I once lived with a Muslim family for two years. It was extremely challenging, but not in the ways I expected it would be.

I lived with the Muslim family in their house near the center square of the capital city of Albania. There were nine of us in a relatively small space. Added to the cramped conditions was the fact that running water flowed only a few hours a day, electricity was intermittent, and food variety was limited. But I found none of this too difficult, even though Albania (Muslim, Balkan, post-Communist, poor, Mediterranean) could not have been more jarring to my affluent, American, "white," Baptist upbringing.

What I found most challenging was this: They loved me. They loved me not only in a pat-you-on-the-back landlord sort of way. My Muslim family loved me like a son, which included caring for me as their spiritual responsibility.

This took particular force in the person of my hunched and humming Albanian grandmother. She was the first face I saw each morning, and at night ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, join now for free and get complete access.