Tuesday, September 21, 2010

School, Horo dancing, Art..it's good to be busy

Wow..school starting again means the cities and villages seem to wake up, and I am excited to be overwhelmingly busy again so quickly. The first day of school was September 15th. I don’t remember that our first day of school in the USA is quite like it is here. The students come to the playground, where a presentation is given, with speeches, and introductions (especially to the new first-graders, who sing, and the 12th graders are behind them)..on this first day, there are only shortened forms of the classes(maybe 15 minutes), and then all the teachers meet in the teachers lounge to receive a blessing and greeting from the churchman..by noontime, we’re all at a banquet, happily eating, drinking, and dancing..my feet hurt so much by the end of the day. After the banquet was Horo dancing class..seriously I danced like 5 hours that day.

On Friday, we (me and my great team) from a nearby village finished our HIV/AIDS training..the second part..the sports day, which our team will be doing a local radio interview about tomorrow morning.

There are 5 villages in the local municipality..I had been to 3 of those before this past weekend, and ended seeing both of the other villages, completely unplanned this weekend. There was a very interesting fundraiser by a group of English people..it was nice to hear everyone speaking English around me..it’s been a while. The fundraiser had some interesting ways to raise money..unfortunately I did not bring my camera. For instance, there were 5 shirtless guys (some of them quite hairy)..and they offered to the highest bidder, the opportunity to place 4 wax strips anywhere on the hairiest guy..I have to give it to the emcee, he got people to bid way more than I expected.

After the fundraiser, was a banquet for our Horo (traditional Bulgarian dance) group’s 1 year anniversary! I again, didn’t bring my camera..but, it was a fun evening filled with food, drinks, and always dancing..

The other village I visited this weekend was a surprise from my Bulgarian teacher, Petia. This time, I did remember the camera, and you can check out the new photos at the new pictures link at the bottom of the blog. We visited an artists’ house and workhop..it was amazing..the house, the workshop, their dogs (that look like mini lions)..the whole place just oozed creativity. And the woman that was the owner had won an International contest about 15 years ago in Japan. They have had visitors from all over the world. This is the website for Nadia Alexandrova’s workshop..I really like the second link, showing their house and workshop

So, every week, I have 2 villages I visit. One on Monday, and another on Thursday..or at least I’m working on getting it down to only that. But being there only one day a week also means a lot of work on that one day. For the first village, today we spent the day writing out our Q&A for a local radio broadcast about our recent HIV/AIDS events (training and a sports day), put together pictures and a synopsis for the newpaper, and finalized all the receipts and paperwork..along with meeting many new great people in the village. Both the secretary of the cultural center and I were drained of energy by the end of the day..she is a hard worker, which I can see by the respect all the people in village give to her, and by all her help in completing this project.

Oh..and if I haven’t responded to e-mails lately, I’m trying to..by this weekend.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Training completed..I would have say today was a success! And from what I heard from our training team, they also agree. Today, we successfully held a training on HIV/AIDS for youth, by using interactive games. Our team, me, Veselina (Director of the cultural center), and 2 youth have worked closely the last 3-4 weeks to present our information. Today was the harder of the 2 days..the learning. Next week, we will have a sports day, that will include an invitation to the spectators during a half hour break to play condom volleyball. This was a great game idea from another PC volunteer. It becomes quite interesting, as it brings out discussions on facts and myths about HIV/AIDS.

Today was a bit long, as there was a session in the morning for the younger kids (13-16), and then a second session for the older kids (17-26). Surprisingly, it was the older group that was quieter. We were expecting the younger group to be shy, and laugh..but they did really well. Everyone was laughing at one point or another..but learning as well. If you want, you can take a look at some of the new pictures on the link at the bottom of the blog..and it’ll give you a bit more of a description of today’s events.

I have to say..I am also very proud of our training team: The director of the cultural center in the village, two youth, and myself.

I heard that there has been a bit of small earthquake activity in the Sofia area, the capital of Bulgaria recently..please don’t worry. I was nowhere near it.

September 6 - Bulgarian Holiday

..sometimes, I think I need to write a little more here about Bulgaria, and thanks to my new counterpart (my Bulgarian tutor and good friend, Petia) I can understand and explain these important dates in Bulgaria. This was all brought on by the recent September 6th holiday here in Bulgaria.

March 3 (1878) – This date celebrates the removal of the Turkish yoke..after 500 years, Bulgaria is finally freed with the signing of the San Stefano Treaty..that is, until the Berlin Congress separates Bulgaria. Control of the southern part of Bulgaria is returned to the Ottoman empire.

September 6 (1885) – Bulgaria had been split in two..for a long time – half was under Ottoman rule, and the other half was with Russia. September 6 is the day celebrating the reunification of northern and southern Bulgaria.

September 22 (1908) – This is Bulgaria’s Independence day (1908), from the ottoman empire..like our 4th of July

We had an long Bulgarian conversation about communism..because I am always so curious what it was like. I mean, I know what I heard growing up in the USA, and I studied a little during college, but it’s so much more interesting hearing it from my teacher..I mean, she had already been a teacher for 20+ years when communism was crumbling here. She has seen the changes, taught during the changes, and adapted with the times. If I thought my writing skills were good enough I’d write about it more..but for now, I try to make notes to myself about our discussions

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Laptop - yes, Internet - yes, refrigerator - NO

Well..the summer is quickly passing, which is good since I’m not a fan of hot weather (unless, of course I'm riding a motorcycle or scuba diving).

Yeah! I got my computer back, and internet..2 months later; and now my refrigerator broke down..sometimes, I have to admit, I get a little frustrated. Always something doesn’t work, fuses get blown, windows crack and break, there’s no water..there’s just always something that doesn’t work or needs fixed.

On the good side, I really enjoyed the Black Sea and the waves..not quite like the ocean back home, but I had fun. I’m finishing up a small project with a cultural center next week...and I really like the new organizations I’m working with.

I posted a few new pictures under the ‘Tricia’s new pics’ link at the bottom of this blog.

Also, if you currently have my address..please DO NOT USE THIS ADDRESS (that address is for the municipality). I will forward you my new address :)