As Albanians here know, I am intrigued by Albania, to the extent of filling a few Albanian Quorans’ feeds. That was triggered in the main by an interest in Balkan linguistics, plus Albanian being the local isolate branch of Indo-European.
I didn’t have a particularly negative impression of Albanians before I came to Quora. Unfortunately, what little contact I had with Albanians was in the context of the influx of Albanians as workers in Greece in the 90s: they were somewhat guarded, quite busy trying to make ends meet, and treated with contempt by Greeks. (The grudging respect came later, and it needed the next wave of migration to come through. Just as has happened with Greeks in Australia, in fact.) And of course Albania had just come out of the dead years of Hoxha, chaotically.
I knew from reading that there were intellectuals in Albania, that they were proud, and that I’d have a lot in common with them culturally. I just didn’t really get the opportunity to explore it that much until now.
I have had a very positive experience of Albanians in my two years of Quora, just as I have had of most Turks, and of most Iranians; I just regret I haven’t had the chance to interact with as many Bulgarians or Macedonians. I don’t think my perception has changed, but it has certainly filled out somewhat.