Joy: Colleagues

I have about 40 colleagues, and I'm slowly but surely getting to know each of them.  One of the coolest things I've observed is that they really like hanging out with each other.  On top of that, they are very welcoming & friendly to me.  Not surprised.  Bulgarians have continually impressed me in that aspect.

Thought you might enjoy getting to know some of these people, whom I will probably get to know VERY well.  I am using code names just in case...

We'll call the first "Gold"... she is an absolute sunshine.  She's always smiling, always cheerful.  One of those people who immediately make you feel included.  Thankfully, she walks the same direction I do for a bit :)

Then, there's "Health," a new friend of mine, who also walks my way.  She's even gone so far as to call me when she leaves her apartment so we can meet in the mornings, too!  Her son is a designer (clothes and jewelry)... she's already told him that I want to see some of his stuff.  Sweet!

There's a gentleman, whom we'll call "John," who knows where we could go camping, closeby to Plovdiv.  He also was nice enough to buy some sunflower seeds for everyone today :)

Another gentleman, "Happy," helped me carry a lot of the household items I bought from the local market.  Very convenient.

"Anne" lives VERY close to us, and she reminds me of a picturesque grandma.  She's always smiling and patting me on my shoulder, asking me how I'm doing.  Always makes me feel welcomed.

"Classy," I found out today, LOVES dogs.  I knew I liked her... the reason I found out is because, while we all were outside eating sunflower seeds (hard at work), she bought a danish and was feeding it to a local street puppy (weeks old)!  He was adorable and I loved her compassion for him.

The young lady who works at the canteen is "Jane."  I don't think she meets a stranger.  She has me as "a guest" (behind the counter) everytime I come to buy something, and is trying to get me to come over to teach her to make sushi.  I had no idea I was an expert :)  I came over today for coffee for a bit, and got to meet her friendly cat.

For now, the last, but not least is my wonderful helper, "December."  Voluntarily, she has sat in my English classes everyday this week to help me manage the kids (especially since I'm still learning Bulgarian).  She gives me tips, and makes sure the kids are listening.  I really appreciate her attitude and friendliness because she lost a toddler 6 months ago today.  My heart just goes out to her and her family.

Writing this post has made me even more thankful for my current situation.  It's not easy getting to know people in another culture where another language is spoken (many of our readers know exactly what I'm talking about).  But, these people have made these barriers seem not as draining, and they, sometimes, even seem to disappear.

Until next time...


Our Sunday Saunter...

We had a very relaxing weekend.  On Sunday, we decided to walk to the center, find a cafe, and just chill out for a while.  It was nice... especially since it was in the low 70's and breezy.  Perfect.

A few days ago, Joy posted some pictures from her route to/from work.  Here are some pictures from this weekend, mostly on our way to the cafe.

First, here's Joy's name in Bulgarian!  This is the sign for a little Kindergarten near our apartment:

Then, we have the International Fair location... it happens every May and September.  This next event looks right up Randall's alley!

Next, we crossed over the Maritsa River where we found a fisherman.  We know quite a few folks back home that would LOVE to get in on this activity...

After the river, there is an orthodox seminary for high school boys.  We'll tell more about it later, but we went to their 6:30 services last night.  It was very interesting :) 

Close by, was this wall of a building with Soviet artwork on it.  If you look closely, you can find Randall!

After grabbing something to eat, we made it to the outdoor cafe.  We absolutely love how Europe happens outside throughout the summer.

After hanging out for a while (and skyping with Joy's parents!), we wandered around and found this guy playing the Bulgarian bagpipes:

We also found an Orthodox church and were impressed with this parsonage.  Very cozy.

Almost back home, we found this hilarious advertisement... it's encouraging males to leverage their finances so as not to have to live with their mother until they retire :)  Though, this guy doesn't have too bad of a situation, if you ask us!

If that's not food for thought, not sure what is! :)

Have a good Monday, folks!


Joy: Along my route

Been here two weeks and I think I've finally figured out the best way to get to work each day!  It takes me about 35 minutes to walk there, and, I have to say, a 35-minute commute to work, walking, is so much more heavenly than driving a car.  Goodness.  Makes me want to be a dog-walker, when I get back to the States!

Thought I'd share some of the wonderful and, sometimes, weird, things I see everyday...

