This past weekend was exciting..as I expect every weekend will be until I start the Master’s program ‘Peace and Conflict Transformation’ in Norway!!
The National Spelling Bee was held in Sofia with 20 students from throughout Bulgaria..this followed about 200 students participating in 10 regional spelling bees, and about 4,500 students who participated in local spelling bees. If you have not seen a spelling bee, (and even if you have) watch the clip below for the two finalists who battled it out, finally winning with the word ‘empahsis’.
My good friend and fellow Peace Corps Volunteer, Felicia did an amazing job coordinating with people on all of these events. Last year, she had a sidekick that helped establish the first annual spelling bee, and this year she worked more closely with an NGO. She also had to coordinate with PC staff, the American Embassy, PC volunteers, regional sites, and many other people. I don’t know of another volunteer with the patience or experience to pull this off so smoothly.
While in Sofia, I got a chance to also say a final farewell to many of the Peace Corps Staff. This picture is of me, Felicia and my program director, Dimitar. Dimitar helped me tremendously during my first year here in Bulgaria.
At half-time of the Spelling Bee, volunteers were invited to the stage to participate in a volunteer spelling bee – where we Americans spelled Bulgarian words – you can see me below. I spelled many (what I considered =) difficult words – краставица, йод..and then messed up on чадър (meaning = umbrella). Darn..I guarantee you I will forever remember the correct spelling..it was a word I have always misspelled. The two remaining guys battled on for quite some time before they had to call it a draw.
But..getting back to the National Spelling Bee – these students were impressive. I could tell they had studied the words, because they went through the entire word list, and still many students remained in the competition. Even when the announcer began to use words not previously given to the students for studying – they spelled them correctly. Words such as – hygiene, occurrence, psychiatry..
In addition to seeing old friends, saying good-bye’s, and attending the National Spelling Bee, this weekend was also the weekend of Sofia’s annual Salsa Festival!! I miss dancing salsa sooooo much!
I saw amazing dancers from Bulgaria, Germany, Lithania, France, USA, Cuba..and the best part was, during the day, there are workshops – taught by these amazing dancers, and then in the evenings after performances you actually get to dance with them! This clip below is one of the many sequences I learned (kind of)..