Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Little Soapbox

I dreamt that I was eating a burrito the other night. It was mostly tortilla, and I couldn't get to the good stuff inside. It was torture! I woke up with my stomach growling. Seriously, when I get back to the states, I'm eating Mexican food at least three times a week! I plan on gaining some serious weight - since my clothes are hanging off me over here and I can't seem to feed myself properly. "Is there food in Rakitovo/America?" is a question I've been asked twice too many times. I can't wait to gorge myself... in 62 more days.
Speaking of my schedule, I announced to my colleagues that I only have about 25 working days to give them until the New Year. I was so scared to tell them. They seemed to take it well - although who knows whether or not they began grumbling behind my back. Whatever. I have other things going on. I can't be in two places at once.
Let me randomly climb up on my soapbox and talk about September 11th. Six years ago: Remember how devastating it all was? No one cared what was going on with Britney Spears or any other celebrities? We thought we had outgrown superficiality, and some of us cared more about making major life decisions or going to church. Well, the other day, on CNN.com, I noticed that Britney was back on top. Second was another entertainment story, and third was a story about a 9/11 memorial. I admit it: I read the Spears story first. Remember six years ago - when we were all so traumatized that someone would hate us enough to construct a plot so vile... and our government (debatably) knew nothing about it? Remember how vulnerable we felt? Remember how we thought that it might be the end of the age of superficiality? Well, I never thought that. I knew celebrities would be back at the top of the news in no time. I don't think there will ever be an end to the age of superficiality. As long as we can get our news when we want it and how we want it, we will always want to know what famous people are doing to screw up their lives. *Climbing down off soapbox*
My colleague shared with me the other day how she's doing all she can to make her house a good place to live for her four-year-old son. She wasn't talking about now, mind you (although I'm sure conditions are currently adequate for a four-year-old); she was talking about making it a suitable place for him to take over when he grows up. I know that's the pervading idea here (houses get passed on for generations), but I don't think I've ever heard someone actually say it. I asked her, "What if he doesn't want to live there when he grows up?" She said, "I thought of that, and I would hope that he would at least sell it and reap the profits." The idea is so foreign to me. In the states, the kids usually go out and find their own house when they grow up. I like it that way. I don't know. It seems like it's not a good lesson in self-sufficiency when the kids knows that he can pretty much rely on his parents until they die. I'm not judging. I'm just comparing and saying I like the idea I've grown up with better - although it would be nice to have a ready-made house to live in forever if I wanted to.
I played baseball with a bunch of boys yesterday, and a lot of them were rather new to the game. We had a good time except for the fact that we kept loosing the balls into a thicket of gnarly plants, and I kept sending "my little soldiers" in to retrieve them. We always got them back - except for one. When I left the field, there were some boys still risking stinging nettle attacks to try and find it. I really impressed on them how valuable the balls were. What impressed me was the fact that these were all new boys. They weren't the ones who have been playing with me all this time. They were awesome. I wonder if they found that ball. I hated to break to them that Thursday would be our last day. It's getting colder, I'm getting busier now that I have classes again, and work in the office is insane.
I'm writing this post as lightning is flashing outside. I LOVE IT! My hair is still soaking wet from when I walked home from Yanko's in the rain. Part of me wanted to just stand out in the rain. I had Spanish with Maria and Reneta, and I didn't have an umbrella. I don't particularly like the winter is coming, but I love the cold mornings in Rakitovo. There's this smell in the crisp air that is so familiar and makes me feel alive. It invigorates me, and I'm willing to let it stick around as long as it continues to warm up in the afternoon.
I got home, and there was a woman waiting for me. Misho, my landlords' son-in-law, said that I had a guest, and pointed to her. I said, "Okay, yeah, but look at me!" I looked like a drowned rat. I quickly changed and grabbed some things 'cause I thought she was going to take me to another woman's house (a woman at the Evangelical Church and I had made plans for me to go to her house), but it turned out she had just come because she wanted to sign up for English. I'm tired of this English. I've cut out my kid classes (much to the chagrin and confusion of kids around town), and I'm so tempted to get rid of my adult classes as well. I don't know why I'm so against it. Maybe it's because I have to go up to the center every day because of them. Or because I know I'll have to go up earlier come winter to light the stove. Or because, while I'm good at it and enjoy it to a certain extent, I'm not fulfilled by it.
We've been working on a huge project in the office. It's in Bulgarian, so I can only help so much, but my colleagues make a huge deal about how vital I am to the process. It's part of the reason I feel badly (but not too badly) that I'm going to be MIA so much in the near future. I love planning on how to make a difference. I love the idealism of it all. I don't necessarily love putting that plan into action, 'cause that's where you can see where you screwed up and planned things that people really aren't going to follow through on. Or you see how your ideas didn't quite get the expected results. I love writing it all out in a project, however, and being optomistic.
It's time to admit a personality flaw: Okay, so we all know people in our lives that annoy us to some extent. The "problem" with claiming Christianity, however, is that you're supposed to love those people - even if you don't like them. Well, there's a boy in town (I've mentioned him before) who's a rather nice fellow, but he drives me batty. He comes up to me and throws words at me in English, hoping something will stick... like spaghetti. For example, he'll sit down next to me and say, "The school! The windows! The payment! The coffee!" Repeat this dialogue at least three times. From this, I'm supposed to deduce that he's finally been paid for the work he's done on the new windows at the school, and now he wants to take me out to coffee. Augh! I need a decoder ring for this boy. No conjunctions and no verbs make Apryl very grumpy.
So, there I was in church, listening to the preacher talk about how we are expected to spend time with those who annoy us. Immediately, he comes to mind. It isn't until after the service that I notice that he's actually in the church! "No!" I scream to God in my mind, "I'm not ready to be tested in this capacity yet!" Most everyone else in town seems to like him, but I'm guessing that's because he speaks Bulgarian to them (with conjunctions and verbs and everything!), and he's an orphan. Orphans deserve a high love quotient. I just can't seem to not want to avoid him. Pray for me.
My laptop is still being lame! Seriously. I'm having the hardest time getting the charge to stick. How am I going to waste time if my computer decides to die on me?

1 comment:

gospodinBezkrai said...

Hi Apryl!

"The idea is so foreign to me. In the states, the kids usually go out and find their own house when they grow up. I like it that way. I don't know. It seems like it's not a good lesson in self-sufficiency when the kids knows that he can pretty much rely on his parents until they die. I'm not judging. I'm just comparing and saying I like the idea I've grown up with better - although it would be nice to have a ready-made house to live in forever if I wanted to."

Yes, in UK is the same. People here constantly buy and sell their houses, change them like new clothes. But I think you guys are missing on something great - that is the attachment to a hearth, a home that has almost a mystical dimension to it! It gives you roots, a bearing point to which you can position the entire world, as well as in time - grandfathers and grandchildren.

Whether living in Sofia or across half the world, the little two room apartment in Plovdiv in which we were crammed four people will always remain the place to return to and to feel most home for me. No selling that. I very much dislike to see the english word "property" applied to bulgarian homes. But money speaks.

Besides had we not had this grounded "property" situation, me thinks, the collapse of the 90s would have been much tougher to survive! Anyway things are slowly changing, we are becoming more and more westernised. Maybe my own children will wonder the same as you.