Twas the week before Christmas and at the house Brown
We were busy settling into the first holiday season in our new town.
Our tree was imported and decorated with many a light
But the stockings seem to have gone missing during the long overseas flight.
Along Bulevardi Deshmoret e Kombit and Skenderbeau Square the lights are all a flair
Making me wonder why those in residential areas are so rare.
The weather is warm, humid and very wet
But Glenn is hoping that the snow we see in the mountains will get here yet.
Tirana’s first try at a Christmas market is impressive
The overall atmosphere is quite festive.
Food, wine, and craft vendors are numerous
But I find a lingerie booth and a lack of reliable electricity there humorous.
An unreliable internet connection initially made gift buying a flop
But in the end Abcom and Amazon came through and allowed me to shop.
Presents were then purchased and arrived via mail pouch
Proving that even in Albania, Santa is no slouch.
A last minute Embassy decision temporarily lifted the restrictions on outgoing mail
So local shopping ensued and family at home will now receive Albanian trinkets without fail.
Everything is now here but gifts have yet to be assembled and wrapped
And of course this cannot always take place while Sidney takes his nap.
Our holiday parties and dinners are in full swing
Numerous turkeys have been cooked yet there is still fighting over the wings.
Pans and dishes left over from cookie baking fill the sink
And we’ve been gifted with more “special” Albanian raki than we would ever want to drink.
At night the boys sleep soundly in their flannel lined beds
While Mama sits at the computer typing out all of the lists that run through her head.
Cards have been mailed and reservations made
But there is still the fear that additional plans must be laid.
Did I cook enough food to feed the crowds
Did the job I do make Glenn proud?
Will our guests feel like they are treated as kings and queens
Should we buy more toys to donate to the Marines?
These are the things that at night keep me awake
I should go to bed but alas, there is yet another list to make.
Whether I'm ready or not Christmas will arrive
And that is the same regardless whether we are in Albania or stateside.
I'm the only one who will know that gifts remain hidden
I'm the only one who cares that the red in the centerpiece does not match my linen.
I'm the only one who notices that the tree is off balance
I'm the only one who sees the speck of dust on the valance.
Each year I vow to reduce my stress
But another holiday season arrives with more to-do lists hot off of the press.
So in this Christmas week I have one wish to all of our family and friends
May the holidays and new year bring health, happiness and good will to all (wo)men.