Monday, November 13, 2006

Tear Drops

Life has been unfair to me. I've had a really good life... better than that of many others... probably too good. Things have been easy for me. Now, if you know my background, my childhood and such, you might disagree. But somehow I feel like I've been living in this bubble where things just floated along so well for me. It's strange, I know... but this is my perception of things right now. And then I came to Bulgaria and started to enter my second year of service, and it's like I slammed into this wall. Maybe it's because it's the first time I feel like I have control and yet no control. Like it's my fault my life feels so chaotic. The weight of the world is oppressing me. Maybe I'm still used to having my parents worry about my problems. Life is amazing, but it's not easy.
This is just a quick post to share some deep feelings that might not make sense, but I'd like to share them. I'll try not to have too much of a pity party.
1. We don't have the money to maintain this wonderful center we just built. We don't have money for wood, so the kids and I sit in the classroom and shiver. The parents won't like this. Maybe they won't like it enough to the point that they'll give us some wood. We don't have money for electricity, but we use it anyway. We don't have money for internet, so the computers are just sitting there at the moment. We don't have money for other activities, so I'm teaching English, and that's it. I might not even be doing that for long. Shhh... don't tell Peace Corps!
This puts my colleagues on edge and makes me want to cry. The school will report us for obstructing the educational process if we start before 4 pm, so now I have even more limited time for my classes. The kids have to therefore stay later, and they tell me they're scared to go home in the dark. It's normal. And more kids and adults fall off the English wagon while more want to be added.
2. Supposedly every Roma kid is in school during the day. Not true. I had a kid sign up for English who doesn't study. I saw one - not dressed nearly well enough - getting yelled at while trying to take some scrap wire tied around a pole. Everything is useful.
3. Supposedly we don't have dumpster divers. Not true. I have seen Roma pick through trash while I cook dinner in my lovely kitchen. Again, everything is useful.
4. I read Newsweek, and it depresses me.
5. Angel asked me today, "What is it that weighs on you most heavily?" My answer: "That I'm not better than what I am."
"I'm selfish," I told Angel. I'm selfish because I want things for people's lives that they don't even want themselves. And is what I want really better for them? And why do I want it? What are my motives? I'd like to think that I really do want people to live more comfortably. But is it just because I want to "make a difference?" Do I have a savior-complex? I hope not.
Something positive: I still have quite a few kids for English and some adults. They're wild and crazy, but they're intensely smart. Pretty much all of them have learned whatever I've thrown at them. I know they like me, too. They tell me they wish I could stay forever. Kids are the best. And I'm still meeting people who've heard good things about me and ask for help with something. Even being able to talk and make contacts is a good thing. Like I just found out that the P.E. teacher at the Roma school has worked in Madrid and speaks Spanish. Who knew?
The weekend was quiet. I wanted to make a couple trips, but buses aren't so regular during the weekend, so that was that. I stayed home. I plotted with Brandy about some projects that I hope come to fruition. I had Maria and Reneta over to watch a movie. The internet guys came out on Sunday to get my internet back up and running. How's that for service? I did some cleaning. I had "guests" again that weren't my guests. I don't want to talk about it. I made chocolate chip banana bread for the first time, and Milka said she liked it. I did some preparation for my classes. I know it sounds like a lot... or maybe not.
Why is it that I mismanage time so much? I feel like time slips through my fingers like running water and yet I accomplish so little it feels like nothing. We had some young visitors this week, and they asked what I do for Future Foundation. What do I do? I hang out! I don't feel like I do anything. Yanko was like, "Are you kidding me? You've done so much!" I just don't feel like I've really done anything that matters. Maybe someone would disagree, but it's how I feel. Feelings are weird.
So I've been praying. I ask God not to let my own shortcomings interfere with a wonderful future for the people of Rakitovo. I ask God to push me aside and do amazing things. I ask God to make me super-human. I ask God to make me better than I am. And I cry sometimes.
P.S. I've received $520 in donations so far for the marathon! That's it! You're all getting a hug from me! It might be a teary-eyed hug, but anyway....

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