Friday, September 15, 2006

Visit to Rakitovo

I forgot to tell you all about one of the coolest things I have seen so far in Bulgaria, and it took place right in our "chitalishte" (cultural center) in Rakitovo. On the sixth of September (Bulgarian Re-Unification Day),I had the opportunity to witness my first "deaf musical." We were treated to lip-syncing, signing, and dancing - all by a group of people who couldn't hear. Someone in the front row was giving them all their cues, and they were AMAZING! My favorite part was when they all came out in flamenco-ish clothes and danced and "sang" to "Volare" by The Gypsy Kings. It was great. A deaf musical. I never thought I'd see the day....
Today is the first day of school throughout all of Bulgaria. This morning, kids and teenagers have been going to schools around town - loaded down with flowers. I miss going to school. More than anything I miss being little and getting ready for school - imagining how it would be and going with my mom to buy all those clothes and school supplies. Life was so easy then. I just had to look cute (looking cute was so much easier back then), show up, listen, and get my work done.
I remember how it was here last year, too. I came to Rakitovo for my site visit, met my colleagues, and became a little more familiar with what my work would be here. I went with my colleagues to a couple of the schools in town, and we saw the opening of the school year. We also prepared some supplies and goodies for first grade, and I was taking pictures while they passed them out. Everything was so new and exciting. It was Brandy's first day of school, and she didn't know what was going on. I was dragged around, but I loved it as I didn't know what to do anyway. This would be my town... these would be my colleagues... these would be my kids.
This year was a little different. We didn't budget school goodies for first grade this year. There was a miscommunication about what we were doing today, and I planned to go up to the center with ratty clothes. After a huge discussion about where we were supposed to be and last-minute official invitations from a couple of the schools, I was told to change into nicer clothes and go to the office. But then no one came to the office. So I went to the school and wandered around - saying "hi" to some of the kids and teachers, and I gave a flower to Brandy - who was a lot more "in the loop" this year about what was going on and what she had to do. Everything is more familiar and more comfortable. The kids are no less adorable, but I'm sad. How I long to go back to this day last year when everything was chaotic, but we had something to do... when I was filled with trepidation, but it was all so new and exciting. When I was just a visitor in Rakitovo.

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