Paging roasted chickens

My phone rings.

“Hey honey, where have you been hiding? How come I can never get you?”

Moot point, since she already got me several times already. I mumble something resembling an answer without actually being one.

“Hey listen when can I come by with the luggage?”

“What luggage?”

“The one for your mom to take to Albania”

One whole luggage? I flash back to the open clothes, some still in shopping bags, some in luggages, some in the carryons, that my mother has been fighting with since the month started. She bought bags, shoes, advil, tylenol, rolaids, tums, black shoes for grandma, running shoes for brother, candies for the kiddies, suits for my aunts, underwear, hemorroid cream, 99cent perfume, etc. For all i know, she singlehandedly saved National Liquidators from chapter 11. And my dad’s clothes are going in one single carryon.

When I call to tell her about the conversation with my friend, she starts yelling and is still talking when I get home 8 hours later. What to do?

I pray there are no further cousins and friends, suddenly discovering my parents’ imminent departure. It is always the same story. Because one asked for a letter or some money to be delivered to the family 10 years ago, it is now one’s most holy duty to deliver baked chicken, 99cent shoes and shampoo, aspirin, colored pencils, and every single horrendous porcelain doll and rogaine sample, that can be acquired at such short notice.

I break down and complain to my Haitian friend, who tells me the story of her cousin going to Haiti. Somebody called and begged to meet her at the airport with a very insignificant package for their family. She felt generous and said yes. Sure enough, there is a guy with a real life SUV tire for her to take on the plane. Oh, so it is not only Albanians.

I tell her the story of another friend who once agreed to take a wrapped up package and put it in her luggage without checking what it was. She always packed the day before, so the luggage was packed and locked for three days. She got stopped at customs, because her luggage smelled funny. When they opened it and unwrapped the package she had to deliver, they found a putrefying roasted chicken. Needless to say, now she only travels with her toothbrush, one solitary pair of clean underwear, passport and money. And she only calls from the airport to say goodbye.

 My dream is that one day I will have only one small carryon with my clothes, one luggage with shoes and that there will be no one to call and waste my vacation time on waiting for them at the cafes. And I always start so well. I say I will take nothing. Then relent and accept money and letters. By the time my luggage is ready for packing, I am so overwhelmed in bad rayon sweaters, plastic smelling shoes and kitchen utensils that I want to shoot somebody. Nevermind when I come from Albania. It is a wonder I have never been detained for all the amount of trahana, mountain tea, raki, special riccotta cheese, olive oil, olives, my grannie lemons, bakllava, turkish delight, I smuggle through customs. It must be my face I guess.

So Mom and Pop leave on Saturday. I am keeping my fingers crossed that their luggage will not have to be opened at the airport, their plane will make it safe at the destination, and the luggage with their underwear will be the one not lost, not the other way around like it usually happens.  Until then, I am praying for my sanity.


19 thoughts on “Paging roasted chickens

  1. vertet amerika ngelet ai vendi i larget i larget qe duhet te sjelli plot gjera. Me mbahet mend ne fillimet e çlirimit, ne Rinas, valixhet me te medhaja qe kisha imagjinuar ndonjehere, vinin nga Amerika. Ne ketej nga Europa kemi me pak probleme. Pushime te mbara prindit.

  2. I hope your parents will make it to Albania safe an I believe once there the stress will significantly reduce until the day they have to come back.
    As for turkish delight, here we have some very good one, if you like it I can send you some.
    Be well.

  3. This post amuses me to no end.
    The weirdest story I heard is of a mother who tried to send her son a gun..hidden in a jar of honey. I really hope this is just an urban legend to scare people and make them check their packages carefully.

    Hope your parents have a safe journey.

  4. naida, please keep the dreaded things away from me. can not abide turkish delight.
    thank you all for your best wishes. i will be queen of the castle for a whole month.

  5. Thank god for non-albanian relatives, albanian friends that travel home on a regular basis (thus we don’t need to carry anything extra) and my own resourcfulness (of some 11 years ago) for claiming that since I- a student, had so many books to carry back and forth, no parcels or presents would be included. That means two trunks follow me on my jurneys home. One empty and one half full. Just in case I plan to stash up on high heals or sth while in Albania.

