Sunday, July 13, 2008

Beautiful Bulgaria

I live in one of the most naturally beautiful places on earth. The Rhodopi Mountains are absolutely gorgeous, and I don't get out nearly often enough to enjoy them. This Friday, my colleagues, some of their children, and I decided to take a hike to a cave in the region called "Lepenitsa." We started out early in the morning, and Yanko and I returned 12 hours later (the others had caught rides on the way back at some point). It was a long day, but it was absolutely breathtaking.
We took a bus to Velingrad and started out from a man-made lake area called "Kleptuza." Reneta and I hiked most of the way to the cave together - talking about this and that. Once there, we built a fire and spread out a picnic. I wish I had known there would be a fire. I would have brought some marshmallows for roasting.
After lunch, we decided to explore the cave. We contorted our bodies to fit through the opening, and it was pretty cold. We made it just inside the enterance - just to the point where we could see the river rushing through, and then the flashlight went out. We should be thankful to God that it went out at that point. Any further in, and we might still be there. Disappointed, we came out of the cave and continued our journey back.
We decided it would be best to continue on and go to Rakitovo instead of turning back to Velingrad. It was a very long walk, but the scenery was beautiful. As I said, pretty much everyone else decided to catch a ride home, but Yanko and I wanted to walk. He showed me a Communist monument (a tent in the forest where rebels camped out in the 40's) that was completely hidden by trees. He introduced me to some of the sites in the area. It's sad that, even though I live here, there's so much I haven't seen in the region. I need to get out more.
Once home, Yanko treated me to a soda because it was his birthday. We were both too tired and aching by that time to talk. I went home, got a shower, made some dinner, and relaxed. The next day, I slept until noon. I'm not surprised - considering the hike I'd taken the day before and the fact that the night before that, I'd only slept for an hour. I'm crazy. I know. I've been sleeping a lot this weekend. It's been nice.
I've also been able to hang out with friends. A friend of mine, Rumen, returned home for a few days. He's been living, working, and going to school in Sofia. I've only seen him once this whole year, so it was nice to hang out with him and catch up. He's the sweetest boy, and he's so cute and funny. He's also very young. There are moments when I just feel so old sitting next to him, but it's nice to be reminded how it was to just start out in university. Where do the years go?
As for the rest of life, it's pretty much "same ol', same ol'." The office is a tense place to work. It seems like we can't go for an extended period of time without some sort of crisis. Yanko got frustrated and decided not to come in. He's been working up at the Educational Center. Honestly, sometimes I wish I could just say, "Enough is enough," and not go in anymore. I hate bickering - especially in an office - especially in situations I feel I shouldn't be a part of. It's probably the most toxic work environment I've ever been in. (Like I have so much experience.) I love my colleagues as people, but I hope I never have to work in such a confined space with such personalities ever again. I better watch what I wish for. Four more months, and I'm out.


misty said...


I'm an american currently living/teaching English in Russia but in just a week and a half I'll be moving to Bulgaria. First I'll do language study in Sofia then looking into a move to another town, which I think is near you called Velingrad. I've been coming to Bulgaria every summer since 2005 to do work with children in a Roma village in Berkovitza.

Anyway, I'd love to email you and even meet up with you upon my arrival to Sofia in August. I love reading your blog and have learned so much from you. Do you post your email address anywhere? Or you can go to my blog and find mine listed under my profile pic.

hang in there at the end. :-) I know exactly how you feel. My past months I've been sort of a robot.

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Anonymous said...

Hello! I'm Elli from Silistra(Bulgaria) and I just searched the net and find an article where you talk about Bulgaria. I was amazed that you came here from California to a small village in the middle on nowhere-Bulgaria. I am really happy that you found the beauty in our small motherland and I am happy that people like you come here and try to change something!:) I am 16 years old now and when I finish school I think to move to Los Angeles because Los Angeles is where everythings at. =) The hard part of that is that's too expensive.. you know in Bulgaria is cheaper.. =( Whatever- I can't believe that you came here from CA, where you have everything-home, friends, job...Lucky you! It's nice to read you posts here-if you want, you can contact me. My e-mail is C ya! =)))))