Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Day Late and a Leva Short

Chestita Baba Marta! Literally, Happy Grandmother Marta Day! Which was yesterday... but no worries. Go here if you want to learn a bunch more. Otherwise, I'll try to give you a short synopsis as follows:
So, March is the only feminine month in the Bulgarian Calendar. Does this mean I have a masculine name? Hmm.... And the women take advantage of that by having a "Baba Marta" day and a "Day for Women" (March 8th). So, as far as Baba Marta, there is, of course, a legend. (Check the link) And because of this, vendors sell "martenitsis" (red and white decorations) all over the place. Some can be pinned on shirts, but most look like friendship bracelets and are worn around the wrist. You give these to your friends and family, and then they're supposed to wear them until they see a stork (a sign of Spring here) and then they'll hang it on a fruit-bearing tree or hide it under a rock. So yeah, now I have a bunch of "martenitsis" wrapped around my wrist. I can't wait 'til a see a stork. Then I'll probably just take these off and keep them as a souvenir. Hooray for Spring. There wasn't any snow in Stara Zagora (where I've been for the past few days) and it was beautiful. Now I'm back in Rakitovo, where there's still snow on the ground and the thought of going outside discourages me.
Here's some other random news for you: Apparently people from a neighboring town (Batak) is trying to take land from Rakitovo. I hear music going on outside and Yanko told me people from Rakitovo are blocking the routes to Pazardjik. The people in Pazardjik (our regional government) are agreeing with Batak. Interesting. I wonder what would happen if Citrus Heights or Carmichael wanted more land. Nothing like a land dispute to bring out civic pride.
Like I said, I've been in Stara Zagora the past few days. Before that I've been in Velingrad with an orginazation-sponsored training. I haven't been here in a week. Busy times. I went to a Project Design and Management (PDM) workshop with a bunch of other volunteers. Honestly, it wasn't that helpful. I did have a good time seeing other volunteers again though. It will probably be another 8 months before we all see each other again in a big group at mid-service training. I'll start visiting people as soon as the weather gets warmer though. Yeah, and I have to find time to get away from work. These people are SO busy. Fortunately, tomorrow is a holiday. March 3, 1878 - Bulgaria was finally liberated after 500 years under Turkish rule. Think I'll try and skip town again for a bit to celebrate.

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