This last Sunday, I had the pleasure of having a friend of mine over at my house for lunch. May be there is nothing special about this event as I have people come over to my house rather often, but this occasion was rather unique, and there are several reasons why.
First, it was unique because my friend is not Albanian and it’s not everyday that I get to have someone from Lebanon visit with my parents.
Second, it was unique because this friend is a unique individual. One that I’ve gotten to respect, more so now that I have come to understand better his love for my country, which is quite admirable.
However, the main reason that pushed me to write about this here, is the fact that this was a rather unique experience for him as well as for me.
It was unique because this was his first time to have a traditional meal in an Albanian home. A meal prepared and offered by Albanians in his honor! Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but it is if you consider the fact that he has been here for 3 years already!
As I continue to think about this experience, there is a line of questions that continues to pervade my thoughts about a very important cultural aspect such as hospitality. Some of the questions go like this: What is happening to Albanian hospitality? Why was my friend never invited even for such such a long time as 3 years? Is this an indicator of something else that goes beyond this individual case? If yes ‘what’? Is it true?
If you read about Albanians throughout history, you quickly find out that we are quite hospitable and welcoming towards guests, especially of those coming from afar. However, something seems to be happening to our hospitality, to where it is, either changing into new and more western style forms or it is simply fading out as a distinctive aspect of our culture and customs.
Anyway, I cannot make that decision, nor can I be the judge of that. That is why I think this topic about Albanian hospitality is worthy of discussion even on such a place as this humble Blog.
Your personal stories and experiences would be greatly appreciated at this point, especially if you are a foreigner living in Albania. I would like to know if you’ve been invited to an Albanian home or that has not happened yet, because….
Please, comment away…