Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lagging Tenacity

There's this funny, little bug flying around my room. It has this armored body in the shape of a shield and a tiny, little head. I used to flick bugs like this off my clothes all the time in the last couple places that I lived. I don't think I've seen them before coming to Bulgaria. I think I might even miss the little buggers. They were always good for an unexpected scream.
The past few days have entailed a lot of looking around my house and not knowing where to begin, or doing a couple things and then not knowing where to go next. The "saga of the painting I want to send to the states" has come to an end. I have done all the steps to send it there. Whether it will get there or not is another question entirely. No. I have faith.
I think Yanko is more excited about this painting than I am. My colleagues are all impressed with the lengths I went to to get it sent. Nevermind that shipping it cost me three times the price I actually paid for the painting.... I just had to get it stateside. When I saw that painting, I saw my dad. Yanko said he wishes he had a daughter as "tenacious" as I am. Yeah, well, I know my dad will enjoy the painting... as long as it makes it through customs.
I've been going through my books, papers, and documents. I'm super-excited that there's a canister near me in which to recycle paper. You have no idea how liberating it is to dispose of Peace Corps Manuals as green waste. :) Today, I got up and got rid of over three-fourths of my clothes. I didn't even hem and haw about giving them away. Usually I'm a pack-rat who's attached to her clothes - especially shirts tied to a particular event. It was time to let go of some things, and I'm proud of myself for doing it.
This afternoon, I had a farewell lunch with some of the teachers that I've been teaching English to over the past year. We've had a lot of fun and many good memories together. They gave me a small souvenir - saying they were keeping in mind the amount of luggage I probably have. That was really considerate. They had a lot of nice things to say. One of the women didn't know any English when she started with me, and now she puts basic sentences together rather beautifully. She said that she would always remember me for helping her get to this point. These women are amazing, and we had a fun, final class with them yesterday. I will miss them, and I will never forget them. Fortunately, Emily is going to continue with them for the time that she is here. I would love to come back after that and see the progression that they've made.
I also packed up all my Spanish materials and a few English ones that I had borrowed from my colleagues. I added some lotions and candles that I had hanging around, and I headed for the office. I tried to give Ani back a Bulgarian book that she had loaned me, but she said that I could keep it. It was a really sweet gesture. She's had that book since she was in sixth grade. I just wasn't able to get around to reading it, but I want to. I have to. I started to try and explain to them what was in the bags and what they could take, and Ani just started crying. Then I started crying. Then I changed the subject.
This weekend is probably going to be filled with a lot of tears. There's a lot going on, and it's honestly overwhelming. Some of the high schoolers are doing a Halloween project. Let me take that back. Calling it "Halloween" is apparently "too American" for some people here in town. These same suggested calling it a "Pumpkin Holiday." The kids decided to call it an "Autumn Ball." It's still Halloween. There will be candy and kids dressing up in costumes. I have no idea what I'm going to wear, but I'm looking forward to it. I just hope there are a lot of people there. The kids in charge have worked hard on this one.
My colleagues are planning a party for us this weekend. One of my colleagues will be leaving the foundation next week as well, and another will be getting married soon. It's time to have a party. I'm sure I'll cry. There will be alcohol. I'll be crying for sure.
You never know what kind of impression you're going to leave people - especially people you don't know. Yesterday, I was walking by this beautiful yard that I admired all through the summer because of its gorgeous varieties of flowers. I noticed that most of the flowers had been uprooted, and it made me sad because I'd always told myself that I would eventually take a picture of these flowers. This older women in the yard called out to me, "We're neighbors." I smiled and said, "Yep." We live right across the street from each other. She then went on to tell me that her granddaughter used to go to the stadium to play baseball, and she said that her granddaughter really loved it - said I explained things well to the kids. That made me feel really good.
Not three hours later, I was dumping a bunch of paper into a recycle bin in town, when I caught a lady looking at me. I smiled. She smiled back. Then she asked, "Why don't you play baseball in the stadium anymore with the kids?" Nevermind that the time has changed, it gets dark much earlier, and it's gotten a little bit colder, I told her that I was leaving soon and that I needed to get things together. Oh, really? We then got into a quick conversation about where I'm from and how long I've been here. I don't remember ever seeing this woman before, but I'm guessing she must have seen me somewhere with my baseball stars. It makes me wonder what other impressions I'm leaving people. I imagine that for every handful of people who think well of me, there must be at least one who's not so enthused. Oh well. As Elbert Hubbard once said, "To escape criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." So true.

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