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Learning Albanian

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I am planning to travel and live in Albania for some time. Before I go I have 4-6 months to prepare and learn some of the language... or at least be introduced to it as much as I can.
I have a friend in school who is Albanian and is going to put something together for me when he can.... key words 'when he can.' It's not that I'm not impatient, but moreso that I am proactive.
1. Which dialect would be advisable to learn for more 'well rounded' usage through the entire country of Albania if not the region?
2. Which resources are available out there that are going to actually be productively helpful.

The reason that I ask the second question is because I have been reading lots of reviews on materials such as Magnum/s language course and Pimsleur language course. Having used Pimsleur before I understand it''s either hit or miss with that resource. Sometimes it's really basic... too basic, and other times its really advanced... too advanced.

I would appreciate any incite as to materials, preferably Cd's/audio cassettes, that would start to create my working knowledge of the Albanian language. I'm really excited to jump in and welcome any help!

Thanks in advance!
adventuresome greg

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