24 May 2010

andy, are you going to clean that up?

THIS is what teaching feels like

what's in the sky?

Yesterday we were on a walk around the center, just me and two friends, and their little cousin who is only 6 and is learning Bulgarian. One of my friends points up to the sky and asks in Turkish,
"What's up there?"
"Allah." the little one answers, very sure of herself.
My friend more specifically points to the only thing in the sky, the moon, and says again,
"What is that?"
"Allah! Allah!" the little girl asserts, showing her persistence and conviction.
"Ay." says my friend, the Turkish word for moon.
"Ahhh." says the little one. "Ay."
"Ee kak e na Bulgarski?" she asks, what is it called in Bulgarian?
The little girl pauses for a second or two, thinks well and finally answers, "Bog"

Because she had continued to ask "What is that, in the sky?", the little girl had defaulted to what she knew was up there -- Allah, Bog -- God. Oh yeah, and also the moon.

11 May 2010

it's official -- it's summer. i know because today i saw a first for the season-the man's capri pant. it was my colleague, and he was standing in the center. as i walked by i surveyed his outfit, and my eyes got quite a pleasant shock when i saw the denim of his trousers stop precisely 4 inches above the ankle. and then there were the mandals, more commonly known as man sandals.

it seems it was only yesterday i was shoveling snow and crying as my able bodied young male friends drove their cars by me and smiled (or even dared to laugh; curse their laziness!) and now with one nice day and the unveiling of many a bare arm and ankle, i am all at once reminded of Bulgarian Summer. today i got out my own pairs of shorts from their hiding place under my bed, and may have danced around the room when i put on my hotpants at they actually fit! a year ago, i was dying of heat exhaustion on a daily basis, covered in fleas, and gaining kilos by the minute thanks to the consistent chorus of my host mother and baba. YASH! YASH! EAT! EAT!

so yeah, life really has come full circle. sometime in the next day or two a group of 80 million (but seriously, around 80) new volunteers will be landing in the Sofia airport just as scared and dumbfounded as i was a year ago. they will be transported to the same mountain resort to start their training, and by all the luck in the universe I will be there to regale them with stories of what to expect in training, in Bulgaria, and in their lives for the next two years. here's my first observation, piece of advice for them:

Bulgarian men seem to hate taking their shirts off. it gets HOT in BG, like clothes sticking to skin hot, but in general if a male here overheats he makes the effort to lift his shirt OVER his belly. just above the belly. sometimes if you are lucky, you make spot one who also lifts it over his chest, but not his head. SOMETIMES, if you have been extra good and the universe wants to reward you, you will see ONE ARM out of its sleeve while the shirt rests on the opposite shoulder. BUT VERY RARELY will you ever see a BG dude ACTUALLY TAKE THE ENTIRE SHIRT OFF.

Summer 2010.