Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm Pro-Crastination

...and I'm out for the count. I have the bird flu. I swear. I ate eggs last week, and now I'm dying a horrible death - coughing, aching, sniffling. Nevermind that I might actually be getting better. I've been debating taking the Tamiflu that Peace Corps has given us in case of infection. Okay, not really. And the bird flu is no laughing matter. I read a story that a 23-year-old Vietnamese woman died of the bird flu yesterday. They're not sure how she was infected. It's hard not to let your mind go there: "I ate my eggs from my neighbor's chickens last week. Did I wash the shells and my hands well enough afterwards? Did I cook them well enough?" I remember reading a medical book at my grandma's house when I was young. It was designed to help the reader self-diagnose illnesses based on their symptoms. By the end of the afternoon, I swore I had every illness in the book. Bird flu aside, I've been really sick, and it sucks. I was actually supposed to go to the Peace Corps Medical Office today for a vaccine, but they told me to just stay home.
The Peace Corps Director was visiting last week from Washington. I was invited to a luncheon last week with several other volunteers to meet him, his wife, and his entourage. I had been asked to give a short presentation on the perspective of a volunteer who's been in-country for over two years, but the conversation took a different tack. In the end, I was glad that I didn't have to speak in front of that whole group of people. Here's the bio they were given on me:

Apryl Gibson, YD B18, site Rakitovo

Apryl is from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from La Sierra University in Riverside, CA with a Degree in Spanish in 2003. Apryl has worked with youth as an ESL tutor and had an Internship as a translator for a small business development center.

Apryl is a third year volunteer, and has been living in Bulgaria since August 2005. She works with an NGO called Future Foundation in Rakitovo, southwest of Pazardzhik. This Foundation promotes Roma integration and better life opportunities through education. She is recognized within Peace Corps Bulgaria for her exceptional Bulgarian language abilities.

I like the bio. I think it's flattering - except that it doesn't mention what I do in Rakitovo. It's like Peace Corps thinks I only speak Bulgarian all day long. Actually, that's probably an accurate description. Haha. "Apryl's Bulgarian rocks, but for the life of us, we can't figure out what she does in her site."
This Saturday, I went to a small village with my colleagues to meet with other, local organizations who want to make the world a better place. There's another Peace Corps Volunteer living in this village of a thousand, and her colleague insisted that I stay the night with her. I felt awkward - like maybe the volunteer was being put on the spot to host me. Bulgarians don't see spontaneous house guests the same way that many Americans do. It worked out well though.
I was immediately given clothes to go work out in her colleague's garden. I was roped into planting onions, and I loved it. It' been forever since I've been out working in a garden, and it almost made me wish that I lived in a tiny village. Afterwards, the other PCV and I went out into Pazardjik to grab some dinner. We then went to an underground club where a cover band was playing some old rock songs. It was a cool atmosphere, but I soon realized that I was falling desperately ill.
I made it back to my site the following afternoon, and started drinking vitamin drinks. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous as of late, and it's almost painful to have to stay inside. I sat out on my porch the other day - dozing in the sunlight. Being sick bites the big one, but it's a good excuse to rest. I've been watching movies and sleeping a lot.
Tomorrow, we're supposed to go to Velingrad for a team analysis meeting and project writing. I'm almost hoping I'll still be too ill to attend that one as well. I hate team analysis meetings 'cause we sit around and point out each other's failings. I know I'm imperfect. Can I live with this knowledge without having every flaw pointed out to me? I'm not good with handling criticism. It's a character flaw.
This next weekend, the students at one of the schools are having a fundraiser to help a girl who's pretty ill with cancer. I'm so incredibly proud of these students. They've pretty much done the whole thing without any help from me. I just spurred them on. This is exactly how it's supposed to be, but I can't help but feel useless. I wish I were more involved. That way I could take more credit. Hehe. Actually, at this point, I just hope people show up. I'm really scared that we're going to get a small turnout, and I feel that this initiative needs to be successful - not only for the girl that we're raising funds for, but for the self-confidence of all involved. I definitely don't want this to be the last initiative of its kind. I want these kids to go on to do bigger and better things. I want them to be encouraged to take on the world. I want me to be encouraged to take on the world....

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