27 September 2010

i am just ignorant or maybe i am a genius.

case and point. a few weeks ago in Ruse with my american friends, we were sitting in a confectionery and i was blowing bubbles in my blueberry milkshake, amazed that the surface wasn't breaking. the bubbles kept building and building. meanwhile my friends were trying to decipher the coasters, which had little aphorisms in bulgarian printed on them. "ask anna, she's a genius" one of them said, they all three looked over to me, and i looked up from a glass full of blue milk bubbles. "a real genius" someone added, sarcastically.

**disclaimer: i am not a genius. i am pretty good at bulgarian, though. i could speak in full sentences before i was 2, so goes the story. i just like talking. a lot.

am i just really dumb, or are people just really hard pressed to give me any credit? i definitely don't think like a bulgarian, i definitely have a lot more life to experience before i can say i know a little about anything. but the things i do know, i've learned well and have thought about at great length. unlike a good majority of the people in this village, i have a college degree. i have a piece of paper that says that i'm smart, or at least that i convinced someone that i knew what i was talking about. i recognize the complete exuberance and luxury that it is to have one of these degrees, but to tell the truth, i usually forget that i have one. my neighbors, my friends here, i've done a lot of different things with them. i've worked in fields with them, i've cooked with them, i've cleaned with them, i've prayed with them. i would never, have never assumed or asserted that they know less than me. i do not separate myself from them or divide us into levels of education, money, or status.
but they have not forgotten that i am a foreigner, they have not forsaken the fact that i don't know everyone's history, i don't know everything about the village inside out like they do. i hear it too often, that i just plain cannot know what i am talking about. maybe they are right. maybe it's just pride to think that i have a good grip on reality. maybe it's just naivete that i don't have personal and very deep vendettas against people here. maybe, it's just ignorance that i am open to everyone, to what they have to say, to what they have to share with me.
but of course, i don't think so. i am happy being how i am. if in the end it proves that i am in fact living in a great state of ignorance, i guess i'll have to admit that i am in fact living in one great state of bliss.

14 September 2010

the sight of bridges and balloons makes calm canaries irritable
they caw and claw all afternoon
catenaries and dirigibles

10 September 2010

when you're a joke. i'm a joke.

i'm 23. people make fun of me on a very consistent basis. sometimes it's for things that i do that they think are funny, like the way i can't quite pronounce the vowels in turkish names correctly or the way i dress or ... i dunno. it seems like most of the time i get made fun of for doing absolutely nothing, just being present. i get mocked a lot. people say things either to me or about me in turkish, and i can only understand from the tone of their voices how absolutely flippant these things are. people constantly want my attention, just to engage me in exchanges where i am the butt of the joke, where everyone else at the table ends up laughing and i end up smiling dumbly because, you know, getting upset or offended just acknowledges that you know they are making fun of you.
after one particular exchange i was told to "disappear".
i don't remember getting bullied a lot in school, and i don't remember bullying anyone. i'm sure that within the dynamic of all of us growing up, there were times that we made fun of someone, got made fun of. we learned how it feels and how it makes others feel, we learned to guard our words, we learned to not associate with those people who were still meanly teasing everyone around them. we learned to respect each other.

what adds the insult to the injury here is that someone last night leaned over and asked me, "how do you deal with people always messing with you?" even outsiders can see it; i'm not a person here, or at least to my peers i'm not really a person. i'm something they pick up when they are bored, toss around, then leave somewhere forgotten until the next time they cross my path. even this kid understood that. how utterly embarrassing.
i told him that i just wanted to have friends, so i guessed that getting razzed was an okay exchange to at least have some company, and that i have found one very true and sweet friend amongst these other not so worthy people. i said i prefer it to staying home alone.
but really, it just makes me feel like the biggest piece of shit sometimes.

09 September 2010

happy september. happy ramazan bayram.