Thursday, September 01, 2005

Shaking your head in Bulgaria

Did you know that shaking your head (the universal sign for "no") in fact means "yes" in Bulgaria. It has taken some time, but I've caught onto this. Now I have a hard time indicating "no" 'cause I shake my head for everything. Oh well. Backwards country that I already love....
It's been a while since I've posted, and I'm not sure what to tell you about. A lot has happened. I'm still scratching, but I'm having a hard time determining whether that might be fleas or if it's from mosquito bites. Ah well. Thank you all for the suggestions. I appreciate them.
This last weekend was pretty good. On Sunday I helped jar some tomatoes for the winter. I also observed the family making "rakia," which might be the national drink. A lot of people make it at home. My family was making it with sugar, water, plums, and giant barrels which sit in the sun. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm sure I will have a taste sometime in the near future. We also spent the day cleaning my room and washing my clothes. The weird thing about it was just the fact that it was a team effort. It's fine. It's just something else to get used to, you know? They're really good about respecting my privacy and listening to me when I say that "I" want to be the one to wash my clothes. I think they're just anxious to help me out. They're still really great though. Villi, her boyfriend, and I went to see "Million Dollar Baby" in Plovdiv on Sunday night. It's nice 'cause the movies are in English with subtitles. Nevermind that there's quite a lapse between the states and here... it won't be long until I haven't seen the movies that are showing. Villi rarely lets me pay for anything - which can actually be quite frustrating. It's not like it's my money anyway. Peace Corps pays me to live like this, and it feels more like an allowance than a salary.
I found out yesterday that my family spoils me beyond belief... more than I thought before. Apparently, the parents don't eat with me because the father has a big affection for meat. Knowing that I'm a vegetarian, they worry that they might offend me if meat were on the table with my food. I'm so grateful they respect my vegetarianism and serve me wonderful meatless food, but I wouldn't mind if meat were sharing the same space as my vegetables. My language teacher came to visit last night, and they loaded her down with bags of food. I've been weighed three times, and I know they think I'm pretty thin. I struggle trying to understand a culture that encourages girls to be super svelte and yet eat a lot as well. I kid you not... size 0 must be the national average for girls here. But anyway, my family is still awesome. It would take up too much time to count the ways....
We had HUB meetings in Pazardjik this last Monday and Tuesday. HUB is where all 50 (49 of us now - one of our group decided to go home) of us PC trainees get together and have meetings regarding safety, culture, and program training. It's not the most enjoyable thing to do, but it is nice to get together with the other trainees. We'll have these HUBs every couple of weeks. I had my first visit to a Chinese restaurant on Monday night. It was pretty excellent. I definitely did not have high expectations for such a place in Bulgaria due to my imperialistic tendencies, but it was awesome. Another thing that was great about this HUB was that we were able to see some site descriptions and get a taste of the environments we might be working in. They gave us copies so we could flip through and see what kinds of projects we might be interested in... or NGOs we might want to work with. Site assignment is getting closer, and the anticipation is growing. I can't believe we've only been here for a little over two weeks. It feels like much longer - so much has happened.
We have an assignment tonight. It's called a "Partner Meeting." We've invited local youth workers from Trud (I like this spelling better) to come and talk to us about the various programs their involved with. I'm a little nervous because I've taken on the task of welcoming them in Bulgarian. I shouldn't stress though. I'm sure it will go well. It's a very informal-type meeting. I just hope people show up. We have to have another one next week with the local youth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Apes... What's the time difference? Anyhow, looks like you are getting used to your new home and getting quite comfortable. I'm glad, as it would take me a few more weeks to get over the culture shock and uncomfortableness of being so far away from everything that I know and understand.

BTW, New Orleans is getting worse by the minute. Refugees are being turned away now in Houston, as people are beginning to die waiting at the Superdome in New Orleans. Lawlessness is rampant as people are shooting each other and raping women in the streets. It's hard to believe that the most powerful and rich country in the world can and has been reduced to this. I think that is what's most shocking. It's as horrifying to watch as the tsunami or even 9/11. You get that same choked-up feeling, a feeling in the pit of your stomach as you watch in helplessness. It's so good that you are doing stuff to help the world. It's really inspiring. Keep trucking and know that not only are you serving others, you are serving the Lord as well.

Liz