September 28, 2014
Thanksgiving Can Happen Each Day  

Yesterday was a different sort of day. Elsie fainted first thing in the morning, and so we ended up in the emergency department of the American Hospital in Tirana. We received high quality of care and diagnosis, and in the end it appeared that Elsie had for some reason become a bit dehydrated. So we will make sure she drinks enough each day, and I will try not to be frightened if each faints again sometime!

Klementina waits with Elsie for the doctor's report

Klementina and I Waited with Elsie for the Results from Her Medical Tests (27-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

So I am truly thankful for:

  • My Wife with whom I enjoy sharing life's journey.

  • Friends such as Klementina and Dini who sacrifice their schedule to care for us. 

Earlier last week, on Thursday evening to be precise, many of the teachers and staff visited Alba and her one-month-old baby, Mia. We were treated to a traditional Albanian thank you for our visit by having a big spread of food for us all--after we said hi to the mother, father (Tonin), and grandparents of Mia. 

baby Mia held by her father's mothers

Grandmother Holds Baby Mia (205-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

the feast spread out for us as we visited Mia and her family 

The "Feast" Spread for Us All (25-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

And when we thought it was all finished, we were treated to pieces of a wonderful sweet confection (below). I must remember to ask some of our Albanian friends what ti was called.

this special cake topped off the whole celebration 

A Delightfully Special Cake Was Served at the End (25-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

So I am truly thankful for:

  • Friends with whom we can celebrate high points in our and their lives.

  • Plenty of good food with which to satisfy our palate, even if it adds to our waist line.

Then on Friday evening, some of us attended the regional English Language Teachers Association (ELTA) meeting in Lezhë--actually closer to Shëngjin. 

ELTA plenery session Friday evening, Sept. 26 

Main Plenary Session of the ELTA in Lezhë (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Several of the American teachers from LAC were scheduled to lead workshops. After the plenary presentation, I led a session I entitled, "Real Education Involves More Than Just Teaching to a Test." Justin Erb (with assistance from Katrina Schmid) led a workshop right after mine.

NOTE: The three photos below were taken by Melanie Erb with my camera. Thanks a lot, Melanie!!

By the way, in the photo below, can anyone tell who is the administrator/guidance counselor and who is the physicist/chemist? :)

Justin Erb and I presented on Friday evening 

Justin Erb and I Pose for a Photo (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

in the midst of my presentation 

In Action: I Open the Workshop (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a view of the workshop partiicipants 

A View of Half of the Workshop Participants (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

So I am truly thankful for:

  • The joy I find in teaching.

  • Fellow colleagues who enjoy the journey toward more effective teaching and who enjoy talking and leaning together about teaching. 

After my presentation, Dini met me at the door of the session room and whisk us off to join Klementian, Elsie, and Arta and Mersin Xhari. The Xhari's are parents of Irena (who is now a freshman at Hesston College) and Armelda (a junior at LAC). After we crammed all of us in a two-seat car, we drove to Shkodra and had a wonderful meal. Thanks, Arta and Mersin!!

Dini, Mersin and Arta enjoy dinner 

Dini, Mersin, and Arta Enjoy the Beginning of Our Meal (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Arta, Klementina and Elsie enjoy the moment 

Arta, Klementina, and Elsie Share Bread to Augment Their Salads (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

the salad bar with live music on the side

A View of the Salad Bar with Stuffed Grape Leavesw and More (26-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

Thinking of friends takes me back to last Sunday. At My Bar before the church worship service, I learned to know Anton better over coffee and good conversation. He left this weekend to attend the Udhëkryq (Crossroads) Bible School for six months in Erseka near the border with Greece in southern Albania.

Anton ansd I share conversaiton and coffee 

Over Coffee Anton and I Discuss His Bible College Studies (21-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

So I am truly thankful for:

  • Friends with whom to laugh and enjoy life.

  • Friends who are following God wherever he leads them--to further formal education or not. 

I always am captured by young children who seem to perceive life on a different level than us "big" adults. They are sometimes shy but not unkind, and my attempts to get a smile are often rewarded, but not always.

Gledis walks with his sister... 

Gledis and Sister Are Out Walking in Our Neighborhood (24-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

and they walk with another young friend 

She Was Out Walking with Gledis and His Sister (24-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a young boy checks me out at the byrek shop 

Meeting at the Byrek Shop (27-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

So I am truly thankful for:

  • Children in their simplicity and in their shyness and in their inquisitiveness.

  • Our grandchildren whom we miss seeing in person but whose antics and quips make us laugh even from a third of the way around the world. 

Finally here are three photos of some simple tings that are very satisfying--flowers, birds, and bread. 

a beautiful flower 

A Beautiful Unidentified Flower Near Our Church (21-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

a pigeon finding seeds to eat

Pigeons Near the Stadium Hunt for Food (25-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

one of the bread shops we buy from 

One of the Bukë (Bread) Shops We Patronize (27-Sep-14; © Richard L. Bowman)

So I am truly thankful for:

  • The natural world around us wherever we live--for flowers, animals, rainbows, sunsets, and the joy of eating bread.

God creator, redeemer and keeper of life.
Thank you for all of these things and for those I have not noticed.
Help me to be more observant of your work and your grace around me. --Amen!

--©2014, Richard L. Bowman

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