Tuesday, November 22, 2005

World of White

My beautiful Rakitovo has transformed into an even more enchanting place to live. It has covered itself in a sparkling blanket of white. It's also turned a little dangerous. I actually just fell and hit my head about an hour ago, but it was due to a combination of stupidity and clumsiness. I was walking to a cafe with some of my friends and we came upon some youth sliding down one of the various grades in the center of town. Wanting to show that I'm still a brave and young myself, I decided to slide down too. *Crash!* And about half-way down I fell on my head and my wrist got in the way too. Poor Angel felt terrible. "I knew it was going to happen," he said. "Then why did you offer to hold my bag?" I retorted, smiling.
I played Bulgarian Poker tonight. Nines and up are separated out of the deck. Everyone gets three cards and that's it. Runs in any suit is good. Runs in one suit is better. Three-of-a-kind is good, too. If you have a good hand from the get-go, you're golden. If not, tough luck. There's no point in bluffing 'cause all you're betting on is how many times the other person can slap you on the hand if they have a better hand. Strange, but amusing to play with a bunch of teenage boys. I tried making a largely improvised version of "Cowboy Cookies" - a Laura Bush recipe my Aunt Cathy sent me. I threw a bunch of crazy stuff in there to make up for everything the recipe called for that I was missing. I didn't get the consistency right though, and they turned into something more like puddles than cookies. I broke them into bits and brought them to the club 'cause I thought they were still yummy. They must have been, 'cause they're gone now. Again, they asked for the recipe, but I don't know if I'd want to duplicate that even if I could! Tomorrow I'm inviting Brandy over for dinner. I'm going to try out a lentil & potato soup and a cornbread recipe my grandpa sent me. That'll take some improvisation as well, and I'm sure it'll never be good as he makes it, but I'm still going to try. I'm turning into a little Betty Crocker! For those of you who know about my lack of cooking skills, you will understand why I'm bragging about such minutiae. For the rest of you, I know I'm rambling. I'll move on.
A lot has happened since I posted about my "SOS Adventures." There has been an Adventist series in Velingrad. A pastor from Wisconsin and a translator from Andrews were giving seminars nearby, and I was able to go to a couple of them. It was great to hear English translated into Bulgarian, plus I got to talk to the speaker and the translator a bit. It's just such a small world - when you can interact with that sub-culture of English speakers over here. Of course, Adventists here talk a lot about Loma Linda (for those of you who know, you understand), and I feel as though the world really is a tiny place. For those of you who don't know, Loma Linda is a fairly prestigious Adventist medical school about twenty minutes from where I attended college. In fact, they were featured in a Bulgarian edition of "National Geographic" that my tutor gave me. Just about anyone who knows me in town knows that I come from an Adventist background. It's just that small. Pretty much everyone knows my business. Ah well, being part of an Adventist community is good for making contacts. I met a lot of young people and actually met the counterpart of another PCV in Plovdiv. And being part of a Christian community is good for my faith.
I was in Kyustendil on Thursday and Friday of this last week because my organization (along with another NGO, "Every Child," in Velingrad) was part of a cultural exchange to learn how Roma children integrate into largely Bulgarian schools over there. I need to dedicate a post to what I understand about the Roma situation in Bulgaria. Look for that to come sometime later. Kyustendil was fun. Oops. I think they're closing the cafe. I'll add more to this post tomorrow. Ciao!

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