Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I can’t believe it’s June already..

I don’t often post about the projects or work, besides teaching that I do here in Bulgaria; so I thought I’d give a synopsis of one of the projects I’d like to complete this year.

I cannot repeat enough times how great it is to have a helpful counter-part. We are working together on a playground for a village primarily comprised of the Roma population. They are heavily discriminated against, and the primary school in their village is being shut down this year. There is not a single playground in the entire village, even though many children live there.

I recently contacted a company in the USA that helps build ‘community built’ playgrounds. I was so excited after reviewing their site..and they want to talk over ideas. The idea of the project is to gather the volunteers and they work 5-7 days..it’s intense work, but the entire community really pitches in to create some pretty amazing designs. So..that has been what I have been working on this week, while Niki has been contacting organizations that specialize in Environmental talks for youth and locating a local firm that we might be able to obtain the wood to create the park..and every day we talk over our ideas.

Niki is a great counter-part on many levels. She wants to learn English, so every day we speak a little English. She is one of the few Bulgarians that I have met that really seems to get ‘brainstorming’ and working together as a team. She corrects my Bulgarian, so that is slowly improving. She likes hiking, and introduced me to the hiking group that I will be doing an 8-day hike in the mountains with.

I didn’t mention also..I went on vacation with another volunteer, Felicia. We visited Amsterdam and Belgium (Brussels, Brugge, Antwerp). Oh, it was great. We walked a lot..and saw thousands of bicyclists in Amsterdam, ate great food, drank great beer, toured museums, shopped. I have to say the Belgian waffles in Belgium taste nothing like ours..they were so very yummy. And..i seemed to bring all the bad weather with me. It was chilly, overcast or rainy most of the time we were on vacation. Everyone kept telling us the week before had been beautiful weather. Oh well..I’m used to it. This was my first trip outside Bulgaria, without other Bulgarians. I was concerned with directions, but had no need for concern. Felicia was an excellent tour guide. Just give her a map and she can find her way around pretty much any town. I told her we’d make a good team for Amazing Race..I posted some pictures on the links at the bottom.

I can hardly believe that this Saturday is my last scheduled class to teach English for this school year! Do you have any idea what this means?! This means I have my weekends free!!! I can actually go and visit other friends and volunteers in Bulgaria.

And the best news of all..my mom’s coming to visit. In less that 2 weeks, she will be here in Bulgaria!