Tales of Wanderlust

American Expats In The Balkans

Albania, Food, The Balkans

Fergese- A Traditional Albanian Dish

I don’t pretend to be anything other than a total novice when it comes to Albanian food. I consume it. It’s lovely. The end. Last weekend, though, I decided to attempt to make some Fergese. Mainly because I just couldn’t seem to get it off my mind. Since I was far too lazy to get dressed and go out, I turned to Pinterest and Google, to help me piece together the basic ingredients to make it. It was surprisingly, quite ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Family Travel, The Balkans

Finding Your Center as an Expat or Long-term Traveler

I wrote last week about the stages of culture shock and where I was in those stages. It was raw, it was real. I’m happy to say that I think I’ve broken through the fog and am loving our new life here in Albania. Tirana has captivated me once again. Moving is stressful. Moving across the world is more stressful. When you move to a country with different food, language, customs and social mores, it puts your brain and emotions on ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Personal, The Balkans

Culture Shock

I’ve always heard this term and thought I understood what it meant. I don’t really get culture shock, I’d think to myself, as if I was somehow immune to it. Well, yeah, you sweet little peach… It’s not that hard to adapt from one western destination with great food, culture, and comfort to the next. In fact it’s often thrilling. Like a natural high! But culture shock is a lot more complex than the image of a tourist freaking out over ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Family Travel, Travel

Random jet-lagged musings on our first week in Albania

1. The Albanian people have been so, so kind to us. We’d heard that Albanian landlords weren’t great and getting things fixed could be a headache, but apparently we lucked out because ours came to our home and swept through with gifts for my children (cute little sun hats), potpourri for the house, pretty little nick nacks for our shelves, and the banana candy that their 21 year old son heard William whining about. We asked for a few things, ...
Budget travel, Travel, Travel Gear

Sanity Saving Family Travel Accessories

 We’ve learned a few things on our travels with  kids (many times the hard way). I’m quite minimalist, but while traveling, I have found a few items that are super helpful for having a smooth trip. Lush Shampoo and Conditioning Bars    Why? No liquid rules to worry about! So much better for the environment. Here’s what I suggest: Go to Lush and speak with one of their knowledgeable staff about which kind is best for your hair type. ...
Travel Gear

What’s In My Camera Bag

A question that I get asked a lot is: “What camera and lenses do you use?” I use the Canon 5D Mark II. I bought it years ago when it was top of the line. It isn’t anymore, but I still love it and it takes beautiful pictures. I would love to upgrade to a camera body that does better in low light, but for now, this thing is just like an extension of me. I don’t have to think much, I just adjust and shoot.     ...
Budget travel, Family Travel

How to Save for Family Travel

This is the excerpt for your very first post.
Budget travel, Childhood cancer, Europe, Family Travel, Personal, Travel

Tapping On The Heart

I don’t remember how the feeling came exactly. It wasn’t a lightening bolt like you hear about. It was sort of like a light tapping, the kind that you don’t feel at first because you are so busy with the chaos of raising a family, the kind that gets pushed away. This feeling got stronger, like the way you don’t register something annoying your kids are doing and then suddenly it enters your consciousness and you realize you’re actually ...
Childhood cancer, motherhood, Personal

My William

Surgery was Tuesday and it went well. 95% of the tumor was removed. We are in the Neuro Trauma unit. I keep seeing that word each time we go in and out. Trauma, trauma…traumatized. I am, we are, as a family, so traumatized. William obviously most of all. From the first seizure to the MRI that lit up with a big white circle in his brain, to now. When he woke up after surgery, he couldn’t talk, or move his right side. He was so ...
Childhood cancer, motherhood, Personal


  We are home. For the first few days in the hospital, William wasn’t doing very well and we thought we would be staying in inpatient rehab for a long time. Tony and I mentioned Scarlett while we were talking and Will’s little heart broke. He started crying really hard. We realized he was missing her so much! We just didn’t want her to have to see him when he was really swollen and in a lot of pain. We brought her to the hospital, and ...