Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Haunted Ambivalence

So the rest of last week went well. Like I mentioned in the last post, my younger kids had a show for “Baben Den.” It went really well. I was so proud of them. They translated correctly (for the most-part), sang loudly, and did all the motions. We sang a couple songs: “Hello, How Are You?” and “Head and Shoulders.” And I have no doubt that we charmed all those senior citizens. We got compliments, and we also received cookies and cakes for our efforts. It was crowded and really warm inside, so we waited outside for the show to start. I thought the kids were doing well, considering. There were a bunch of them (yay!), and there was nothing for them to really do while they were waiting. Sure they were teasing each other, shouting, and testing my nerves a little bit, but they’re little kids, and we were outside. Lubo was there with his dancing group – as they were also slated to perform. He came over three times and told my kids to be quiet and calm down. They listened to him. They don’t really listen to me, but I didn’t think they were being too insane. We were outside, anyway. I think Lubo thinks I have no control over my kids. I felt so silly. Haha. Well, I have little control over them at times – let’s put it that way. But it all turned out great, and the kids were awesome when it was time to perform. Then, we gathered around and watched the dancing group. They had some Bulgarian “Narodni” (national) Dancing first, and then they followed that with some typical Roma “kuchek.” The elders appreciated the national dancing, but they really got into the “kuchek.” They stood up, swayed, and clapped their hands. Then, one of the “babas” (grandmothers) came over and started dancing with the group. It was awesome!
This weekend, I went all the way to the coast on the other side of the country to say farewell to one of my favorite PCVs. Jerramy (I’ve mentioned Jerramy before – of Jerramy and Amy – since we’ve taken trips and done projects together) has decided to go a new direction with his future. He’s going to travel to Prague, Italy, and Switzerland to work on a few farms and experience the life there. His food and housing will be covered for the work that he does. After about three months of that, he will go back to the states to start firefighting and earning money for graduate school. Amy will stay here. I admire them quite a bit. I don’t think I could say good-bye to my spouse – after all the time supporting each other through this PC experience and living in a foreign land together. It’s amazing.
So anyway, I had a good time over the weekend, but I didn’t get much sleep. Took an overnight train to Burgas, couldn’t get in the sleeping car, crashed out on a long seat, woke up in Burgas at six a.m., went to a café, saw the sun rise over the sea, and then finally met up with the others. We had a fairly relaxing day, and then a dinner party in the evening. The crowd was great. I liked the group of people that I was with. They made me laugh. I tried to play some “Texas Hold ‘Em,” but I lost my two leva (about $1.20) pretty quickly and had to bow out. (sigh) That night, I stayed up until 5 a.m. playing games with some people, and then I tried to get some sleep before taking a train all the way back at 10 a.m. the following morning. I was surprised I wasn’t more tired, but I didn’t come into work at all on Monday. I just couldn’t deal with it.
Yesterday, my classes went well. I get excited when I see people catching on and making progress. It’s almost enough to make me enjoy teaching English – but not quite. When it comes down to it, I just don’t enjoy it. I don’t know why. I have to find some things that help people that I do enjoy. Thing is, I’m scared. Maybe I’m just discouraged. Maybe I just lack the creative power. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe a lot of things….
I’ve started taking Bulgarian lessons again. This time, I’m taking them from an actual, Bulgarian teacher. I’m excited about this. I had my first lesson yesterday.
This week, I have to wrap up my SPA project. We have to do the evaluations and talk about what our work has accomplished. It’s honestly very disheartening. Yes, I have my classes. Yes, the interaction is great, and I truly hope that its having some effect. However, we dreamed bigger things for that center, and we’re only doing a small percentage of it. Also, we’re not even using the center at the moment because the heating system doesn’t work correctly. Grrrr!!! And now bills have started to come in for rent. Electricity will surely not be far behind – along with water. It never ends.
I want to keep helping to find a way to sustain this center. This means finding money from somewhere. This means writing a project. This means that my colleagues need to sit down and find some room on their already overflowing plates to write with me. I also just found out that, if I want to extend for a third year (oh! the ever-looming question!), I need to turn in my application (with all the possible exaggerations I can invent to tell them that my work is invaluable here) on my birthday: April 11, 2007 – the day I turn 26. I feel the weight of my life moving through my hands like slippery, sparkling waters. The waters used to look so clear. Now they’ve taken on a muddy texture.
So, yesterday I was invited to “na ghosti” by an elderly lady that I met on the bus to Rakitovo. Apparently she lives in Sofia, but she has a house here in town. She was coming in to look at the house. After exchanging about two sentences with me, she invited me to come over. I agreed to come the following day, i.e. today. So, the time came around when I was supposed to go, but I didn’t really want to. I didn’t have classes today because the center’s too cold, the kids are sick, and the school is closed for “flu vacation” anyway. I wanted to take the evening off to relax as I wasn’t feeling so great myself.
Well, I finally got together some homemade candies (yay for packages from the states!) and dragged myself out into the drizzling evening. Yes, we finally got rain – and wind! And I wander around the area where she told me she lived. I went to the old clock tower – a landmark in our town, and I wandered. I found someone coming out of their house, and I asked her if she might know the woman. She pointed to a house up on the hill, and I took some streets up there. Finally, the street led to this muddy path, and I went to #17. There it was, in all its dilapidated glory: the house the woman had told me to come to. It looked completely abandoned and entirely spooky in the pale moonlight. All the sudden, I felt as though Halloween had descended on me, and I was about to enter the Twilight Zone. The house loomed in front of me, and it looked as though it had long been left to the effects of time. I looked out on the town. All the lights of my tiny Rakitovo were dazzling. It’s really a great view up there. I decided to try knocking on the door anyway. I don’t think I would have wanted to go in even if someone had answered. One knock, that’s it. Then I left. When I turned around to open the gate, I saw a pair of eyes staring at me. It was just a stray dog who decided to start barking at me. As I walked out the gate (at first I pulled it the wrong way and had the ridiculous feeling that I had somehow been trapped inside), I looked in the open window on the second floor and saw something that looked like a person staring at me. Silly imagination. I’m going to have to go back in the daytime and laugh at all of this. Afterwards, I trekked back down the hill next to the old clock and wound my way home. It’s weird the way your mind can play tricks on you. Maybe that’s what it’s doing to me the whole time I’m here in Bulgaria. Maybe I’m not really in Bulgaria. Maybe I’m in a snow globe on someone’s desk. Anyway, the lady (maybe she had been a phantom herself) had said that I could have lived there while she was staying in Sofia. Really? That place? Awesome. It looks like something I would have explored with some friends on a dare in a midnight escapade, but the view was astounding. Had I not been so scared, I would have stayed up there to enjoy the beautiful eeriness of it all. I’m going to have to find a partner-in-crime to come help me explore Rakitovo at night. Any available, cute boys out there?

1 comment:

Brandy said...

i will so check out that house with you!! but only if you don't sign for a third year! love ya! xoxo