In my treasure box

-- By Marsida Lifa

The chances that two people would give the same definition about “treasure” are equal to the chances that the weather tomorrow in New Jersey will be good enough to go to the beach: zero. Although some superficial people will prioritize materialistic or monetary values, I am here to tell you it is much deeper than that. The kind of treasure I have is a combination of people, the love for my country and my culture, my experiences and accomplishments, while my heart is nothing, but a home to all this treasures. I have built my treasure and now it is building me.

I often have random conversations with myself. Well, sometimes they get really complicated. I start analyzing other people and my feelings towards them. How far would they go for me and beyond what limit would I go for them? Are they worth a spot in my treasure box? As a matter of fact, there are a lot of people that I value; people from the past and people from the present. On top of everything, even myself, is my family. They are my past, my present and my future. They are my blood and soul. I am, because they are. A part of my treasure box is Stela, my lifetime best friend. Her name means “star” and I guess she has the mission of a light inside my heart. She is my partner in madness one, of my biggest supporters and my favorite adviser. There is someone else in my heart and I do believe that he knows that, even though it has been four years since we saw each other. His name is Kristi and I met him when I was only fifteen. We were both kids, but we really enjoyed our time together. I thought I loved him, just like a person loves the sky, or the ocean, but later on I realized that I was actually in love with him. Kristi moving into another country and becoming a stranger broke my heart. I call him my favorite mistake, because even though still a mistake, I never regret what he taught me.


I am extremely proud of my nationality and I love everything about my country; the history, the culture, the nature. The place where I come from is Albania, the land of the eagles. The fact that Albanians today exist is proof of extreme perseverance of a small population, originating in the harshest, most forsaken mountains in the Balkans. Albanians made it through 3000 years of Greek, Roman, Slavic and Turkish conquest, while being outnumbered every time. Our flag is red with a black eagle in the middle. The black eagle symbolizes the strength, the bravery and the determination of the Albanians and the red color symbolizes the blood that has been shed by them in wars, to protect Albania. Speaking about culture, I love everything about it. Albanians are very welcoming people. They consider themselves brothers and sisters and are always willing to help each other. The weddings we organize are huge and the way we dance is unique. Let’s not even talk about the alps and the Riviera; a combination of mountains, gorgeous beaches with clear water and the perfect climate. Whenever I start describing my country, I cannot control the tears that fall from my eyes. The memory of that place is still fresh, it smells like home. Being Albanian is my name, my identity and one of my biggest values to which I will always be loyal.


In the humblest way said, I won’t hesitate to admit how proud I am for my experiences and accomplishments, which as well are a part of my treasure box. I remember that one time I won the second prize at a painting competition. I was upset but that’s what motivated me to work harder. I remember getting a phone call from my teacher asking me if I wanted to be a part of a movie our school was making. “Jeta si një lojë” has now over 1.800.000 views and I always enjoy looking back at it. Another memory from my accomplishments is when I was interpreting poetry in front of a big audience. A part of my treasure box is my first job too. I was fifteen when I started working. I was part of an organization that made birthday parties for kids. I really felt like I took responsibility. My most recent accomplishment is trying to adapt to my new life, creating the feeling of being home in a new country, attending college and working at the same time.


I don’t think there is an amount of money I would trade my treasures with. Counting my treasures reminded me one more time of how rich I am. My treasure box proves that there is more to life than the trill of glory…

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