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.

 

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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.”