend and I also went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater concert. It was a lot of fun. Young the Giant and Cage the Elephant were the headliners. The ugly sweater I was wearing got me noticed by one of the concert promo people and she invited us to meet Young the Giant backstage for radio promo pictures. So that was unexpected but made our night a lot better and more memorable. Here’s a very grainy shot of our ugly sweaters!

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The weather was really nice. It was always in the 50s and 60s which was especially welcoming after the 20s, 30s and 40s of Upstate New York. The palm trees and cacti threw me off at first because it felt like I was in a movie or something. Getting used to a new climate and environment is interesting. The color scheme and architecture of Arizona was really unique. They’re very proud of their desert heritage. Most buildings were low and painted in earth tones. And there were community complexes everywherreeeee. Albany has like, two.

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This was such a good trip. Good food, great company, awesome memories. Seeing my best friend after five years was probably the highlight of 2014. I’m so grateful I had the chance to make this trip, meet so many cool people and create about a dozen new inside jokes with her 😛 There’s nothing like a best friend. Also, thank God for airplanes.

A week on Punta Cana’s beach

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My family and I just came back from a week long vacation in the Dominican Republic. We were beach bound the entire time. The Caribbean Sea was perfect, the sun was strong and the sand was never hot even under 90 degree weather (coral sand is a natural miracle!). Here are some of my favorite snapshots.

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Hometown beauty

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View from Rozafa Castle

View from Rozafa Castle (e.b.)

I was born in the north of Albania, in a city named Shkoder known for producing creative individuals, masters of the arts. I like to think my love of culture and writing comes from the city, that it passed down its creative energy to me. Nowadays, the hustle and bustle of city life has reached Shkoder but time still feels like it moves slower there and you can still find corners of peace, quiet and nature even if you have to go up the hill and watch the city from atop a castle made of rock.

 

New Year’s in Philadelphia

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Philly skyline (photo by e.b.)

Philly skyline (photo by e.b.)

Downtown Philadelphia (photo by e.b.)

Downtown Philadelphia (photo by e.b.)

(photo by e.b.)

(photo by e.b.)

(photo by e.b.)

Reading Terminal Market (photo by e.b.)

Adventure Aquarium (photo by e.b.)

Adventure Aquarium (photo by e.b.)

Eastern State Penitentiary (photo by e.b.)

Eastern State Penitentiary (photo by e.b.)

My family and I spend this past New Year’s in Philadelphia which is a great city. It was our first time there and I loved walking downtown. We took a trolley tour around the city and I loved seeing all the main streets with theaters, cafes and shops. I want to come back in the summer sometime when the weather is nicer for staying out and exploring. The Reading Market was so full of dining choices that it was overwhelming in the best way possible. We decided to try some Philly cheesesteak subs (obviously) at no other than Carmen’s Famous Italian Hoagies and they were delicious.

And the Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the coolest historical places I’ve ever been to. We saw so many nooks and crannies and frankly it was a bit terrifying. Check out this quick, blurry snap of one of the basement prison areas where they actually put prisoners!

(photo by e.b.)

(photo by e.b.)

 

 

Tales of a Global Citizen

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I’ve moved 14 times and lived in five countries. I don’t have a childhood home. I didn’t grow up with the same twenty kids from kindergarten to high school. I’ll never get to give people a tour of my home town and point out all the places my friends and I used to hang out. Those places don’t exist for me.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve never envied people their stable and secure childhoods, living in one place first grade to senior year.

Truth is I wish everyone could have had a childhood like mine. I wish you could have been at my prom in Italy at a restaurant that overlooked the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius – the same volcano that destroyed Pompeii. I wish you could have gone on school trips that took you to Germany and Rome and not the local museum or zoo. I wish you could have gone to preschool in Paris and learned fluent French. I wish you could have taken a family trip to Montreal instead of spending another summer in the same old town.

But maybe your routine is your comfort. I can relate to that. I had routines two or three years in a row until I had to uproot and find comfort in the next new place. The only constant being my family, there with me through each new city.

Some people crave stability but that’s never been me. I have places to see, bags to pack and memories to make. And if anyone tries to slow me down, all I have to say is: my life’s been too interesting to stop now.

“Travel. As much as you can. As far as you can. As long as you can. Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.”