Joy: A backlash of confusion

Names:  Because of "the forced name-changing in Bulgaria in the late 1980's... already, many Bulgarian Gypsies cannot remember their own names" (p. 100, Bury Me Standing).  This happens very often in my classes and in the neighborhood when the kindergarten teachers survey homes for next-year's new little students.  The ministry sends the school a list of kindergarten-aged children born in the neighborhood (Bulgarian names, only), the teachers go to the home to enroll them, but that child "doesn't live there."  It's simply a backlash of unnecessary confusion due to the two names most children have (an ethnic name and a Bulgarian name).

One of our best buddies' name is Nasko (Bulgarian), but his ethnic name is Gundi.  Definitely makes life more interesting!


Joy: "Adult Prom"

Yesterday, my adult English class and I had our "Prom Night" to conclude this year's English course.  Though it wasn't quite so official, we definitely went out with a bang: outside, next to the "Явор" river, delicious Bulgarian appetizers, ice cold beer on tap, and lots of good English practice!

They gave me a beautiful thank you gift, too.  If you want to know what Bulgarian appetizers are and what gift they gave me, you'll just have to come visit!

Happy Thursday!



Joy: Joining the family?

We all know the "diaspora" of Roma or "Gypsies" around the world.  They are a people rich and poor at the same time.  Usually, rich in ways we are poor and poor in ways we are rich.  As I've been working with this bright-eyed, passionate family (it's more of a large family than a neighborhood), I've grown to love them so much.  I hope the good parts we each contribute to this relationship rub off on each other...

I've been reading a book I wish I would have started a long time ago.  Bury Me Standing, so far, describes many of my students and what we observe in our church (located in the Roma neighborhood).  It's really fun and I hope to gain more insight and respect for them as I continue pouring over it.  And, I hope to share more along the way!  Here are a few nuggets that stood out this morning:

"The more and the noisier the better was their creed" (p. 24-25).

"Practically, the whole neighborhood was related" (p. 24).

"Marriage came so early, for many before adolescence" (p. 32).

And, these pictures are from the English class they requested from us.  We meet with them on Sundays before church.  My favorite part of this is learning, little by little, some of their languages (Turkish and Roma).

You're welcome to be a guest English-speaker in our class whenever you're in town!

Ciao for now,


P.S. They gave me permission to use these pictures, but please don't use them in any other way than sharing this blog post!  Thanks!