Friday, August 11, 2006

Landmark

It's strange how dates and times can take on meaning for certain people. Like today has special significance for me even though it's not really a milestone in my Peace Corps service or anything like that. Other than it being my friend's mother's birthday (Happy Birthday, Linda.), today marks a year from when I said "Good-bye" to my own mother at the Sacramento airport and started my Peace Corps experience in Washington D.C. And what a ride it's been. Those of you who are faithful readers to my blog know that I've had my ups-and-downs. It had mostly been up (with great thanks to God) until recently. And believe me, I wish nothing more than to write more positive, happy things in my blog. I'd like to believe myself an overall happy person. And I don't want you to worry about me. I'm just in a phase right now where I'm having a rough time, and to be dishonest about that would be difficult for me right now. I think of myself as a sincere person. Those of you who know me well know that I don't have a poker face. It's infuriating that I wear my emotions on my sleeve and my body language betrays my state of mind, but it's who I am.
My colleagues know that I've been down as of late, and my boss and I had a talk about it. Yanko tried to comfort me by saying that things are just generally slow for us in the summer because the kids are either gone to the forest for work or they're on vacation. He also said that you can't push someone to do something they don't want to do. This is hard work that we're doing here - trying to change people's minds and make them look at things from another perspective. Sometimes, it's just not going to work. But it's the fact that I don't even know how to try that's getting me down. And I have been busy this summer. I've been so busy, I haven't been here to try anything. A lot of people have told me that they liked the last post because it seemed more optimistic. In a way, that makes me feel down because now I feel like I should apologize for being sad. I can't help the way I feel, but I have power to respond to it in an appropriate way. I'm still here, people. I'm still in Bulgaria. I'm realizing that I'm frustrated and times are difficult, but I'm not planning on running away from this. I want to look at things square in the face and say, "Yes. I'm sad. Yes. I'm having a hard time at the moment. Yes. This hurts. Yes. I'm discouraged. Yes. I will get through it. No. I refuse to give up. No. I refuse to leave. No. I refuse to think that this is how it's going to stay." I'm being honest with my feelings and honest with the fact that I really don't know how to deal with them, but I trust God to work it out and help me learn from this. This has to serve some purpose, otherwise what was all of it for? I don't like being down, but I'm not going to lie to myself and tell myself that everything is good at the moment. I just wish I could be more of an actor around my colleagues and people in town, because I'm sure they'd rather deal with a happy Apryl than with the shape-shifter as of late.
I'm hoping things will pick up. Earlier in the week, I went and visited a friend who I'm hoping to get back to studying English with me. It was a nice visit, and in the end she invited me to take a trip to see some relatives at the end of August. I hope that pans out because it sounds like a lot of fun. I haven't been able to study English with her yet, but maybe next week or something. Angel also says that he will start studying English with my everyday starting Monday. I know he's really busy though, so I'm not sure if that's going to happen. I hope he does though, even if it's selfishly so I have something to do.
The guy at the internet cafe - after basically having a customer/internet service provider relationship with me for ten months - asked me to join him and his friends for a beer one night. I declined at first, but when he asked me why, I realized I didn't have a good reason. So I went and talked to him and his friends for a bit. He invited me to come along on a trip they're planning to the sea at the end of the month. It's his birthday, and they're going to a metal concert out there. I don't really know them well enough to do that - so I told them I had other plans (which is true), but he's back to generally ignoring me like before. Can I just turn into a junior-high girl for a moment here and say, "Boys are weird." Okay. Glad to have gotten that out of my system.
I was over at my landlord's house the other night, and after three glasses of wine (apparently too much by my standards) got into a pretty heated discussion with a guy about the Roma. He basically said they were all the same, and he didn't like any of them. Why was I here to work with them? I should be working on behalf of "real" Bulgarians. It was an amusing conversation - just because he was actually so good about the debate. I've laxed a little, too. I realize that I'm not going to change people's opinions just like they're not going to change mine. And if I can just make them think, then I'm doing my job here. It was the most amusing, "I hate the people you work for/Why are you such a close-minded jerk" exchange that I've had since coming here. Those conversations usually just wind up with me being pissed of. The alcohol probably helped.
I got a package the other day from my mom and a couple friends. The goodies inside are great, and I've got some movies now to waste more time with. Yes! I watched "Moulin Rouge" last night. I also got some stuff to try and connect to the wireless network here. Unfortunately, those things aren't going to work from my apartment. I'm frustrated, but now my landlords' daughter, Gergana, knows that I've been frustrated about it, and that I really want internet in my place. We're supposed to go today and talk to someone about getting a cable or something wired up. We'll see how that goes. Maybe I'm just condemned to a life here in Rakitovo without personal internet. I shouldn't whine. I am in the Peace Corps for goodness sake.
So anyway, a year since I last saw my mom. A year since I was last in Sacramento. For many of you who read this, it's been more than a year since we last saw each other. Believe me, I feel the time. I feel it, and I miss you all. Here's a big hug from me to you. And a big "thanks" for reading. And a big "thanks" for time to make me aware of how long I've missed you all and how blessed I am to have you in my life.

1 comment:

David PCV Bulgaria said...

when you
change the way
you look at things
the things you look at
change

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