Thursday, January 11, 2007

Yay! I'm Sneaky!

We got some really amazing, unexpected news to lighten the mood in the office today - and the mood of my counterpart. Let me explain:
So, it turned out that there was an opportunity to apply for a study session in France called, "Campaigning for Roma Rights and Equality of Opportunities." Some colleagues thought that Angel would be perfect for this session, and they decided to send him the application and encourage him to apply. Well, he finally read his mail on the day of the deadline. I translated the questions and guidelines for him (it was all in English), and I could tell that he was really interested. When I started to tell him that we could fill out the form together, he started to get more and more discouraged. "Apryl, I'm not going to apply. It's too late. I don't want to do this at the last minute and turn in something that's no good." I thought that was silly. I could tell that he really wanted to go, and there was plenty of time to get it done. "At least now," he said, "I know what I want to do."
So, I decided to fill out the application for him. If he was accepted, I hoped he would be happy. If not, he would never know about it anyway, and it wouldn't matter. I hurried to get the application in before the deadline (it took me forever to find it on the internet - it was hiding so well!). It was an easy form to fill out, but I thought that maybe I hadn't gotten it in on time anyway, and I got a little discouraged. For some reason though, I just had this good vibe that he would be chosen. Oh well, we would know soon enough. Or rather, I would know soon enough. So I filled it out on Friday. He should receive an e-mail on Monday if he had been accepted. Monday came and went, and no one mentioned anything about it. "Oh well," I thought, "I guess it just wasn't meant to be."
So today, I was in the office during lunch. The phone rang, and it was a representative from our mother organization in Sofia. "Hi. Who am I talking to?" "This is Apryl." So he starts talking to me in English. "Hi Apryl. How are you? Can you give me Angel's phone number?" "Sure, I can, but who is this?" I was having a hard time hearing him, but I definitely heard him mention the seminar in France. I was hopeful that it had to do with Angel's acceptance, but again, I wasn't sure. So, I went out with Ani and Valia for lunch, and we met Angel in the center. He was talking to them about an application he had apparently sent in for the workshop in France. "But I didn't send in any application! There's some kind of mistake!" But he knew, and he looked at me. "There's no mistake," I told him. He smiled, "You filled it out for me." I shook my head "yes" and went inside.
Pretty soon, I was outside again - talking on Angel's phone to the representative who had called the office earlier. "You filled out the form, and Angel didn't know?" "Yeah, I did. I know I probably shouldn't have, but I could tell that he really wanted to go." It turned out that I had put the wrong e-mail address for Angel on the form, and they hadn't been able to get a hold of him. They wanted to know if he was interested in going as they hadn't heard anything. I was so glad that they were still looking for him instead of moving onto the next candidate.
My colleagues are happy, too. Yanko high-fived me, and Ani said, "This is why you need to stay in Bulgaria for the rest of your life... to show us how to take the initiative and get things done." Valia thought it was a huge gesture, and Angel thanked me for "waking him up... once again." Hey, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself here... obviously. I like doing sly acts of kindness for people. It's rare I feel like I'm actually of tangible benefit to someone here, so you gotta take these moments when they come... and brag about them! Of course, ultimately, the credit goes to God. I was praying about this one - as I pray about a lot of things here.
So, out of 82 applicants from Bulgaria, two were chosen. Angel is one of the two. Right now he's getting serious about making plans to go to France for eight days at the end of the month, and I'm doing my best to help him get there. We're all so happy for him.

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