First, a really colorful bus stop.  If I were a giant, I'd pick it up and play with it!

Then, here's what "Danube" looks like in Bulgarian.  It's pronounced "Dunav."

The next one is Scary, Mr. Scary.  I know chefs are supposed to be a little plump and boisterous, but I just can't stare at this for too long.  Egh!  He's right outside the restaurant with the dinosaurs we found last weekend... and, he gives me the heebie-jeebies.

This one makes me want to get a little pet!  But, alas... this pet shop has no puppies.  And, they won't get any either.  Sigh.  Those puppies are false advertisement...

Zone The, people... Zone The.  Who would have thought that incorrect English usage could be so entertaining!  Sometimes Google translator just doesn't cut it.  But, it sure does make for a good giggle or two every now-and-then!

This one is a picture of the way Bulgarians remember their dead.  This one has caught my eye for a while for two reasons... one, he's so young and, two, he died the day we arrived in Bulgaria.

The next one is of "Royal City"... a beautiful, new apartment complex in a nice neighborhood.  However, my colleagues tell me that no one lives there because it's new and expensive.  Sounds like a LOT of places in the States, right now.

And, here's some serious motivation to keep the pounds off.  There's not room enough for the two of us on this sidewalk, car!

And, last, but not least... here's my classroom (at least for the summer)!

I start teaching an English day-camp on Monday.  Can't wait!


Album: End of PST as we know it

IMG_2275Hubby & WifeKiril and MetodiB27 Swearing-In Speakers!The best Bulgarian language teacher, ever.Two of the best Bulgarian mothers, ever.
We love you!IMG_2186IMG_2181Cheers!IMG_2192IMG_2195

End of PST as we know it, a set on Flickr.

Now that we have internet in our apartment (YAY!), here's some photos from the past few weeks.


Today's adventure

One of our American buddy's Bulgarian house came with a mask!  We visited her today, just outside of Plovdiv :)

She made us delicious stuffed peppers & one ginormous shopska salad. Mmmm...

See you later, friend!


Our local dinosaurs!

We went exploring today & got to know our local dinosaurs a little better :)

Bet you guys don't have a T-Rex with antlers...


First 5 Days - a few highlights

We were given fresh cherries from one of Randall's org's clients.

Joy went "na gosti" with 3 of her new colleagues today.

We both hung out with some fun Greek friends of Joy's counterpart yesterday.

Randall is getting to know delicious places to eat in the center of Plovdiv while he has lunch with his colleagues everyday.

We found a European equivalent to a Super Walmart 5 minutes away from our apartment.  Very convenient.

With our furnished apartment came 2 couch beds!  So, come on over...

There are still horse + carts here!

More to come...


Bye-Bye Borovan!

Last night, our dear Cultural Center director, Nikolai, and a few other Bulgarians, put on a little goodbye party for the 6 of us.  There was an abundance of sandwiches, beer, and "keks," like all good parties should have.

It really meant a lot for them to organize this for us.  And, even more so, we enjoyed Nikolai's grandson's piano performance (see last picture). He turns 9 today :)

It's been fun, Borovan!  Hope we see you again sometime in the near future...


Joy: All good things come to an end...

Having come to Bulgaria as a Peace Corps Volunteer, ready to go to my permanent sight (Plovdiv), I didn't know I would bond so well with my fellow Borovanians at our training site, Americans and Bulgarians, included.  Don't get me wrong, I am REALLY looking forward to being an English teacher for the next two years in Plovdiv.  It's feeling more and more ideal.

However, there is a continually growing list of things I will miss about being in Borovan that,most likely, will NOT be in Plovdiv...

*All the livestock. Everywhere.

*Free internet in the park.

*The horse carriages.

*Beautiful gardens with fresh fruit and veggies whenever I want them.

*"Bogat Beden" and their lovely staff.

*How friendly everyone is.

*The invigorating soccer, frizbee, and basketball games with all the kids, here.

*My Bulgarian host mom, her family, & her dog.  Love them.

*Our PC language trainer.  He is the best!

*And, the other 4 American volunteers that have lived with us, struggled with us, laughed with us, and empathized with us over the last 11 weeks.  Life in Bulgaria won't be the same without you.

Yes, all good things must come to an end.  But, I definitely won't forget the last 11 weeks :)

I'm off to soak up as much as I can of the above before we leave on Friday...