Category Archives: Relationships

How to Plan my Vintage Albanian Wedding…


To plan a retro wedding you have to desire it and be in a vintage mood while planning it. I always loved looking at old family pictures, going through happy moments of my loved ones or reanimating the spirit of the good old days. In the end celebrating a wedding itself is an act of reviving the past lovely moments while imagining a bright future ahead.

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“The devil lies in the detail” – is one of the most fitting phrases I can think of while planning a wedding.  Despite the fact that you might have carefully thought every single detail – there is always something. Starting from the invitations, wedding dress, cake and wedding menu, to the first dance, song selection, video, photos and so on. The list gets longer like a complicated usage manual of some product you just purchased.

In contrast to what I initially thought, planning every detail of my wedding was great fun. As I did not want to be lectured about something so personal and special, I decided not to hire any wedding planners. They can be very useful, but in the end weddings are personal, and so is our taste…

So we split the duties. My husband was in charge of song selection, DJ briefing, keynote for our guest, photos and video arrangements while I took care of the rest. Picking the location was easy. It had to be a place filled with beautiful summer memories. And since wedding parties are pretty formal in Germany we decided instead to do it in my home town Tirana.

The first thought that crossed our minds was Chateau Rexhekri, a beautiful resort between valleys and hills in the outskirts of Tirana. We spent there in utter amazement of escaping the heat and noise of Tirana many summer days. Since weddings in Albania tend to be big, with a minimum of 120 guests, it was unusual in this small resort to celebrate a wedding. When I told to my younger cousin that I would only have 50 guests, he started laughing and in typical “dark” Albanian humor said : “…but that’s a birthday party…lol”.

Decor was important to reflect my personal taste. I spend hours surfing at Etsy online store or Pinterest as I wished for a vintage touch to my wedding. And it was all worth it! It certainly was a nostalgic mental journey in connecting the past dots while looking forward to the future. A glass of wine surely helped us writing down the invitations, wedding menus, preparing a keynote presentation for our guests, selecting the songs and so on. The retro sounds during cocktail hours featuring Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Barry White followed by Lana Del Ray  “Young and Beautiful” created a sizzling atmosphere, perfect for the photo shooting session with our guest. While the first glasses of champagne start kicking in, so busted our mood…

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The opening dance could not be retro enough. We both loved  At Last – Etta James. The decision felt naturally without further thoughts. A pretty tight wedding dress looks undoubtably classy and gorgeous, but it’s does not allow too much room for the extensive long Albanian dances or Rock and Roll. Great that our guests were eager to keep the dancing floor busy or to leave surprise video messages for us.

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While planning our wedding turned out to be a pretty inspiring and fun process, executing it was quite demanding. It’s like we were the key actors casting a movie. We both agreed in advance that it doesn’t have to be everything perfect. Important is to enjoy our special day. So we did. As for the next time, we wish we could be guests in our own wedding 🙂

 

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In What Color Do You Dream?


I thought about colors lately. You might ask how on earth can someone has such funky thoughts unless is a painter, psychologist, or on heavy drugs. Well none of these triggered this sudden interest, but an expo of a Dutch painter I attended recently at Bucerius art forum: The Mondrian Colors. Oh I loved it! Good such paintings are not for sale though…

I love colors, but not specific ones. I love them all. That’s where the gift becomes a curse, immense joy turns into anxiety, desire into frustration, and instead to color picking settle for some conformist easy choices. Let’s take an example. I enter into a shop with latest spring collection and I get blowed away by its colors. I want most of them, I can’t resist. But then I know that’s not the smartest idea to blow on things that after one season will be outdated anyway.

So I wisely choose to resist my temptation and optimize my purchase. Good girl! That’s where the real sufferance starts though. What colors do I choose? I mentally visualize my wardrobe. I’m not sure the color of any of these skirts will match the existing shirts I have. And I need new shoes too, but it gets pricy. If I only get the skirt it will stay pinned into some closet’s corner waiting for the right match. Poof stress. With men it’s a different story. For instance, when it comes to clothes my boyfriend prefers mainly three colors; white, gray and blue. Not to mention here that the only accessory needed is perhaps a scarf or a belt. That way men are really blessed. They don’t quite notice all the colors.

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But there is one place where colors’ temptation doesn’t hunt me; in my dreams. That’s the only place where I feel safe to dream in what color I want and I can have them all. But then again I am not 100% sure in what color I dream the most. I am not even sure if I always dream in colors. In fact, researches suggest that about 83% of our dreams are in color

. This leaves us with a terrifying 17% of dreams in black and white. That triggered my curiosity further. I start asking friends in what color they dream, and one mentioned dreaming in black and white with subtitles 😉 A 2008 study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition found “that people who grew up watching black-and-white TV are more likely to dream in black and white, but people who grew up with color TV are more likely to dream in color”

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Of course that painters, interior designers, or visual artists might recall better the colors from their dreams. Or people who are keen in understanding their dreams through the meaning of the colors they dream in.

How about you, in what color do you dream?

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The Myth of Dating the Albanian Girl


I always find hilarious reading topics like “the perfect woman”, “how to seduce a man”, “10 naughty secrets”, ” 30 things to do to a naked man” , “how to land a date”, and so on… the list gets endless in women and fashion magazines around the globe. Therefore, looking at the article Would You Date: the Albanian Girl which I found randomly at Elite Daily, immediately triggered funky thoughts. I was right. The dating guide to the Elite globetrotting men this time offered pros and cons of dating The Albanian Girl. I don’t know what irritated me most, likely the pros, but nevertheless I found it pretty entertaining.

