Thursday, November 26, 2009

6 Months In..

Wow, I can't believe I've been living in Bulgaria for SIX MONTHS! Although it definitely feels like I've been here awhile, it's weird to think I've been away from home for half a year. A LOT has happened since my last post so I'll do my best to get you updated..

First off (and probably the most important update) is that I am now only working at one school. I had spoken with Peace Corps awhile back about it being difficult being split between two schools, and after the many steps that needed to be taken, it's finally official. The main reason I wanted this to happen was because I had SO many different classes of students, and I worked with SO many different teachers, that I felt like I was being spread out far too much. Although I was obviously reaching more people by being at two schools, I felt that I was not being as successful as I could be. Whereas if I'm working with one school, with the same teachers, and the same students every day, I can really get to know them and do my best to help them learn English. So I'm glad that this transition is finally taking place!

A couple of holidays have also gone by since my last post - Halloween, and today Thanksgiving! Halloween was a BLAST! A bunch of the volunteers here in Bulgaria got together in Veliko Turnovo (a bigger city near the center of the country). We rented out a hostel just for us and had a big Halloween bash. It was great to get together with everyone and just let loose and have a good time. I also incorporated the holiday into my lessons. Since Halloween is not a celebrated holiday here in Bulgaria, the students were pretty interested to learn about what it is and how we celebrate it. I even brought in a bag of candy and had them "trick-or-treat!" It was fun.

Then today, of course, was Thanksgiving. Although it doesn't really feel like it, and it's hard being away from home for the holidays, I've actually had a not-so-bad day. All of the lessons I taught today were focused around Thanksgiving and teaching the kids about it (since it's obviously not celebrated in Bulgaria). It's really a great feeling to see how interested the students are in American culture and traditions. I even received two poinsettas and a dream-catcher from them - with the card on the plants saying "we are thankful you are in Bulgaria with us." I was really touched.

ALSO, I now have a PUPPY! Another volunteer had three puppies and only wanted one, so me and another volunteer took the others. I got a girl, and named her Ruby :) It's so nice to have someone around the apartment with me and someone to come home to every day! She really has helped me out in terms of making me a little less lonesome.

I'll end my post with one of my favorite "cultural misunderstandings" that has happened since I've been in Bulgaria, and it actually happened today...

So I'm at school and I'm in the teacher's room with my counterpart, Brani, and this other colleague comes and sits next to me and starts talking to me (she tries to talk to me in English most of the time because I think she really wants to learn to speak better). Anyway, she starts telling me about how she's had a bad day and she's really upset. I asked her why, and she said, "There is big problem in my house. The dirty channel, it doesn't work! And it makes me very angry!" Naturally, I'm doing my best to not burst out laughing but Brani went ahead and did that for me. Absolutely hilarious. I guess by "channel" she meant pipe, rather than a channel on TV. And so there's this dirty water running into her apartment. But, thanks to her dirty channel not working, me and the rest of my colleagues were laughing for the rest of the day :)

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