Oh, the Dog Days...

Not gonna lie, the words "air conditioner" were not the first to come to mind when we first decided to become Peace Corps Volunteers.  People, we have one.  An air conditioner.  It came with our apartment.  We now know why Peace Corps Bulgaria is also known as "The Posh Corps."

We are really fortunate to have this little machine, because, just as you guys are also experiencing, IT'S HOT.

In addition to sitting under this AC unit right now, we have found a few other things that bring a momentary reprieve from these dog days:
  1. Go shopping at Kaufland's (a walmart-like store).  It's completely air conditioned.  Who cares if our pantry + fridge is full.  We need something... 

  2. Give the local hotel 5 leva & they'll let you swim in their pool!  You even get a lawn chair + umbrella.  This isn't an everyday thing, but it sure is a fabulous recent discovery.  There's nothing like working on lesson plans or Bulgarian homework next to a pool.  Sigh.

  3. Good 'ole ice cream.  Bulgarians love ice cream.  And, we love that they love ice cream.  They even have ice cream trucks!  Check out this one Randall found the other day...

  4. "Mind that child"
  5. All of those are good (right?), but the BEST solution we've found is going camping at 4200 feet in the Rodopi mountains with a handful of your best buddies (we missed you, Moses!).  It was approximately 20 degrees cooler.  Plus, it was a blast.  The place we went is a ski resort in the winter...
Hike to the camp site


Just to bring it back around... to something delicious, we also celebrated birthdays for three people that weekend.  The burgers didn't help the coolness factor, but the cake & ice cream sure did!

Love these folks

Now, if only we had a homemade ice cream maker...


The Village - Part II

As promised, we wanted to show you a deeper glimpse into what else it means to go to the village in Bulgaria.  LOTS of plants, flowers, fruit, produce, you name it.

Thought you'd enjoy some pictures we took of some of the above that we saw a week ago...




Yellow Flower


Yellow Flower_2



Little flower

Baby strawberry

Crazy flower


Next up, all the animals we met...


The Village - Part I

One very relaxing part of Bulgarian culture is going "на гости" to "the village."  Our first time going to the village since we've been in Plovdiv was Sunday.  So fun.  So relaxing.  We celebrated 4th of July with the same family that invited us to the village.  We are having a blast getting to know them better... it's very convenient because, their apartment in Plovdiv is about 100 feet from our building.  Love it.  Their son, Martin (11 years old), absolutely loves Randall.  Vania says he's always talking about when we're going to come back to visit or about Randall's "tablet."

Anyway, we went to their village house Sunday, and we wanted to give you a glimpse into what it means to go "на гости" in a Bulgarian village...

First of all, they have such a cozy patio (this was the hot spot all day) and cottage.  Lovely.


Isn't this so cozy?
When we arrived, around 9 am, they fixed us coffee and мекици (fried dough) with various delicious toppings... to die for!  We were so busy eating these things that we forgot to take pictures.  You'll just have to come visit and try them :)


As we mentioned, Martin REALLY enjoys playing with Randall and has been, for a week or so, wanting to challenge him to a Monopoly game.  Boy did they play... for 5 hours!  Martin kept giving Randall loans to make the game continue!  They were known as "the kids" all day...

Meanwhile, Joy helped Vania and her mother plant flowers for their garden.  Not quite the Monopoly competition, but nonetheless, as Bulgarians would say, it was "real work"; the kind you can feel good about at the end of the day.

Joy planting flowers
The finished product...

Throughout the day, we entertained ourselves in various ways...

Taking funny pictures...
Goggles 3
"The kids"
In Bulgarian: "Stop!  Dangerous for your life!"

Bug eyes
Don't ask
Playing other games we found...

Old school soccer game
Shoots and Ladders
Your basic Chutes and Ladders
To finish off the day, we had a DELICIOUS spread of grilled meat and veggies and fresh bread.

Lunch Table

When we say "finish off the day," that's literal.  We were gone from 8:30 am to 7:30 pm.  Being a guest in Bulgarian is serious, but wonderful stuff :)

So wonderful that we have more to come... soon to come, Part II!


Recap: 4th of July

Though it didn't have fireworks, we did really enjoy celebrating the 4th with our new Bulgarian buddies!  Spur-of-the-moment, we invited a few folks over on Monday night for burgers, french fries, and strawberry shortcake.  We were able to "initiate" our new grill and also have Bulgarian guests for the first time.  It was a GREAT Independence Day...

From left to right, we have Chris, Vanya & Stefan and their son, Martin, us, and Miglena.  And, Maria is taking the picture :)  Stefan and Martin helped Randall grill the burgers... they were delish.

They brought us generous gifts: a watermelon, fresh flowers, ice cream, beer, and homemade honey; and, in exchange, we showed them how to "dress" an American hamburger :)

And, earlier that day, Joy taught an English lesson on the 4th of July at her school.  So, if any of you guys come visit us next 4th of July, you might actually hear "Happy 4th!" on the street!

Here are a few pictures from her class:

Happy late 4th!  And, Happy Friday! 


Rock it, Borovan!

Found this picture, today.  This was the party that our buddies in Borovan threw for us the week we finished there.  So good.

Приятен уикенд!  Have a good weekend!