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Long Summer nights at Padam, Tirana

Pros: Domesticated- “In a period where women are overly preoccupied with “who are you wearing”, “how they can get their hands on the latest fashion”, or “how they can find a man who will buy them whatever they desire,” it is difficult to find that particular girl that knows how to treat a man. Because many Albanian families are very traditional, it is almost guaranteed that she is more than capable of preparing a good meal and actually knows how to do laundry well”. Are you serious? Since when dressing up is not part of the Albanian culture or since when women who actually follow fashion do not qualify as family-oriented? Who on earth are those “Elite guys” wanting a wife only for being capable of preparing a good meal and doing laundry? It’s true that families in Albania are rather conservative and traditional, like it’s true that more young women are keened on embracing western values, getting educated, and working hard to be independent.

Make Good Wives- Wow, I didn’t know that we deserve that stupid title “A good Wife Material” or You can count on an Albanian woman to stick by her man no matter how difficult things get financially. Even if her man is in the wrong, an Albanian woman will be understanding and stick by her man.” Not that having a loyal woman by your side it’s not essential, actually it’s very important, but nowadays Albanian women are not much different from their western counterparts. I’m just being honest here. The number of divorces in Albania not only is constantly increasing, but are mainly women filing for it. To some extend this is even good news for us since it means we’re getting more free and capable of taking life into our own hands rather than living an unhappy married life. I guess the wrong perception derives from the communism decades where divorce was almost illegal and society back then was heavily stigmatizing a divorced couple; therefore women were obliged to “stick by their man” no matter what.

Presentable“They take care of themselves, are very fashionable, and present themselves in a manner that is classy and sophisticated without coming off as haughty. Not only are they well dressed, but Albanian women also take pride in how they present themselves in the public sphere. You will never need to stress over being embarrassed by harlot-esque actions from an Albanian woman”. I tend to agree with this one 😉 

Sex: The average Albanian household is known to be strict, especially for the women. This however does not deter our beloved Albanian women from getting down in the bedroom. She will come off as modest in public, but once the lights are off and the door is closed you must be prepared for the inner freak to come out. Behind closed doors these women have some moves reminiscent of some of your wildest fantasies”. I have NO comment on that, but I LOL when I read another user’s comment “At least they got one thing right”.

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Picture of Fadil Berisha -retaken at Pedonale street expo, Tirana

Cons: GossipersGossip plays a big part in the lives of women within the Albanian community. If you notice that your girlfriend is prominent in her social media sphere and changes her Facebook profile picture frequently, you might have a heavy gossiper on your hands. Social media will ruin this relationship because if she is stalking others, rest assured that she is taking note of your actions as well”. Well, I really find amusing the correlation between the frequency of changing the profile picture and a gossiper, but don’t forget that many couples throughout the world hooked up or ended their relationships through Facebook. But seriously, the problem shouldn’t be the “stalkers”, the problem should rather be the lame cheaters out there. This so reminds me an Albanian joke: A villager complained to his fellows that someone stole his cow last night, and they all start blaming him why he let that happen. The grieving villager listen to them and added: So, all the fault is mine, but the one who actually stole the cow is not to be blamed?

Questionable Past RelationshipsNever under any circumstance fall for the “You’re the first guy I’ve spoken to” or “I really don’t talk to guys like you” line. In most cases, it is a complete lie. Since many Albanian households are strict, Albanian women must find creative ways to circumvent the overbearing rules of their strict parents. This includes keeping some of their darkest and dirtiest secrets under wraps for extensive periods of time. Trust me, if they are good at keeping secrets from those closest to them, just imagine the past experiences she is keeping from you.” This does sound too paranoid and teenage-like issue to me. Parents asks to come home not too late so I tell a little lie to come around the situation or I keep a little secret for myself. It’s true that being open about past or private life is not a common quality for many Albanians, but still there’s no need to freak out, especially if you’re in a mature relationship.At the end our family ties usually are too strong to keep skeletons in our closets.

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Jealousy- “Home grown Albanian women tend to be territorial. Once you are theirs, you are theirs and no one else’s. Albanian women have difficulties with sharing. They are highly aware of their surroundings, so a wrong look from another girl can cause quite the commotion” Yes, we don’t like to share our man, but who would want actually…unless you’re into that swing couple stuff or you’re too hooked on threesomes, I have a hard time believing that other women out there like to share their man or have him flirt around. Plus, Albanian girls are extremely intuitive. So in case you’re playing the audacious smart ass with her just do a favor to yourself and avoid that, it won’t work. She will know you lied before you even realized you did;)

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Younger friends in South Albania

In the end it needs a no brainier that all this is not to be taken too seriously, since we are generalizing. If not, who’s the representation model of the Albanian girl? Is this sample girl coming from some remote village, big enough county, little town, city? What’s her education level or professional background? What looks are like or they’re all hot Mediterranean babes? I’m born, raised and lived most of my life in Albania and if you would ask me on this I would say; this all –inclusive stereotyping is not the right way to go. It usually carries elements of stigma, prejudice, verbal insult, or slur that encompasses the entire group. Rather go for the communication approach, chat, talk, or write and you’ll find out by yourself about the Albanian Girl.