Friday, September 22, 2006

Autumn Falls

Welcome to my 100th post! Yay! :::Confetti and glittery stars are falling on your head right now!::: Continue reading for your chance to win a free, gift-with-purchase blender! Only 39.99 leva! Feel free to dance to an offer so good as this one.... Put on some music, and start bouncing off the walls.
I swear the change of weather came out of nowhere. One day it was hot, the next day it was cold, and it's been cold ever since. It's been gray and rainy. My hills have turned from peaceful shades of blue to eerie, but no less beautiful, shades of grey - yes, grey with an "e" describes their color best. I like the weather, but I like staying home in this weather. Fall wouldn't be so bad if winter didn't directly proceed it.
I'll take this opportunity to give you all an update on the center. We got some people to come out last Saturday and help us clean up the outside - pull weeds, repair the fence, etc. Work has started on the kitchen sink. It's pretty, clean, and white. An alarm system has been installed. We still have a number of things left to do: paint the roof, finish the sink, install the computers, put in some more equipment, and do some minor repairs to make the place look "spiffier." Opening is scheduled for October 11th. I really hope everything will be ready by then.
This weekend, I went over to someone's house for "na ghosti" a couple times. There's this little girl in town that has been asking me when I'll come over for quite sometime, and I keep forgetting to come. I was surprised when they wanted me to come back the next day, but I soon found out it was so I could translate a letter they had received from the states. I was a little annoyed, but I mean, that's what I'm here for, right? And they fed me, so why should I complain? After that, I went over to help a couple of my colleagues and Lubo celebrate his name day. It was the day of "nadezhda and lubov" (hope and love), and Lubo (short for love) had us over for some drinks and snacks. He's a really great guy. He's an expert on traditional Bulgarian dances, and he teaches classes here in town. He has a group that's sponsored through our foundation, and they go all over the place. In fact, at the last festival, my buddy Sashko took the prize for "best dancer." Lubo also let me use his studio when my volunteer friends came over to give modern dance lessons. He always says "hi" to me and asks how I'm doing. Anyway, Lubo's house is insane. It's got so many traditional Bulgarian paraphernalia on the walls and all around, it's almost like a museum. If I wanted to show anyone in one place what Bulgaria is, I would take them there. The place reeks of Bulgaria. It's awesome. We also watched videos from the festivals, and I had a really good time just hanging out.
This week has been a little strange. I up at the center for a bit on Monday - waiting for Veska to come so we could talk to a teacher about getting her ready for college entrance essay-writing, but she never showed up. I haven't heard from her since. In the afternoon, I had to hop on a bus to Dupnitsa for more training exercises with the trainees.
I got into Dupnitsa in the evening and proceeded to check into the wrong hotel. I was in my room for a few minutes when the phone rang, and the lady at the front desk told me I wasn't supposed to stay there. As there is only one hotel in town, I had no idea what was going on. Turns out there wasn't enough room at the hotel for all of us, so Peace Corps had arranged that we would stay at a place on the outskirts of the city. It was really out in the middle of nowhere, but it was quiet, pretty, and a place to sleep. The other volunteers who were coming in were just as confused as I was, but we were at least able to find each other and have a nice dinner.
The training sessions went well from my point of view. Toni, a friend and a volunteer, and I gave a session on tolerance. We played some games and had a couple local Roma girls come in and talk. It seemed to go well. We got some good feedback from the trainers and the trainees seemed interested. After that, we had a minority panel discussion with some other volunteers that work with minorities - mostly the Roma. Basically, a facilitator asked us questions while the trainees listened in and added a few questions of their own. I think it went well, but I can get a little effervescent when it comes to minorities. Maybe I almost got into the session a little too much. I needed to take my chill pill beforehand, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. Hopefully the trainees enjoyed it as well.
I missed my bus on Tuesday. I might have made it, but I refused to get scammed by the taxi man again, so I got out of his cab and stood out in the rain to take public transport to the bus station - where I found out there were no more buses to Velingrad that day. Boo! So, I went to Pernik and spent the night at Toni's place. Yay! Only to get up the next day and take the same route back to the bus station. I ran into Yanko and Tsetska on the way there, and they invited me to hang out with them and go on to C.E.G.A. We would talk to them and return to Rakitovo the following evening. No, thank you. I wanted to go home.
Now that I'm here at home, I'm kind of running around confused. I went to Valia's house on a whim and played with Janette for a while. I couldn't find my other colleagues, and I didn't know what else to do. Yesterday, Maria and I hung out in the center. We searched for things to do and occupied ourselves with small activities. We also spent some time studying English. I went to the Roma school with her to make some arrangements and got mobbed by kids. I love getting mobbed by kids though.
Here at home, everything is all insane and crazy. Earlier this week, I came home to find a guy drilling holes in my bathroom floor. Later that day, they drilled holes in the floor of my hallway. This is a good thing, because they're installing some nice radiators around my apartment. I hope to walk around in a bikini this summer - as my landlords have promised me. Thing is, everything is out of place and a complete mess. So, guess who decides to show up this weekend. Yep, my landlords' son and his girlfriend. People are in the middle of hammering away in my apartment when they wander in and throw their stuff in the spare room. Was I told? No. And now that they're doing remodeling in my room, I have nowhere to sleep. I was told later that I would be sleeping in that spare room, and they would sleep downstairs, but now the girlfriend is coming in asking me to move my laundry because they're not going to sleep downstairs. Wait. This is MY place. Where am I going to sleep? Be nice, Apryl. Be nice. The other day, I talked to a lonely baba (grandmother) who wants me to come and live in her house for free! She has two extra beds, and we could live "like sisters."
It's interesting having all these people in my apartment though. They wander in and converse with me. They wander around my house and see my unmentionables drying. It's great stuff. Enyo is still trying to convince me to find a Bulgarian to date. I've got the guy who's installing the radiators asking Enyo why he doesn't just introduce me to his son and telling me that I wouldn't be typing this right now had a Bulgarian not invented the computer. I love living here!
I have to go back to work later this evening. My organization is going through some tough times right now. It seems like everyone is on their last nerve, and a few of my colleagues talk about quitting. I don't know what to do. I feel totally helpless, and I wish I could find a way to convince them to stay. I don't know what's going to happen, but please channel good thoughts our way. We could use them.
Oh, I guess it's only my 99th post. No less cool, but no blender for you.

1 comment:

Phenol said...

Just a request: please, omit the h in "ghosti". The probable ghost connotation is bugging me. "Gosti" would suffice... ;)