Friday, February 01, 2008


This weekend I went to an International Kukeri Festival in Pernik. As you can probably tell from the picture, people dress up in costumes, - usually hairy ones - attach bells to their person, and then walk around town. It's great fun. It's supposedly based on a tradition to scare away "winter spirits," but you can read the short blurb here for yourself. I hung out with some volunteers from the B-19 group. It's strange for me to spend time with volunteers outside of my group, but it's what's going on these days. I had a good time. I'll probably put up more pictures later. I need to get on that. It's been six months since I've posted pictures.
This week has been interesting. I have had plans every night after work, and I haven't been able to be home much. That's a good thing, though. I have a lot I need to do here at home, but it's nice to be out with people instead of cooped up all the time.
A lot has happened this week that I could share, but it's really not that interesting - not that any of my ramblings here are based on anything spectacularly exciting, but....
I've been learning to knit. Maybe I mentioned this in my last post. I'm making an ear-warmer. It's coming along all right, but it's nothing amazing.
We had a competition this week with our women's group. We got together some mothers/sisters and kids. The mothers/sisters fed their kids Dannon® yogurt, and the kids placed based on how quickly they ate the yogurt. Not very many people came. One kid freaked out and ran away before the contest even started. We wanted the mothers to come to try and attract them to the women's group, but it seemed pretty clear that they came for the food and prizes. And then there are those that never attend our meetings - despite all promising that they will come. Like today: We planned a meeting on a theme that's relevant to sixty women in the Roma Mahala. Only one came. I don't know....
Our women's group also took part in an informational session regarding the flu and how to avoid cathing it, and the conversation drifted to other diseases whose Bulgarian names I had a hard time recognizing. I think our next discussion will be about depression and mental illnesses. That should be interesting.
Yanko wanted to buy a new monitor in Pazardjik this week. He took me along for consultation support. One of our computer monitors had an issue where the picture would scrunch up and flicker in a middle of the screen. We'd hit it and hope that it'd straighten itself out. It was time for a new monitor. We bought a nice, plasma, flat-screen. Hopefully, it will last a while.
Yanko has been going a little nuts buying new equipment for the office. He bought another, second-hand plasma monitor and a flash drive today, and he's talking about switching out a computer in the office. I don't blame him. That computer is eight years old. Some people switch out their computers every six months. Imagine eight years of owning the same computer.
I've been asked when I'll come back and play cards again. I haven't had time this week. In fact, one of the regulars was nice enough to change out a blown fuse for me. I asked what I could "cherpa" (treat) in return. Coffee, beer? His wife joked that I should "cherpa" an American girl. He said it was enough that they know me, and he refused to accept any sort of compensation.
Ah, and I was stood up! In my last post, I mentioned that I was supposed to have coffee with one of my colleague's cousins. Well, he didn't show. Oh well. Maybe I'm not as pretty as I'd like to think I am. Hahahaha.
My classes are going well. It seems that just about every day, I get asked by someone else if they can join a course, but it's always someone who wants private tutoring or a course for beginners. I don't have any such course, and I don't have time for private tutoring. It's really hard telling people "no," though. I don't mind the classes that I have, but I certainly don't want to teach more. Teaching English endlessly isn't exactly my idea of a good time, but it seems that that's what people want from me while I'm here.
Besides my English classes, I also meet with a few high school students to drink coffee and speak English. We also talk about programs that are going on in the European Union. They're really smart girls, and I'd like to see them gain some personal development somewhere outside of Rakitovo. It seems a lot of people are going abroad these days. It's all the rage.
It looks like we'll be having some projects coming up here. Either that, or we'll nose-dive into non-existence. It should be an interesting few months/year. I'm sure I'll have all sorts of things to post. In the meantime, I feel like I'm at a loss. I feel like I've been pretty busy this week - like I've been more useful in the office and I've gotten a lot done, but I don't even know what that is. Well, at least I'm feeling good. Does there need to be a reason why?
I'm going to Sofia tomorrow to help a friend paint his apartment. It seems like painting is something I commonly do in this country. I only hope he's picked a good color. I don't want to be covered in puce, chartreuse, or some other similarly-named color. Ick. Maybe it'll be a rainbow like these guys' costumes.

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