MidReal Story

Journey of Love: Sofia's Italian Odyssey

Scenario: I was born in Albania, when i was 6 years old i moved on in italy with my family, i lived in Verona for 16 years and from 11 i live in Milan with my husband and son Gabriel. I love to live my life in italy, is my home, my heart, my everything.
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I was born in Albania, when i was 6 years old i moved on in italy with my family, i lived in Verona for 16 years and from 11 i live in Milan with my husband and son Gabriel. I love to live my life in italy, is my home, my heart, my everything.
I was born in Albania, a country with a rich history and stunning landscapes.
From the coast of the Adriatic Sea to the Albanian Alps, nature has sculpted breath-taking beauty across the entire country.
In my eyes, it was the prettiest place on earth.
I grew up in a small village that sat in the middle of rolling hills and valleys.
Every day I was surrounded by family, and every day I was happy.
My parents and grandparents owned a farm, and I would spend hours playing with my cousins in the lush green fields.
We would chase each other around and make daisy chains to wear on our heads.
Life was simple but beautiful.
Albania is a country that has been shaped by many different cultures, so it’s no surprise that it’s rich in tradition.
My childhood was filled with folk music, dancing, and art.
We celebrated traditional festivals like Kushti Martenitsa and Dita e Verës, where we would dance in the streets from morning until night.
To me, Albania was like a fairy tale.
I felt so lucky to have been born there.
When people think of Albania, they often think of its coastline and ancient ruins.
While all of this is true, what people don’t realize is how beautiful the countryside is.
With its crystal-clear rivers and towering mountains, it’s hard to believe that Albania has been left out of the spotlight for so long.
It’s truly one of Europe’s hidden gems.
As a child, I loved running through the fields and exploring the pristine countryside around our village.
In every direction you looked, there were rolling hills covered in wildflowers or towering mountains reaching for the sky.
It felt like we had the entire world to ourselves.
But as much as I loved growing up in Albania, my circumstances were about to change.
For better or worse?
I’m not sure.
When I was six years old, my parents made the difficult decision to leave Albania.
For months they had been struggling to make ends meet, and they were tired of watching me and my sister go without things.
The economy was in bad shape, and many people were struggling.
They thought it would be best if we moved to Italy; we would have a better chance at a good life there.
As you might imagine, I was heartbroken.
I didn’t want to leave my family, and I certainly didn’t want to leave my friends.
But I was only a child, and my parents knew best.
So, one day in June, we packed up our belongings and left our home.
We left the place I loved so much, and we left the people who made me happiest in the world.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Luckily, Italy wasn’t too far from Albania.
In just a few short hours, we had crossed the border and arrived in Verona.
Looking back, it was actually quite fitting that our first stop in Italy was Verona.
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It’s known as the city of love, and Verona truly captured my heart from the very beginning.
Despite being young, I remember a lot about our move.
It was difficult at first, but I quickly fell in love with Italy and all of its beauty.
My parents spoke Italian, but it was a hard language for me to learn at first, especially after growing up in Albania and speaking Albanian all of my life.
But after just six months of living in Verona, I was fluent in Italian and could speak it like it was my mother tongue.
I knew it was important for me to learn the language, and so I tried my best to pick it up as quickly as possible.
We also had to get used to the way of life in Italy, which was very different from what we were used to back home.
It was strange not having our family around us all of the time, but my parents were always positive and made sure to remind us that they would come visit as often as they could and that we would go back and see them, too.
One of the things that made the transition easier for me was that I started school not long after we arrived in Verona.
Italians are very passionate about their education, and school usually begins in September and runs until June or July, depending on the region you live in.
The school system is similar to the American and British systems, with students attending primary school for five years before moving on to middle school for three years and then high school for another five years.
I loved going to school in Italy and being surrounded by other children my age.
It helped me adjust to Italian culture, and I quickly started making friends who lived nearby.
During those early years in Italy, it was hard for me to feel like I belonged anywhere because I wasn’t fully Italian or Albanian—I was both.
But as time went on, I realized that my heritage was something special that made me unique.
Though I started embracing Italian culture, I never lost touch with my roots or forgot where I came from.
My family made sure to visit Albania every summer and winter, and we always took part in local festivals and cultural events there.
When we weren’t in Albania, I still felt connected to the country through the food we ate and the traditions we kept alive at home.
Living in Italy was a new beginning for my family and me, and looking back on it now, I can see that it was a change for the better.
While leaving Albania was difficult at first and took some time for me to adjust to, Italy quickly became a second home that I loved just as much as the place I grew up in as a child.
Italians are warm and welcoming people who make you feel at home no matter where you’re from or how long you’ve known them.
The country is also home to some of the world’s most beautiful cities, from Venice and Rome to Milan and Florence.
How could anyone not fall in love?
Today, Italy is more than just a place where I live—it’s part of who I am.
My family’s decision to move from Albania to Italy when I was six years old was a turning point in my life, but before I get into all of that, I want to talk about what it was like growing up in Albania and the reasons behind our move across the Adriatic Sea.
