Back in September last year, I gave an interview to the pretty and engaging Migrant Woman magazine about:
“How is it, to be in a relationship with a Brit”
The interview is here http://www.migrantwoman.com/2014/09/cross-cultural-relationships-laura-roger/
The Brit in question is my husband Roger who I met in Albania.
Being an adventurous spirit he accepted an offer from his company to relocate to Albania and work on a big infrastructure project, building the nearly 1 billion euros highway that links the rocky mountainous regions of both Albania and Kosovo.
We moved to London in 2008 and that was the start of my British journey. A country and a culture I hardly knew. It all seemed pretty obscure and difficult to understand for the first couple of years, especially the British humour and psychology – the “don’t show your emotions or thoughts” kind of thing.
Or otherwise “the stiff upper lip” a very British expression and behavioural rule that calls for moderation or self-restraint in the expression of emotions.
The Albanian way is completely the opposite, we have dramatic ways of expressing our emotions and that is our strength and part of our culture. Our songs, music, books, paintings are like this, strong, dramatic, with long lasting impressions.
But there lies the beauty of differences and of those differences coming together. As long as differences are managable the relationship can continue and thrive. But we need to adapt, make changes, give way and learn to be a bit of everything.
Adopt an English style when having “deep” chats (so that my English husband can take part).
Then become an excited Albanian girl at a dinner party – but only after ‘the English’ have had a few drinks. Be eccentric when partying, that’s how they will remember you…
But not overly chatty at the start so that everyone can have their time.
Otherwise be yourself, however you are with a dose of caring, empathy, humour and interesting conversation.
That is how I survived the British cultural shoc. I am still here, 8 years later.
Apart from the interview and probably most importantly, what we have as a lasting memory are some beautiful photographs by an Albanian photographer Rinaldo Sata.
The photos were commissioned as part of the interview by the magazine’s editor Mirela Sula.
Rinaldo came to our house, and made us feel very comfortable and at ease. He spoke Albanian to my older son and managed to get the best out of him – Edward tends to be shy with new people, so that was an achievement !
Elliot was very young, 2 months old and it is so lovely to have these beautiful photos with Roger and the two boys, as a family.
Thanks Rinaldo for the photos and thank you Mirela for sharing our story.