Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Few Steps Closer....

I'm in Sofia at the moment doing Pre-Close of Service responsibilities. It mostly involves some paperwork, some medical check-ups, and an exit interview. I came in on Monday and went through a physical. Yesterday, the dental hygenist scraped all the plaque off my teeth, and I got a clean bill of dental health from the exuberant dentist with shiny gems in his teeth. I also met an acquaintance for a magazine interview. I was rather trepidatious considering the last time I offered to do an interview, but it was fairly painless. There weren't many questions. I honestly wonder if the guy will have enough material to do a story. Maybe one day I'll actually get to see the articles.
Today I had my exit interview with the Country Director. The most interesting thing that came out of that was a debate on how to look at the Peace Corps. Should we market it as a development organization or a diplomatic organization which promotes peace and friendship? Other than actually being here for pre-Close of Service, nothing is really helping me figure out that I'm actually leaving Bulgaria in a few, short weeks. I'm the worst procrastinator. Unless I'm being forced to figure something out, I won't deal with it.
Other than these visits, I've had to fill out my Final Site Evaluation and my Description of Service. As for the Description of Service, it's a little difficult to sum up three years of service in two pages. How many people did I impact with this activity? What were the results? Is it worth mentioning? It's almost sad to see three years come down to two pieces of paper. It will be the only official, written record of my Peace Corps service.
Administrative stuff aside, it's fun being here in Sofia. I can get away from my site for a bit, hang out with my friend Greg, and eat good, ethnic foods. That's basically what I look forward to the most while I'm here in Sofia. Greg and I have been playing a Star Wars video game with Lego characters. We've been having fun. The days have been relaxed - with really only one or two things needing to get done per day. Of course, I could have been more productive had I wanted, and I did get some other things done, but I've mostly been knocking small things down one by one.
This weekend, I took a fun trip with my landlady, Margarita, and her daughter, Katia. On Saturday, we went to this amazing cave called Ledenika. The interior had tons of stalagtites and stalagmites. It was beautiful. We then continued on to a town in northeastern Bulgaria called Belogradchik. Ever since I saw pictures of the rock formations in Belogradchik, I knew that I wanted to go and see them for myself. It was great. We visited a fortress there and saw the rock formations. I also ran into other Peace Corps Volunteers who were visiting as well. The next day, we visited a nearby cave called Magura. Magura was very different in design from Ledenika, but it was no less beautiful. Afterwards, we went up to the town of Vidin, which is on the Danube River next to Romania. We visited Baba Vida - a fortress on the banks of the Danube. We looked over at Romania and then made our way back to Rakitovo. I was grateful to have been able to make the trip. These are things I probably would have never seen otherwise.

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