17 January 2010

high school flashbacks

some things just happen unexpectedly!

....cause there's no cute boys at decatur.....

09 January 2010

in which every flight you have ever considered is cancelled

Bonny at Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia

flashback to 2009 with me for a moment, folks.

It's December 19th and you're about to leave for a magical land called Bulgaria, but the most monsterous snowstorm of your LIFE hits the eastern seaboard of the United States and sends your travel plans into a tailspin including: cancelled flight. new flight from philadelphia instead of dc. missed connection in frankfort. all day in a german airport and then the realization that your NEW tickets are actually only for STAND-BY. a minor breakdown of nerves and faith in the world. a late night flight to sofia. a stay in a five star hotel with the most amazing breakfast buffet in all of Eastern Europe (the fact that there was bacon is something i'm not willing to let go) and then finally a flight to Varna, putting you exactly 3 days behind schedule. You have lost three days of your life to terminals and baggage claim and ticket counters and those stupid food carts they push through the aisle of the plane and always manage to ram into the arm of your seat just as you are falling asleep. All for a country the size of Pennsylvania, and a 22 year old named Anna O'Neill.

Once my mom and sister finally did arrive, our trip became sort of whirlwind and food centered, but not necessarily in a bad way. My family was able to meet all of my colleagues and experience a true Turkish/Bulgarian dinner party featuring lots of dancing. Needless to say my sister became the star of that night. Here she's having a dance off with one of the custodians, Nadie:
Christmas was a relaxed morning at home, lots of Nescafe 3for1 and Christmas morning food (read: bacon, cinnamon rolls). The O'Neill family collectively ate so much that day that at 2 am on December 26th all three of us woke up with sore stomachs. However- my mom had the audacity to go and LOSE 2lbs in spite of the constant eating that continued across the country.
Bons in my kitchen on Christmas, with cinnamon rolls.

Christmas dinner at my Directors house; "I didn't know what you liked so I made everything!"

We were able to see Veliko Tarnovo, Troyan and the monastery there, Teteven, the mountain between Troyan and Teteven (be warned), and Sofia. My mom, who is currently in the application process, got to see our Peace Corps office in Sofia and meet some of the staff.
Reguardless of losing three days to the inconvenience of modern travel, I'd say the trip was well worth it. My village family got to meet my real family, and both sides got a little glimpse of what my life is, now and before now. Bulgaria has taught me so much about the importance of family, and having them here made Christmas 2009 really special and really fun.
O'Neill ladies at the Tsaravets fortress in Veliko Tarnovo

Happy New Year (Честита Нова Година) to all of you and Желая ви успех, щастие, здраве и нови обувки!

Love in 2010,

Bonny and Gosho getting their dance on.

Christmas program: Esin, Damla, Nursel.

Toguy tells riddles and hands out presents.

And of course, a feeding frenzy ensued. Look at Nesrin!

Bonny's ultimate goal is to make a book of just cats from all over the world. She's well on her way to finishing it.

She can make people laugh anywhere she goes.