Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Int’l Women’s Day & Thanks 4 the maps

It’s snowing again. I made it happen. Yes, I have that much power. All I had to do was wash my clothes… which meant that I had to hang them outside… which means that I made it snow. It’s just like making it rain by washing your car. So yeah, the snow is pretty – all pristine and white – blah blah blah, and this blog was about to be christened “Primavera que no llega” - “Spring that never arrives.” Time is of no consequence. It’s oozed and melted into an indistinguishable, murky puddle. Winter is never leaving. I might as well just accept it. I’ve misread my placement. It’s not “Peace Corps Bulgaria.” It’s “Peace Corps Siberia.”
I’ve been having some good times though. Friday was a holiday (like, Bulgarian Independence Day), so I ditched out and went to visit another volunteer. She lives pretty close to Sofia, so we spent a lot of time there. It was nice to visit and hang out. Plus, being in Sofia meant that I got to eat yummy food. That’s always a plus. I’m a sucker for good food and could easily spend my entire living allowance on nice restaurants if I had the possibility here. It’s a good thing I’m out in the boondocks. So yeah, I had Indian food (mmmmm!) and we also went to a strictly vegetarian restaurant where they had an interesting variety in buffet form. I think you would have liked it, Grandpa. But you make better.
Toni, the other volunteer, and I visited the ruins of an ancient fortress. Then we explored a half-built structure that probably lost funding amidst bureaucratic red tape. It was disappointing to see a structure with such potential that just became a backdrop for graffiti. Later, I went with her to a choir rehearsal. It was interesting. I admire that she’s gotten involved in her community to the point that she’s joined a choir – and singing songs in Russian! We also attended a Latin mass on Sunday. I could kinda understand the order of service. Good ole’ Spanish kickin’ in when I need it. My Bulgarian is no good for my Spanish – nor for my English.
Speaking of Spanish though, I’ve started Spanish lessons with Maria and Reneta. My Bulgarian tutor and her daughter are planning on coming also. We’ll see how that goes. I’m excited, ‘cause it should be fun, but I’m also scared to see how much I’ve stored away in the crevasses of my mind (only to collect dust) – when it used to be on the tip of my tongue. My English classes are going along all right. I’ve missed quite a few due to my recent travels, but some kids are keeping up. Others are starting to view my class as a social hour. They’ll talk the whole time. I’m about to tell them to hightail it over to a café. I have more newfound respect for teachers. I apologize for every time you were trying to teach, and I was talking to those around me. It’s so rude!
Ah, and I have more customs to tell you about. Sunday was like, “Forgiveness Day” or something. I saw a bunch of people gathering around a bonfire near my house. I was told later that young people approach their elders and ask for forgiveness for anything they may have done during the year. Then, the elders turn around and ask them. Interesting. Don’t know why they had to make it a pyro event as well, but it probably has something to do with the coming spring (which isn’t coming by the way – see above – but I guess I won’t dash their hopes). Another popular festival is what’s called “kukeri.” You could "google" it to find out more. People dress up in huge, furry costumes, attach bells to their waists, and beat drums. They do this as a tradition to scare away the winter demons and welcome spring. They do other stuff too, but I’ve only seen it briefly as they passed by in Sofia and from the windows of a bus, so I really can’t speak with much knowledge. Toni’s town had a HUGE kukeri festival a few weeks back. Jennifer's blog has some cool pictures of this. It’s so massive, they only do it every two years. I really wanted to go, but that was the weekend I was in Plovdiv for my “brother’s” wedding.
In other news, I got some free maps from the U.S. Census Bureau today. You can’t believe how excited I am. People always ask me where I’m from – where I am in relation to everything else. How come I don’t go to New York City on the weekends? How come I’ve never been to Brandy’s state (Georgia)? How come I can’t speak on the beliefs/views of an entire nation? Coming from a country that’s about the size of Tennessee – with a total population of about the size of New York City, you have to understand why they just don’t “get it.” Well, now I have free maps, thanks to the Department of Commerce. And I can “show” everyone the answers to these “silly” questions. Isn’t that fantabulous? I love free stuff… especially from the government! It’s so awesome. These are your tax dollars at work, people. So thanks for the maps. I have census maps from both 1990 and 2000 to compare population data. And I have a giant map that’s bigger than any map I’ve ever seen. It’s probably as big as the United States – drawn 1:1 scale! How nerdy am I? See people? See how sad my life has become? I’m excited about maps. I’m practically like “Dora the Explorer” with her backpack and her map. For those of you with toddlers, or have friends with small kids, you understand.
Ah, and March 8th is “International Women’s Day.” What have you bought me, people? I am a woman, after all. You’re supposed to get me something. Didn’t you know? I suppose I’ll forgive you this time. After all, you did “give” me maps…. You can do better next year though. I’ll keep my eye out for any “womanly” traditions and let you know what happens. Really, I think it’s just another excuse for a woman to expect her man to spoil her. Fine by me. Ooh! We just got beautiful red roses from Yanko. Sweet. Let's see what else happens.

1 comment:

David PCV Bulgaria said...

Eh...hey fellow nerd. I happen to really dig maps. And we're in good company. Winston Churchill was an avid map collector and spent much off his time in the underground map room during the Blitz over London. Be proud of your map-ness. Wear your folding accident paper cuts with pride.