Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Why Don't (S)He Write?

O, Sa Turp!/How shameful!  
Sa gjate/How long it has been since I've written in my Albanian Blog. It's been five long months... reminding me of this scene from Dances with Wolves:  (only 30 seconds...why not click thru!?)

Fortunately, I did not meet that same fate as that bag-a-bones.  

But that doesn't answer the question, "why don't she write?"  I don't have a good excuse. I could blame it on being busy with projects, busy with my young love, busy traveling.  And sure, I have been, but not too busy to share.  My best reason is writer's block.  I've sat down with some ideas... but the fire wasn't there.  The spark to start.  I was like an empty Zippo lighter/cakmaku i Zippo, waiting for Julie to re-fuel and shine me for packaging.  

I'm disappointed in myself for letting so many moments pass.  But I'm not going to waste any more time.  With only three months left of my PC service...the Blogger in me is back! And better than ever?! (Remains to be seen.)  However, before I return to stories about Albania and life as a Peace Corps Volunteer, let me share why in hell, after 22 years, would I be reminded of a scene from Dances with Wolves/Kercime me Ujq!?

In 1990 when Dances with Wolves hit theaters, my mother had her heart set on seeing the film.  It was about this time of year- her birthday.  And her only wish (read: demand) was that we go to see the movie as a family.  I was in 7th grade and Ryan was in high school. So obviously, being seen with your family (especially when both your parents are teachers!) at Cinema World in WashPa was a fate worse than death.  As any two loving, appreciative children would....we threw an outright fit.  No way.  No How!  My very clever and determined mother suggested a compromise: We could drive 30-minutes north to another town and see the movie at the Galleria. We caved.

Neither Ryan, nor I (nor my dad, for that matter) were remotely interested in seeing this film. It's THREE HOURS LONG and is about pioneers and covered wagons! Bor-ing. Mom didn't even care.  She refused to let us piss on her parade.  Hindsight: the opportunity to see Kevin Costner's bare ass/buthe on the big screen does have quite an appeal. Remember, his ass was 22 years younger at the time!  Collectively, the rest of us knew that a 3-hour sacrifice was preferred to a lifetime of mother's guilt. (a fate we failed to avoid anyway.)  And so we got our popcorn, found our seats and settled in for a long winter's nap.  

Here comes the beautiful irony.  The opening scenes of the movie are pretty gruesome...a Civil War-era make-shift hospital near a Confederate battlefield.    Amputations, blood, bones, innards.  Pretty disgusting stuff, really.  My mom couldn't watch...averted her eyes and winced at the sound effects she was unable to tune out.  Two hours and 48 minutes left to go, she never quite recovered.  

I, on the other hand, was riveted from the opening scenes to the rolling of the credits. To this day, Dances with Wolves remains one of my all time favorite films. The wide open spaces, the commitment to a post, the clash of cultures and the unbreakable bonds of even the most unlikely moves me.  And as I type, it hits me:  The American Frontier is to John Dunbar what Peace Corps Albania has been to Me.  Lame?  Probably/Ndoshta.  Accurate? Absolutely/Absolutisht.

Ok, fine... so my Albania doesn't have buffalo or "hostiles."  But my Albania has occasional loneliness. It has curious interlopers who've become dear friends.  It has street dogs who could pass for "Two Socks."  It has love stories, new cuisines and rooted traditions.  It has moments of confusion and sorrow, but also moments of camaraderie and joy. And it has a People who are uncertain, yet hopeful for their future.  People who often look to me for answers that I can't give.  Peace Corps Albania has been my undiscovered frontier.  

So... with this little glimpse into my silly love affair with a mustached Kevin Costner, it should come as no surprise that after lapsing in my blog posts, my first thought was imagining McBride asking Arlene..."Why don't she write?"

And now, with only 3 months left before I will say good-bye to this amazing experience, to the incredible friends I've made... I am reminded of the movie's closing scene:  that always brings me to tears.  I hope before leaving, I find the right words in Shqip to say:  

Do you see that I am your friend?  Can you see that you will always be my friend?  

And just like in the movie...I am quite sure it will always bring me to tears.

Peace, Love and New Frontiers