Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ten Ten Forty Ninety Nine Point Nine Nine

So, before you even join Peace Corps, you know the date your service will end. This makes sense, but let me just take you back to that day - the date is now unknown... sometime in 2005 - when I was sitting in my room and contemplating whether or not to accept the invitation to Bulgaria. Actually, it wasn't so much contemplation as I had already made up my mind. So there I am, looking at my invitation and at the top it says that, if I accept this invite and actually go to Bulgaria, my service will end 10.10.2007. "Whoa," I think, "That sounds SO far off...."
In reality, it's just a fixed point to guide you. The truth is, you can close your service (COS) a month before that date or a month after. Any time other than that needs approval from Washington. But I thought I would mark this date with a post just to get me thinking about the "insteads" of life and where they take you:
1. Instead of accepting my first invitation to be an English teacher, I decided to stick around and wait for the next invitation to Bulgaria. So, instead of being a B-17, I was a B-18. And here I am.
2. Instead of working in a school somewhere in Bulgaria, I wound up working for an NGO in Rakitovo. And here I am.
3. Instead of taking a different tack (one over which Peace Corps threatened to rescind my invitation), I decided to play by their rules and not pass up my opportunity. And here I am.
4. Instead of going home today, I filled out forms to get my Bulgarian ID renewed. And here I am.
5. Instead of going home today, I'm staying for a third year. And here I am.
6. Instead of my official COS date being 10.10.2007, it's now 11.10.2008 because I've decided to stay and extra year AND take special leave to the states. And here I am.
You kind of wonder where life would have taken you otherwise. Anyway, that was just for my own enjoyment. I actually filled out a memorandum stating that I was staying a third year and would be adjusting my COS date to November 10th, 2008. I put it off... wondering what would happen if I just didn't sign it. Dutifully, Peace Corps called me.
I went to renew my Bulgarian ID today, and the ladies at the police station in Pazardjik were all very helpful and nice, but I felt like I was getting taxed everywhere. They wanted 10 leva plus another 1.50 tax for every form. I had to pay a lev just to get the forms in the first place. So, I'm hoping my 24 leva will get the job done. I wish I could say that I'll never have to do this again, but I will have to do something to get permission to stay until November when it expires next year.
The lady, who has always helped me at that police station, was wondering why I was even bothering so early. My card doesn't expire until the end of the month. Well, I'm going on a trip, and this needs to be done now. "Yeah, but you're an American citizen. They're not going to deny you entry." I just want everything done and in its appropriate place. I've heard stories, and I'd rather be over-attentive than be another "story."
I brought my laptop into Velingrad to try and get it repaired. They refused to do it. Apparently the guy only works with desktops. I would have to go to one of the bigger cities. Fine by me. I'll just take it to the states and get it repaired there. I hope it'll ween me a bit from the internet, but I doubt it somehow.
I called a group of my teacher-students today. They hadn't showed up for English yesterday, and I wondered what was up with them. Well, now they're on strike as well, and they have to stay at the school all day to fulfill strike requirements. All right, well, we're not going to have class until November then. I'm not going to be here. I wonder what they'll have to say when I tell them we might as well not have class until after the New Year.
Speaking of, today is the 40-day mark until I go back to the motherland! I think of the biblical significance of 40 days and I think... I can make it! I'm so excited to go home. You don't understand. I think I started counting down at 80 days, and now we're halfway there. It's been flying by. Plus, I have a trip coming up next week (Slovakia, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands) to distract me in the meantime. I swear I've already checked out. November is going to be interesting.
Angel said something the other day that really made me think: "Apryl, sometimes you can't get what you want. No matter how much you want it, you just can't have it." It started me thinking about the things I have wanted in life, and what I did to get them. He's right, but I still feel like I've gotten 99.99% of the things in life that I've wanted. I don't necessarily feel wealthy or spoiled, but maybe I should. Or maybe that's just the way I grew up. If you want something, go get it. Huh. I wonder what you think. How do you feel about that? Have you gotten the things in life that you've wanted?

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