Friday, April 28, 2006

I Stan Bull – Not Con Stan Tin Opal Pictures!

So I took almost 500 pictures in Istanbul. Don’t worry though – I’ve cut out all the good ones and left you with 213 sub-par offerings. You know the drill. Click here. See my pictures. Waste time. Consider going to Turkey for five seconds. Talk yourself out of it. Return to your normal routine. By the way, I’m way behind on the plain old Rakitovo happenin’s pictures I’d like to share with you. So much to do…. This will have to suffice for now.
While I have you here, I thought I’d give you some random information. Did you know that Big Red gum is not red here in Bulgaria? First of all, it’s strange to even have Big Red gum here in my opinion. So, you have it. Why make it white? Why leave out the dye? Why do I care? I have nothing else to occupy my time at the moment. I’m sitting in my living room staring at a pack of Big Red. I’m not complaining. I’m glad it’s here in my living room. I have good childhood memories of Big Red. It’s my favorite gum by far. It loses flavor way too fast though. Wrigley’s should do something about that. Maybe if it were red….
My landlords’ grandson has started calling me “Kakata O.K.” First of all, “kaka” means “older sister.” Yeah. Weird. And “brat” means “brother.” But I digress…. So, I’m “kaka” to pretty much every kid here… as I’m now officially quarter-century crisis age. And their grandson likes to say “okay.” I’m not sure exactly where he picked that up, but they thought it was great, so they kept telling him, “Say ‘okay’ to the older sister.” In Bulgarian, that translates as, “Kazhi na kakata ‘okay.’” So now, when he sees me, he calls me “Kakata O.K.” It’s gotta be easier than “Kaka Eypril.” But he refers to me in the third person when he sees me. “This is Kakata O.K.!” “Kakata O.K. is doing this… Kakata O.K. is doing that.” It’s cute, and it’s definitely better than “Kazhi na baba ‘thank you,’” which I’m not even going to go into I’m so tired of hearing. Basically it’s from a commercial, and if the entire English language could just be recited in thirty-second snippets over and over again, I’d have a lot of English speakers on my hands.
Oh, and apparently I can’t get sick anymore… EVER AGAIN! I got lectured yesterday. Ani got all over me about how I’m not eating enough and that’s why I’m sick. Um, I’m no expert, but I think I stood too close to someone who had some nasty germs, and that’s why I’m sick. It’s a cold. It happens to the best of us. I’m fortunate that I made it all winter without getting a bug, but maybe germs get too weak to infect you when they’re in sub-zero temperatures. Yanko wanted to check in on me the other day. He even offered to send someone over to help me. Help me? With what? Moral support when I need to just roam around in my pajamas half the day? He told me, “When you feel bad, we feel bad.” Angel started telling me to dress warmer and drink tea. I know it’s just because they care about me, and I’m grateful for that. It’s just too much pressure to stay healthy. Girl can’t take a mental health day. For the record, I’m even worse now. And now they’re trying to get me to stay home, but I’m being stubborn, and they’re calling me on it. Girl can’t win. A lot of people are blaming it on the Turkish bath, and I almost like the idea. Not only did the baba rearrange my bones, but she gave me an icky cold on top of it.
Condoleezza Rice was in town today. I like to affectionately call her “Condi,” but she’s told me it’s not appropriate when she’s abroad and meeting dignitaries and all. She’s here to sign a NATO treaty thing to build three military bases here in Bulgaria or something. I’m not really on the up and up about these things, but I know that a fairly vocal minority is not happy about it and has been protesting at the embassy. They’re called ATACA and they believe in Bulgaria for the Bulgarians – meaning if you ain’t got Bulgarian heritage, get out. They’re anti-American, anti-Roma, pretty much anti-everything that’s not like them. They’re a small group right now, but they get a lot of attention, and their influence is growing. I think things got violent at the embassy, and my colleagues told me that some retirees got knocked down by the police. It’s sad really. So, Ms. Rice was having a meet and greet for PCVs today, and we were all invited. As much as the idea of standing outside for two hours, going through tons of security, and maybe getting to look at the Secretary of State for fifteen minutes (candid pictures only, but she might shake your hand) thrills me, I decided I’d better not miss work for it. She’s too busy for our usual heart-to-hearts this time around anyway. Hopefully she’ll be back another time and I can touch her jacket or something. Plus, today is my counterpart’s birthday. I haven’t even gotten him a present or anything. I’m such a horrible volunteer.
Okay. I think that’s enough randomness for you today. More later. Be sure to tune in for that. Or, you know, look at my pictures, come to Bulgaria, we’ll go to Istanbul and create randomness together! Don’t refuse these offers, people. You only have another year and a half to crash at someone’s pad in the Balkans. It’ll cost about $1000 to come and stay at my place, but the plane ticket is free! These deals don’t come around everyday, you know.

1 comment:

kit said...

yeah, you were probably better off not having met "condi."

i think we the office of secretary of state would've been better not having met her, as well.