June 26, 2015
The End Is Just the Beginning

On Friday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m. or not too long thereafter, the 10 seniors of Lezha Academic Center had there graduation exercises. I had been asked by Klementina to be the speaker for the event, so we had my regalia brought from our home when guests came to Albania.

Dini and I share a moment before the grad ceremony

Dini Shahini and I Shared a Friendly Moment Before the Event (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Klementina and I lead the processional

Principal Klementina Shahini and I Led the Processional (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Elsie took several photo during the ceremony of me and the student speakers. (Since it was videoed, I wonder how I could get a copy to see what my presentation was like. Hmmm...)

I give my grad speech

Hopefully My Speech Was Challenging and Inspirational (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Justin Rittenhouse was completing his third year at LAC, and he was given a gift of a çifteli (a two-stringed instrument) in honor of his service. Josh Kirkman was returning to the US after finishing his year and received a qeleshe (or plis), a white felt hat domed shaped without a brim worn traditionally by Albanian men, as a memento of his service with LAC. 

Josh and Justin receive gifts for completing their teaching at LAC

Josh and Justin Show Off Their Gifts (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Klejdia speaks as class president

Klejdia, Student Body President and Valedictorian, Spoke First (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Kostandina speaks as salutatorian

Kostandina, Salutatorian, Spoke Second (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Fabi speask for the class

Fabi Represented the Class as She Spoke (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

After the formal ceremony, the class gathered for a group photo and then the teachers and staff did the same. In between these, I caught three friends sharing a moment.

the senior class gets ready for a group picture

Seniors Get Ready for a Group Photo (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Armelda and Emnola congratulate their friend Klejdia

Armelda and Emnola Congratulate Klejdia (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

staff and teachers gather for a group photo

LAC Staff and Teachers with a Few Missing (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Fabi wanted to catch a photo with both Elsie and me which gave an opportunity for an historical shot of us.

Fabi joins Elsie and I for a photo

Fabi Celebrated with a Photo with Elsie and I (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

As the teachers floated around after the event, I was happy to photograph Alba and her daughter Mia. Can Mom save her phone? :)

Mia and Al;ba, her mother

Alba and Daughter Mia Pause for Me to Take a Photo (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Robin Gingerich, chair of the English Department of LCC International University (Lithuania) and Monique Yoder, Intensive English Program faculty member at LCCIU, were in Albania to lead two weeks of English language classes at LAC. Thus they also attended the LAC grad. The photo below shows them joining the LAC faculty for pizza after grad. 

Monik and Robin came from LCC Internaitonal U.

Monique and Robin Listen to Conversation around Them (19-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

Then at 6 a.m. Saturday morning, Elsie and I left Lezhë by taxi for the airport in Tirana and flights on Turkish Airlines to Dulles, Washington, DC, USA. We were at the airport in plenty of time, but that felt better than rushing at the last minute. I sat on a chair while Elsie waited for the ticket counter for Turkish Air to open.

Elsie waits for the Turkish Air check-in to open

Elsie Waited for the Ticket Counter to Open (20-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

The photo below shows the cloud view from our window on the Airbus A330 plane from Istanbul to Dulles. Note the three flap track fairings (covers) making the apparatus to move the flaps aerodynamic and keeping them clean.

a wing photo from our seats in the Airbus A330o

A Photo from the Window of Our Airbus A330 (20-Jun-15; © Richard L. Bowman)

We are now living for a few weeks at our house in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA, while I await my second left hip surgery now scheduled for July 14 to repair a prosthesis stem that was moving down further into the femur.

We thank God for all of the best wishes we received from friends before leaving Albania and for the care we have already rec3eived here in the US.

--©2014-15, Richard L. Bowman

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