Despite a weekend wrestling with the location of my heart (its no secret I left it back in Urban America), today was the first totally awesome day I've had since I arrived in my new home of Samokov, Bulgaria.
I slept in a little bit before my Bulgarian tutoring session this morning, and the lesson itself didn't go very well... After many nights of labored sleep, I was a bit sleepy during my lesson, and just all out frustrated as I tried to (AGAIN) explain to my non-English speaking Bulgarian tutor that I still didn't understand the same concept I didn't understand last class when she tried to explain it in Bulgarian only fit for a native speaker...
But at the end of my lesson, where we reserve the last 20 minutes for just conversation, we actually had a REAL conversation. And I was completely honest with her for the first time. I told Mariana how much I missed NYC and how I left my hear there. I told her how hard it was to leave, and how much I miss the friends I was starting to make. I told her about how I am excited about working in Samokov, but I want to spend my evenings and free time during the next two years studying all about homelessness and PTSD so when I go back to Urban America I will be ready to serve again - but more equipped this time. We talked about how I wanted to do a program that allows me to live in a community for a year working in a urban practical experience, so after that I could get my Master's Degree in Urban Studies in only one year. We talked about how I wouldn't survive 2 more years of grad school that would keep me out of my dream any longer (that would be FIVE years from now until I was done and ready to go), and how the reason I did ok at Elon because of the service-learning component and how I learn by DOING. I didn't even know I was CAPABLE of having this conversation in Bulgarian... but I did it. We talked for the last 20 minutes, and then for a little longer while she ate lunch.
If that wasn't enough, I walked into "Trust Me" today, and the first person to notice me was Ivo and he shouted, " Katie, Katie, KATIE!!!!!" right as I walked through the door. That in and of itself could have made my whole week. But it didn't stop there... I spent the next couple of hours playing Memory and Dominoes, and spelling out letters on the peg board with Mirayla.
After work I went to the big grocery store to look for Almond Extract for the Filkins' famous Merry Cherry Bars for Christmas (I got cherries and M&M's in my last care package from home), and found REAL brown sugar and baking cocoa!! Two things I haven't been able to find till now...
When I got back to my apartment, I found an email reply from one of my Elon professors with all of the information I need to try and get Jackson Katz' MVP Program (from my Violence in Families Service-Learning Class at Elon) culturally adapted and translated into Bulgarian for my kids.
And a little while ago, I got back from a 3 and a half hour dinner with a Bulgarian neighbor from who owns a private English school in the block next door. We shared an amazingly good pizza, talked about life, her kids, Bulgaria, the segregation between Bulgarian and Roma, faith.... and how she can help me with my mission here!! Tomorrow she is going to print out invitations to invite my core group of kids to join her in Friday English classes with her Bulgarian kids...
Has anything changed from the last couple of weeks?
My circumstance is still the same - I MISS the city and what i was doing there, and I will continue to miss it over the next two years and I can't wait until God brings me back to do what I am on this earth to do.
It will be a slow process, but maybe my HEART is starting to change..
No matter what, it was a good day. :)