Friday, June 19, 2009

Disconnected Ramblings

I'm still busy. Today was a good day, though. All days have been good days, but today I mostly got to hang out. The trainees have now found out where they'll be living for the next two years, and they've met their counterparts. Good stuff. They seem fairly happy thus far. It takes me back to the days when I found out my site and met my counterpart. Ah, nostalgia. It's pretty cool looking at it from the other side now, though.
A couple of organizations from Rakitovo applied for a volunteer. Only one was seriously considered, but it was decided that they would be encouraged to apply again next year. Rakitovo already has a volunteer at my former organization, and there just aren't enough volunteers to go around.
The past few days have been long days. Tomorrow will be one as well. The trainees are staying in hotels (by program) with their counterparts. The Youth Development trainees are in an absolutely beautiful place, and we've been taking the time to get some frisbee in. I have been eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner with them - and then I go back home. It's really nice to be with them, but it's a long day. Today, I didn't have a specific role for any of the sessions, so I got to kick back a bit. That was nice. Tomorrow I will have to lead out in a couple of sessions. This is the norm anyway, so it's not a big deal. I need to take a day off here soon to compensate for the extra time that I've been working, but I don't know when that will happen. As soon as you get one event knocked down, another one comes up. The trainees will be leaving to visit all their permanent sites, but I have to prepare for the next round of sessions. It never stops. I'm loving it.
I talked to my colleagues yesterday. They finally got some money that was six (or more) months overdue to them. They were able to take two months of salary - otherwise the rest went to pay off loans and compensate other workers. This is from a European Union project, and it seems "coincidental" that the money should come through right after parliamentary elections. I wasn't paid my first month here in Bulgaria, and I was feeling the strain. I can't imagine six months. Makes you grateful for what you have.
Apparently the mayor of Rakitovo died yesterday. No one expected that one. Also, I wanted to take a moment to express my sadness at hearing that we lost a former volunteer from my B-18 group. Fredy was such an interesting cat, and apparently he passed away in a traffic accident in Ukiah. He was working in Mendocino at the time. I feel it for two reasons: this was a former colleague of mine; he passed away in a place I know well. It's hard to swallow.
Yanko keeps asking when I'll come to Rakitovo again for a visit, but I was just there. It's a long trip, and the only reason that I'm able to go at all is because of my wonderful colleague who lives nearby. It's time to make a trip out to Trud to see the host family. I miss my "sister" terribly.
I'm feeling very far away and disconnected from home. I'm so busy here; there's rarely time to think about the states. I'm with my colleagues here all the time. It's a good thing that I like them. And I certainly hope that they're not sick of me yet. We work together. We eat together. We live together. It's been working out really well so far. I hope it continues.
It's good to know that I haven't lost the Bulgarian. I've been learning a lot of knew words and terminology this time around. I'm in a new setting with a bunch of different organizations that are converging at the moment, and my vocabulary is growing. This is terribly exciting for me. I can't even tell you. Still, it's a bit daunting when a trainee is going on and on about their work with children who are mentally challenged or with women in domestic violence shelters or how they've been assistants to occupational therapists. Your mental "dictionary" doesn't always extend far enough. I become more and more impressed with those who work at Peace Corps for their command of the English language. It's rather inspiring. Still, I'm giddily confident in my Bulgarian. I don't like making mistakes, but I put up with them for the reward that comes from conveying ideas in another language.
I'd better end this rambling. Another long day awaits me tomorrow.

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