Thanks for being memorable, Tirana.

After almost a full and relaxing day home, I can finally bring myself to tell a little bit about my 8 days in Tirana, Albania. It’ll just have to be a recap, though, especially until the videos and pics come in.

Oh. Like you didn’t think there was going to be another dance video? Right. Well, whenever I can get this one uploaded you can see me dancing with a number of international dance partners, performing lots of Albanian folk-like dance steps, busting out some rave moves, swing dancing and generally acting like a fool. Really, I am the world’s least coordinated person. What I lack in rhythm I typically try to make up for with smiles. By the end of the year I imagine I’ll have a collection. Lucky for all of you, maybe I’ll sell ya copies come Christmastime.

Really, though, this conference in Tirana was hands down one of my best professionally and one of the most random and fun I’ve ever had, which means two things: I barely slept and my liver hates me.

Honestly, April is RELAXATION AND DETOX MONTH. Can I just please stay home and do yard work and get some sun this month? Honestly, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror after my tub soak tonight and jeeez, I’m so milky it’s almost disgusting. Ugh. Bring on the sun.

Anyway. Back to the week.

I met up with a friend I haven’t seen in about eight years. We worked together as Staff Asses on the Hill. At the time, I was working for a Member from Maine and her for one from Oklahoma. We ran in similar circles but weren’t that close, just more social friends, really, but I’d been following her posts and it looked like she had been traveling around Europe for a while but I never got around to asking about it. Then on the second day I was in Tirana, I saw her post a receipt from a hotel about ten blocks away.

Well I’ll be damned. I NEVER run into people that randomly.

And so I facebooked her and we met an hour later for wine. Then we shared three days worth of laughing, storytelling, meeting new people and drinking. (well, outside of my work day) After a few days she took off for the coast of Montenegro and we made plans to meet up in the Czech Republic a few weeks later.
Fun and random, just the way I like it.

This week I was lucky enough to spend some time with a General I really admire and since he’s leaving our office and heading on his way, he took more time than usual to talk to people who wanted to say their last goodbyes. I was lucky enough to take a car with him twice in one day and when you’re trapped next to me in a car, watch out. Once you’re buckled in, I will ask any question I’ve been waiting on and tell any story I see fit. Lucky for me, he instead wanted to tell me where he saw me at in the future and so I didn’t have to tell him the naked Paris story to keep him occupied. Instead he complimented me on my work and my passion and said if I did not stay in a position centered around diplomatic relations, it would be a loss. I was tickled. The man is amazing and I was just glowing.

So guess who will be taking this summer’s foreign service exam? Yep. Me. I’ve wanted to but laziness always won and it’s probably the only thing that’ll keep me country jumping and so professionally, this conference got me back on track with my next career move. CE will most likely bring me near death at some point or I’ll get deported and I’ll have to go back to the States. Being a FSO wouldn’t be too shabby….

So besides getting some great professional kudos and advice, I got to spend 8 days filled with sunshine, warm weather, great food, spa time, delicious wine, stellar conversation and late nights filled with lots of randomness shared with some of my most favorite people from around the world.

Tirana is one trip I certainly won’t be forgetting for a very long time.