When translated that basically means, "smoking causes cancer!" It's pasted on the front of every pack of cigarettes here. And yet everywhere I go, and I mean EVERYWHERE, there's smoking. Smoking at the internet cafe, smoking at the restaurant, smoking in the park, even smoking in front of the "no smoking" signs at the store. And everyone seems used to it. I had coffee with two new friends, Driti and Vani today and Driti says that hardly anyone gets lung cancer in Albania, well at least he's never heard of anyone getting it. I'm not sure what the facts/statics say but I'm gonna have to find out now.
Thing is, the smoke is everywhere, so when I get home, my jacket and shirt smell like smoke. Or worse, my hair smells like smoke. When I express frustration about that many people just say things like, "well you're going to wash your hair anyways right?" Ah, but again, a hair dilemma because I don't wash it daily.
I told my friend Idi about my problem with the smoke and explained how it irritates my allergies and nasal area so now he doesn't smoke around me if we're at a kafe. And Viti has promised to smoke in the opposite direction of me, so that helps. But as for walking down the street behind a smoker or sitting next to one on the bus, a solution has yet to be found! Perhaps I'll invent some type of mask to where that will prevent me from inhaling the smoke, after all, second-hand smoke can cause problems as well and unfortunately I'm not used to all of this as are the Albanians!
In other news I am still trying to adjust to the kids in my neighborhood who point at me or run and hide when they see me coming down the street. Yesterday I met a couple of them who spoke a little English and once I said "Chkeme" which means, "What's up?" in Albanian, it seems that they warmed up to me a little more. I'm beginning to explore various back roads in the area that I live in and there are some really cool places near me. There are several small markets and stores, 24-hour restaurants, cafes, and internet cafes. And also a couple of shops where I can buy t-shirts and socks if I'm ever in need. All in all, I really like the area that I live. For those who have been worried about safety, I actually live about a quarter mile or so from the police station!
Tomorrow's my first day of class...catch you later!