By Mereme Sadaj (Albania)
I heard a lot about Albany since I came here. For some reason, I wanted to go there. First, when I heard this word, ‘Albany,’ it sounded like my country, Albania. When strangers pronounce it, it sounds the same. The other thing is that I wanted to learn more about America. It was March 1, 2011. At this time in my country, it is the beginning of spring. The flowers and trees are almost in bloom. Everything looks beautiful. Sometimes spring comes so early. On that early spring day, a group from the International Center went to Albany. I woke up early and had to get ready as soon as possible. I was very excited. During the three-hour ride to Albany, I saw a lot of trees and a little snow on the ground. For a moment, I felt I was in my country and my eyes filled with tears.
We arrived at 10:50 AM. According to the schedule, after having breakfast we went to a theater. All of us were excited; we laughed and had fun. This place reminded me of a theater where I used to sing in front of many people. Here, there was a big meeting about immigrant rights. Then, people from different places, including students, laborers, senators, and directors spoke about the ways in which they help immigrants in learning English as a second language. In addition, they spoke about opportunities to find a good job. After that meeting, there was a concert. People from different countries like Russia, Spain, Korea, and the Arab countries performed. They sang, danced, and spoke, too. People wore beautiful, traditional and multicolored costumes. Everyone had a terrific time.