It felt really weird to be back in Shkoder all by myself after spending 2 weeks living with 15 teenage girls at the beach in Velipoja. I’m not going to lie, I started to miss them all when I first got back. But then I got back into the swing of things and was enjoying my alone time again…when a strange thing happened.
I was sitting alone in my kitchen eating dinner, when from below my window I heard “Danielle?” I thought I must be imagining it since my landlord is away in Montenegro. But then I heard it again- “Danielle?” So I opened the door and looked outside and saw one of the girls from my camp standing on my steps smiling up at me. I couldn’t believe it. Mostly because I live on a private compound and I had no idea how she managed to open the locked doors, but that’s besides the point.
I laughed out loud and asked her how she managed to find where I live. She told me that she just walk around town asking people where “Danielle the American” lives and they all pointed her in this direction. It took her about an hour, but Shkoder’s a big city. I couldn’t help but shake my head and laugh at the fact that complete strangers know where my house is. The Peace Corps staff warned us that being an American in a foreign country is like living in a fishbowl, but I never anticipated this. At least it turned out for the best and I got a surprise visit from one of my favorite people in the city!
“It’s not better. It’s not worse. It’s just different.”