    Buckle up some sanity until they actually sit on the plane and than uncork a bottle of your favorite sth 🙂

  6. hahahaha this is hilarious but true at the same time…me ka ndodhur dhe mua nje here kur po kthehesha per ne usa dhe nje person me kerkoi qe t’i merrja “suposedly” nje pakete te vogel per te afermit e saj ketu, por realisht nuk e pranova sepse s’kisha vend ne valixhet e mia, mirepo te ze halli me shqiptaret sepse te varin turinjte sikur ju detyrohesh nese nuk ju ben favore. nejse, ty te uroj t’ja kalosh sa me mire ne “mbreterine” tende:))

  7. Will never forget one time at the Budapest airport, when, because of the bad wheather, the flight to Albania was cancelled. It took several hours to convince everybody that it was no plot against Albanians… that it was just a technical thing. All the luggage was brought back into the airport hall…. Fellas, you can’t imagine, it was a Mountain in the middle of the open floor…. the poor plane carrying all of it… then followed the insecurity of everybody to leave their things (who knows the word “coqe” in Albanian pls raise their hands) alone, while overnite in the airport hotel, the plans to make guard in shifts, so nobody took the “coqe” away, etc etc… yeah, very embarrasing…. The year was about 1993 or something….

    Anyway, the parents are away… yahoooo!

  8. Nooooo, why do I have the impression I look like a bad guy, or the “wrong guy” anyway…? What have I done, poor ol’ me…?

    It is really with a “c” and means something that is not a suitcase, i.e., a decent luggage, rather a sloppy plastic bag where the “stuff is stuffed in” in an ugly way…. they use it the Southern Albania as a word and over all Albania as a “practice”…

    PS mos gjuha shkon ku dhemb dhemballa? 😉 😛

  9. belle fleur, I should have taken yours and elais’ route if i had more guts to say “no”. as it is, i will continue to bitch, moan and carry on other’s people luggages. thank you for the sympathy.

    peach, the tongue not only visits the aching tooth, but it also swishes up and down, massages the pulsating pain, maps the terrain with the hope that the swelling has gone down, and then returns to the mouth cavity only to visit again and again and again.
    human nature is wonderfully repetitious.
    will bother my granny for a fuller “coqe” explanation and ussage.
    by the way, you will go down in history as the world’s most reluctant villain.

  10. 😉 ;-D 😛 calssy girl, anything that makes you happy….

    boy… gotta go to work… AGAIN… 😦 ’til later….

  11. Blete ka ardhur koha disa nga keto shkrime te na i sjellesh edhe ne shqip. mendoj se jane “buka” per peshkun.

    I can relate se mua me vijne njerez cdo vit dhe kur ikin duhet me e mor ca cuna me vete qe te ndihmojne me muskujt te mbyllim deren e avionit…


    Advil e duan dhe ata te tute? Keta e duan “liquid gel” dhe mos be gafe te blesh generic se nuk ua hudh dot.

  12. “special riccotta cheese”

    we all know this is “Gjizë”

    mua me sollen aq shume heren e fundit sa e bera fergese se po me prishej ne frigorifer. Pai e ben fergese me speca dhe domate duron goxha…

    u mesuan dhe ca amerikane me gjizë “geez-oh” dhe tani duan po nuk kam me ca tu nxjerr, rakine s’e nxjerr se gjoja nuk kam…e kam fshehur ne nje dollap.. shh

  13. ah Blendi, mos na kujto gjizen tani, mezi po pres te vije mamaja. raki kemi edhe ne ca aty tek arkivi i shtetit.
    nuk e di se sa te interesuar mund te jene peshqit per keto qe shkruaj une. jane halle mondane.
    ndoshta do te bej nje artikull etikete per kete pune. atyre me sa duket ua kam marre doren 😉

  14. Ca gjize mo gjize thone keta. Gjyshes sime i vjen pakua me buke te zeze ketu ju ankoheni nga gjiza. Kur vajta vjet ne Shqiperi me vjen tezja pervec pakove te veta me sjell dhe te shoqes…. eee.. do ta marresh se me beri nder heren e shkuar… pastaj vjen gruaja e xhaxhait.. double pako dhe kjo. E rri urte thot gjyshja.. rri mire se nuk je fillikat.. ja gjysmen e familjes e ke ketu ne Amerike…. “duke tundur koken”

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