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Monday, September 29, 2008


I just spent four days in Albania and it was a really positive experience. First, the team was great as I was there with my colleagues and friends Ellen and Christelle and also Andras Kis who is a great guy indeed. It was really quite different experience from staying a week in Copenhagen alone and working 12 hours a day.

Then it was great discovering that Tirana is changing for the better indeed. I first visited the country in the spring of 2006, then in January 2007 and the city has always looked to me as the only city in Europe messier than Sofia. I am not sure about that any more: the roads in Tirana are nice now, the sidewalks are wide and free from parked cars, it is relatively clean.

And the city is really lively. We were there on Friday night and it was packed with young partying people.

The other great thing about this trip is that I went out of the city for the first time - in Kruja and Berat. Kruja is an interesting place not far from Tirana but it was dark and we didn't see much, just some stars and a landing plane. Otherwise, it was the birthplace of Skanderbey and a capital of the country in the 14th century.

Then we visited Berat which resembles Plovdiv I think with its old Ottoman style houses. The weather was great and we just spent several hours there walking around, drinking coffee and watching the hens and cats walk around. We were about the only tourists there give or take a few. We thought that it would be cool to be able to turn into a hen. Andras chose dolphin and a bird. We thought it would be cool to be able to change into a bird and fly away during a boring workshop. The only problem would come if you jump through the window having been transformed into a dolphin.

We also visited the ethnographical museum in Berat where the small dark room where women stayed when men had guests became the highlight of the visit. Our Swedish and Dutch friends really appreciated that and said that they would like to introduce this model in their countries.:-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mountain of Work

These days I feel I stand in front of a mountain of work this autumn. Deadlines are hiding behind each corner, we have to draft publications, manuals, chair working groups, organize and carry out trainings, fundraise, brainstorm, report, visit places, cooperate with others. It's just too much, I have to admit.

So what is the only way to cope with that?

Remain really, really COOL I say.:-)

If I am able to say that my mood is really getting better.


Summer's Gone. Kids Do Not Feel Nostalgia.

It's been so tough these several days with the terrible weather coming in, rainy, 9 degrees. It was hot 36 degrees just a week ago and we were enjoying ourselves in the Budapest swimming pools. I am sorry for myself that the weather influences me so much. I guess it takes some adaptation for all of us.

The kids seem to be really happy otherwise and that means that they don't care ab out the weather at all. I guess for us, adults, bad weather brings some nostalgia while kids cannot feel it. Kids fully live in the present.

With Jelica we were amazed this summer how easy Boris and Andrej get adapted to different places and countries. We toured the Balkans as usual visiting Jelica's parents in Lazarevats, Serbia and my mother - in Sliven, Bulgaria. They fully enjoyed the two places. Borders really don't matter for them which is great.