Sunday, June 21, 2009

Halfway Through

The trainees have left for their permanent sites for the next three days, and we are officially halfway through pre-service training. I hope their visits go well. I have the duty phone today, but I haven't heard from anyone yet, so I'm hoping for the best.
It's nice to finally get a break. Yesterday was a full day. I had to lead out in a couple sessions and they had me do some interpretation from Bulgarian to English. I love interpretation though. It doesn't feel like work. The only thing that's hard is that I don't have much of a poker face. I never have. If you start to prattle on and on, my face will show a bit of terror. I start to wonder if I'll remember everything. Also, when the speaker starts to say something interesting - or something I don't necessarily agree with - my expression will change. Some of the trainees have commented on this, and one of them told me, "I always think, I wonder what Apryl will say now." Sometimes the jokes don't always translate either. We'll all laugh when the Bulgarian speaks. Then, the trainees will look at me expectantly. But, sometimes it just doesn't translate. I have become rather entertaining to one of the trainees it seems. We have a good time together, and she tells me that she has a hard time looking at me during the sessions without laughing. Great. She's also pretty hilarious. I love the Youth Development (YD) Trainees, though. They're so cool. Some of us play frisbee together. We have fun together.
The YD Program Assistant gave me another compliment. He says that my interpretation is awesome. I'm not so sure about that, but he's encouraging me to take a university exam to measure my Bulgarian and get a certificate if possible. And they've been encouraging me to translate from Bulgarian to English because, while I'm definitely no better than the rest, I'm a bit faster. We went to visit a nearby cave called "Ledenika" (I've visited it before on a trip during my service), and they wanted me to interpret what the guide was saying. Problem was, he was speaking very quickly and running all his words together. Plus, he was using some terminology that I didn't know. So, that didn't last long, and I begged them to take over for me. Oh well.
Vratsa has been an interesting place recently. Local elections are coming up, and a bunch of political parties have been putting on concerts. We've had some pretty famous names roll into town. It's always the same: flashy music, political banners, propaganda, etc. You think someone would try something different. Am I really supposed to vote for you because you brought DJ "X" into town? I just don't understand. It's the copy and paste methodology. Meanwhile, we get to enjoy some concerts.
I had a nice day today. I slept a ton and read some. I also went on a hike with a couple of my colleagues to visit the place where Hristo Botev (huge poet and revolutionary hero) was killed. The area was beautiful, and we took a lot of pictures. Then, we went to a secluded restaurant, and I ate fruit salad and drank hot chocolate while watching the impromptu soft, summer rain fall. It was a pretty great break. It's back to work tomorrow. I might be able to take a day off this week. We'll see. It depends on how well I get everything else covered.

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