Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Toleration

I've been meaning to mention that I entered a couple of my photos into a contest to show the meaning of the word "tolerance." The first caption says: "In spite of having different traditions and ethnicities, we find a common language through a new game: baseball. All of us, Roma, Bulgarian, Bulgarian-Muslim, and an American, are tolerant towards others." The second caption says: "They're not worried that one is Roma and the other is Bulgarian. They just want to get the steps right for a waltz." My pictures have been in the first position on the website since they were posted. Even though new pictures get added regularly, my baseball boys are always the first picture people see. I'm hoping that means they really like me. Otherwise, it's just an oversight.
You know, I've been thinking, and I've been wanting to share a few things with you that I've been thinking. These are my "deep thoughts." Well, no, but I have some random thoughts I wanted to get out there.
You know, I really don't like living in a place where I'm not obligated to follow through on even the smallest things... nevermind big things. I've whined about this several times in my blog. It seems as though Bulgaria is a place where keeping your word isn't necessarily expected or valued, and yeah, I hate it. It encourages me to be lazy. This inevitably leads me into bouts of frustration and sadness. I'm a person who needs structure and consequences.
I think I'm finally crawling out from under this confounding illness, but I'm still weak. I decided not to go to Velingrad with my colleagues. They hadn't planned on me coming anyway, and I knew it would just exhaust me. It's been pretty awful having to be cooped up inside all the time though. I'm leaving in a little bit to meet some friends for coffee. I need to get out of my house. Plus, we need to talk about the fundraiser this weekend. The thought of getting up, however, is exhausting me. Meh. My butt is killing me from sitting in my bed.
Once, when I was visiting Thomas, his neighbors were making some unexpected "improvements" to their apartment. I'm going to try and explain this as best I can: Their door was across from his and a little to the left. They decided to put up a wall right next to Thomas' door. They then put a door in this wall and made it their new entryway. In this way, they probably gave themselves an extra 1.5 square meters where they could put their shoes and coats. I was appalled. It was literally right up on Thomas' door. "Do you think they have the right to do that?" I asked Thomas. He shrugged. "Probably not, but if someone complains, they can probably just pay a fine and keep it."
And this is what I don't like. And this is what Bulgarians don't like either. It's just that I think they feel powerless to change anything. Interestingly, a part of the government is currently trying to shake things up. Four votes on non-confidence have taken place against the ruling coalition. "The government must resign because its corruptness inflicts heavy damages on Bulgarian citizens and discredits Bulgaria's authority within the EU." However, as the party in power occupies most of the parliamentary seats, there probably will not be a shift in power due to these motions. I cannot say whether or not the government here is corrupt. I know an overwhelming number of citizens here believe that it is. What I can say is that I admire those who act on their beliefs. There's a big difference between talking and doing. And in my case, writing and doing.
I just got in from a meeting with the two girls who have taken charge of the fundraiser. At this point, I should probably be stressing, but I'm not. I think the reasons for this are two-fold: 1. I'm too sick to care. 2. These girls have literally taken care of everything. They are one step ahead of me. I'm impressed. What I'm not impressed with is how many people said they would be helping out and how many of those same people are now backing out. I can't say I'm surprised, but I never fail to be irritated by it. I've learned not to rely on people here. That's why these girls are so awesome.
I stopped in on the card-players this evening. In the beginning, it was really interesting with them. Now, they play games I can't follow, and I'm mostly ignored. I just went 'cause I needed to be around other humans. You know what's interesting? They never shuffle the cards (that's why I'm so interesting to them), and they throw cards down on the table with a fury (like the one who throws the card down the hardest wins). At one point, a woman refused to answer her phone because she was in the middle of a game. That came as a shock to me, 'cause it seems that people here answer their phone no matter what's going on. My students answer their phones during my Engish sessions - much to my chagrin. Of course, they hang up quickly, but phones do not usually go unanswered here.
Another random thought about phone etiquette that strikes me as interesting: It's normal for people to answer the phone with "Kazhi!" which is like the equivalent of "Speak!" To me, it sounds like, "What do you want? You're bothering me," but that's probably not how it should be taken. I remember the first time Angel said that to me when I called him. I was really upset. I didn't even know what to say. And this concludes my non-linear bout of thinking for this post....

3 comments:

RedSoxNation said...

Apryl, get well soon!

"I cannot say whether or not the government here is corrupt. I know an overwhelming number of citizens here believe that it is. What I can say is that I admire those who act on their beliefs. There's a big difference between talking and doing."

MSNBC is airing a documentary on John McCain on TV right now..."those who act on their beliefs"

On a sidenote, "Кажи" is usually friendly... "Казвай", "Казвай че бързам" is probably irritated, like in english "What?"

Много здраве! Яж кашкавал и кисело мляко...с мед.

magic123 said...

Apryl Melissa Sweetie Pie, I am praying you will quickly have renewed energy and strength.
I do enjoy each blog and knowing how you are keeping up with your challenges. Seems like you have more than your fair share, but you always amaze me with your winning attitude... like in Pente, you are a rascal.
I love you very much, Grandpa

Anonymous said...

Hope you feel better soon, Apryl!
About the Kazhi...itś more like ´tell me...what´s up?¨ It isn´t usually a sign of impatience...of course, it depends on the tone of voice as well.
Hang in there and take care of yourself,
Vassi