Albania is a small country in southeastern Europe that’s known for its beautiful beaches, rugged mountains, and rich history that dates back thousands of years.
One of its most famous attractions is Butrint, an ancient city that was founded by the Greeks, captured by the Romans, and later conquered by the Venetians and Ottomans before it was abandoned in the Middle Ages.
The capital city of Tirana is also a popular destination, thanks to its colorful buildings and lively café culture.
I grew up in a small village in the northern part of the country, not far from the border with Kosovo and Montenegro, and spent most of my time playing outside with my cousins or listening to my grandmother tell stories about the old days while she sat in her rocking chair and knitted scarves and sweaters for all of us to wear during the winter.
My parents, along with most of our aunts and uncles, worked in Italy in order to support our large family back home and provide us with a better future than the one they had growing up.
In Albania, jobs were scarce and wages were low, but in Italy, there were plenty of opportunities available for people like them who were willing to work hard and make sacrifices in order to be successful.
I’m eternally grateful to my parents for all of their hard work and sacrifices over the years, even though I didn’t fully understand or appreciate them at the time.
When I was little, I remember looking forward to the days when my parents would come home for a visit or send money so we could buy new clothes and school supplies or treat ourselves to something special from the market.
Even though I couldn’t see them every day or talk to them whenever I wanted, I never felt neglected or unloved because I knew they were doing everything they could to give me a good life and help me grow up into a happy, healthy woman one day.
In the meantime, I was surrounded by family members who loved and cared about me and made sure that all of my needs were met, no matter how big or small they might be.
I have so many wonderful memories of playing with my cousins in the garden, eating meals together at the long table in the dining room, and listening to my grandmother tell stories about our ancestors and the struggles they faced over the years to protect our land and keep our traditions alive.
What I miss most about those times is the close bond I had with my cousins, who I spent most of my free time with, and the way they always made me feel included and special even though I was younger than them by a few years.
When they weren’t in school or busy helping out with chores around the house and garden, we would go on adventures together through the village or find a quiet spot to sit and talk while the adults were busy doing their own thing and minding their own business elsewhere.
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One of the things that stands out about growing up in Albania is all of the stunning natural beauty that surrounded us on a daily basis, from the crystal-clear lakes and rivers to the lush forests and snow-capped mountains, which were just a short drive away from our village but felt like a world apart from everything else we knew and cherished close to home.
Another thing I loved was the food, which is similar to Italian cuisine in many ways but has its own unique flavors and ingredients that make it distinct from anything else I’ve ever eaten since.
The most famous dish in Albania is byrek, a type of savory pastry that’s made with thin layers of phyllo dough and filled with ingredients like cheese, spinach, or ground meat before it’s baked in the oven until its golden brown and crispy on the outside.
I can still remember the taste of my grandmother’s byrek, which was so delicious and satisfying that I always went back for seconds (or thirds) whenever she made it for us at dinnertime.
Finally, I loved all of the delicious fresh fruit that was available all year round, thanks to the warm Mediterranean climate that allows things like oranges, lemons, and figs to grow in abundance in the countryside.
Some of my favorite fruits were the strawberries, which were small and sweet compared to the ones I’ve eaten in other places since, and the cherries, which were bright red and juicy with a sweet-tart flavor that I’ve never tasted anywhere else before.
Albania is a beautiful country with so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, history, and culture, but for many people, it’s also a place where there are few opportunities available for them to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals in life.
Growing up in Albania was an incredible experience and one that I’m very grateful for in many ways, but I always knew in the back of my mind (and in my heart) that I wanted something more than what this country could offer me in the long run.
That’s why I was so excited when my parents told me and my brothers that we were moving to Italy and starting a new life there instead.
Even though the idea of leaving everything and everyone I knew behind was scary at first, I was also excited about the possibility of living in a new place and meeting new people who could help me grow and change in ways I never imagined before.
As soon as we arrived in Verona and settled into our new home there, I knew right away that I was going to love Italy as much as I loved Albania (if not more) because it was such a beautiful country with so much to offer in terms of history, art, culture, and cuisine.
One of the things I loved most about Verona is all of the beautiful architecture, which is a mix of different styles from different periods in history and includes everything from Roman ruins and medieval castles to Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches.
There are also many beautiful parks and gardens to explore around the city, as well as lots of charming cafes and restaurants to enjoy all year round.
Verona is also known for its vibrant cultural scene and many festivals and events that take place throughout the year to celebrate everything from Shakespearean plays and opera performances to wine tastings and art exhibitions.
Even though Verona isn’t one of the biggest or most famous cities in Italy (like Rome or Milan), it’s definitely one of the most beautiful and interesting places I’ve ever visited or lived in over the years.
One of the reasons I wanted to move to Italy (and study here) in the first place was because I’ve always loved music and singing and wanted to be an opera singer when I grew up.
I thought that Italy was the perfect place for me to pursue this dream and make it come true because it’s the birthplace of opera and home to many famous composers and opera houses where I could learn from the best and develop my skills along the way.
When my parents told me we were moving to Milan when I was eleven years old, I was a little disappointed at first because I had just started making friends in Verona and wasn’t ready to leave them behind so soon.
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