One of my favorite Albanian words: stuff! Although here people are more likely to say “sena” which is perhaps a dialect version of gjëra’s synonym,”sende”. Shrug. In any case this is my messy bedside table, including:

  • one camera
  • one New Headway Elementary student book
  • one New Headway Elementary workbook
  • a sheet of star stickers
  • a copy of the Happy Prince and other stories by Oscar Wilde, in Albanian
  • a stone box with an engraving of a flower in the lid, bought in SaPa
  • a pear and a knife
  • my watch
  • the business cards of a local Serbian taxi driver and two local wine producers
  • my Albanian phrasebook they gave us upon arrival
  • doily (not mine, it came with the table)


  • an original drawing by my brother Justin who gave it to me for Christmas a couple years ago. It’s now on its second country as it came with me to Vietnam as well. Today is his birthday so I wanted to include something that reminds me of him every time I look at it. The year he gave it to me, he brought a whole backseat’s worth of his artwork to my parents’ apartment where we were celebrating and let us all pick out a piece. I chose this one because it reminded me of an iceberg and of sledding together when we were kids.

Happy birthday J!


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