Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Permanent Site Visit - Aytos, Bulgaria

WOW! So I just got back from my permanent site visit to Aytos, Bulgaria (located in southeastern Bulgaria - 20 minutes from the coast). Everything went SO well!

I was so nervous to meet my counterparts - who are the Bulgarian English teachers I will be working with over the next two years. But they were so great! Turns out I will be working at two schools in Aytos - Hristo Botev and Nikola Vaptsarov. So I have three counterparts - Vecela and Branimira from Hristo Botev, and Paulina from Nikola Vapstarov. They all speak fairly well English and are so, so nice and welcoming! Both of the schools have been waiting a very long time to get a volunteer, so they were extremely excited to finally meet me!

I also really love my town. It's located 20 minutes west of Burgas - a big city located on the Black Sea. They recently redid their town center - so it's really beautiful. They have new fountains and gardens and so many shops, it's great!

The town also has a really nice park where most people go to take walks and jog in the morning. That's really great for me because when I go running now in Byala Slatina, I get completely stared at because there's no park to jog. So I was really happy to find out about that. There's also a nice restaurant in the park and a ZOO! They have four bears, a few monkeys, many kinds of birds, ostriches, horses, etc. It definitely could use some work and a better environment for the animals, but it was really cool to visit.

I will be living in a flat in the center of town. It's a nice apartment with a double bed, kitchen, bathroom, and WASHING MACHINE! I was really excited to find out that I will have one of those because I definitely wasn't expecting to have one for the next two years.

On the visit, I was able to see both of my schools and was welcomed by all of the students and colleagues at both. At Hristo Botev, all of the students waited for me and some were dressed in traditional Bulgarian clothes and sang traditional songs for me. At Nikola Vapstarov, a first grade class sang English songs for me and showered me with so many flowers and gifts - it was so overwhelming but incredible! Then in the evenings, I went out to eat with all of my colleagues. They are all such nice and welcoming people it's truly unbelievable.

Then, since they knew it was my birthday on June 27, one of my directors bought me a really nice bottle of wine and gave me a few gifts right before I left. It was wonderful.

All in all, I am SO happy with my permanent site and really was sad to leave - even after only being there for two days! I cannot wait to learn some more Bulgarian and go back to live there for two years!

I will write more soon, ciao!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andrea!
    My name is Tanya and I just moved back to Sofia after spending the last 8 years in the States (mainly in St. Louis, MO). My family used to be a PC volunteer host a while back when the intensive training was still in Sofia and I really enjoyed getting to know the volunteers. Anyway, I just wanted to offer my friendship and support. I know such dramatic transitions, as the one all of you PCVs are making, can be quite challenging. I've gone through one myself :) My e-mail is
    Good luck and all the best!