Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hija Buzludja

Hija Buzludja

I am finally getting a moment to write about my great hike to the Hija and monument of Buzludja in the ‘Stara Planina’ (old mountains). We really lucked out with the weather.. It was 65-70 degrees for both days of the hike, and this was in the mountains, in November.

Another great surprise was seeing Daisy, an old Bulgarian friend from a nearby city, who I haven’t seen since the 4th of July. Yeah..I was waiting for the tourism group (as we were travelling by train to our hike), and out of nowhere comes Daisy. It turns out she’s taking the same train. She’s also an avid hiker, and decides to join our group for an upcoming hike. And you know how I like to say ‘everything happens for a reason’..well, I learned a lot about my hiking group through Daisy, as she speaks English fluently. I learned that a much anticipated hike date had been changed to Thanksgiving weekend..a weekend I am unavailable  We also talked about Mt. Olympus in Greece..a place I think I want to climb.

One of the best things about these hikes, other than the outdoors and the magnificent views is the people. Everyone hikes at their own, when I feel like pushing myself, I stay at the front of the pack with the leader Stancho (he ran a BG mountain race; 100km in 24 hours)..and when I feel like taking it easy, there’s always people to fall back with and chat with. They were all a little intrigued by my camelpack.

Mitko and I were talking..and he’s trying to tell me these jokes..but they didn’t quite sound like jokes. I heard ‘baby’, ‘baby carriage’, ‘thumbtacks’, and another time ‘teacher’, ‘students’, and thumbtacks’ have to remember, I don’t always understand every word of Bulgarian..but I can usually figure out the context with key words..finally he sees my confused look and says ‘черно хумор’, black humor, and things start to make a little more sense.

So, the last 2 hours of the hike on our first day, our leader decides not to stop and wait for all the groups to catch up anymore..and there was a turn where I figured others might not be aware me. So, Mitko and I wait for everyone to more or less catch up..and none of us are all that sure where the Hija is, which led to a very interesting hike with two others going down the side of the mountain. I asked him if he was sure if there was a path..because I didn’t see it..and eventually neither did he..after a couple tumbles down the mountain on all the leaves, we eventually did find a pretty neat path, and finally the hija as well.

It turned out to be Stella’s birthday as that evening was very festive. After the DJ tired of dedicating songs to Stella, he decided to start in with dedications to me ‘the American’..every English speaking song was dedicated to ‘the American’..but, as always, I had fun.

There’s more information that I wrote on the pics about the hike. Follow the link at the bottom of the page labeled Tricia’s new pics – then Buzludja.

Училищни Хроники – The School Chronicles

Училищни Хроники – The School Chronicles

It feels so good to get the first issue of our new online school newspaper out. I know the school editors worked hard (after school in the computer lab, and Skype meetings in the evening)..and we will continue improving the website with future editions. If you haven’s seen the newspaper yet, you can view it at the following link.,bulgaria/mr_507

Because it is primarily in Bulgarian..these are the links I believe will be of the most interest to the English speakers reading: The English corner (from me); Галерия ( on them once to make them bigger..and click again to make it smaller); Репортерите питат (video clips of interviews with the first graders).

8th grade girls

My camera broke on my last hike to Buzludja..I had been thinking, what a great camera I’s lasted so long, even with me being the klutz that I am and dropping it often..and then it just quit, you won’t see any pictures for a while

So last week, I was given the opportunity to meet with the 8th grade girls in the school I work with. I had this crazy idea that maybe they would be interested in an exchange of ideas with some American girls. It was a bit disappointing from the translator didn’t show up..and after finding another student to help, the girls were interested in hearing the Americans responses..but not so interested in answering the questions themselves.

There were a few discussions, and difference of opinions – as to how old they want to be when they get married. A few said ‘in their early 20’s’, the majority said ‘mid 20’s’, and 2 said ‘in their 30’s’.

They quickly indicated that their lives wold be different from their mother’s lives..and they all wanted to get married and have kids. The majority didn’t think men and women paid equal in Bulgaria..but they think that girls their age in Bulgaria have no problems.

So..what I did learn, was when I meet with the 9th grade girls I need to use methods other than only a discussion to work with the girls.