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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Work wise, the last week or so have been pretty good. I've been settling into a bit of a routine, which is helpful. And making not-so-random contacts with random people.

Last Friday I went to work at "Trust Me," (an organization for kids/young adults with disabilities) and it was the first day there that I actually felt relatively productive. Normally its really just a standing play-date with Ivo, a 23 year old sweetie with a few missing teeth only improving the greatest smile ever. Because he's not of school age, they basically just have him play all day... my goal is that once my Bulgarian is good enough, I want to come up with something a little bit more worthwhile that will keep his attention. Until then, it's football and catch in the school yard, and "dancing" when its too cold to be outside. There are usually only about 5 kids, and about twice that in the staff department... so needless to say, I spend most of my time hanging out and trying to pick up more Bulgarian. On Friday, though, after my time outside with my buddy Ivo, I went inside to hang out with Mirayla - an incredibly sweet 13 year old. Normally Mirayla gets very nervous around new people, and I haven't been an exception (I'm such a funny looking American). After a sufficient amount of time sitting doing nothing while Ivo bounced around the room, I went and got a memory game to play with Mirayla. It took some prodding and some help on my part, but I got her to play with me! It was so great to see how excited she would get when she made a matching pair and head the pleasure of teaching me all the Bulgarian words I didn't know for the pictures on the cards. After we exhausted the attention span for Memory, we graduated to putting together puzzles. A bit of a challenge, but the spacial relations are definitely something good for her to work on, and yet again her smiling success when she found a piece that fit could light up a room.

Life wise... its been a big a challenge lately. I'm used to hard. I like hard. I wanted hard.

I normally crave a challenge, and I was looking forward to the day to day challenges of assimilating into a new culture. I didn't, however, anticipate the void I would feel every day as I think about the people and work I left behind in Urban America. I am on this earth to do the work I was doing... and somedays it hurts a lot as I wonder why I left...

In the big picture, I know why I left; I really do. And I believe in what I am doing here in Samokov, Bulgaria; I genuinely care about the kids I am working with... But I left my heart back in the US. That was no secret when I accepted my invitation and got on that plane 4 and a half months ago... but its the truth - its my reality.

Everyday I catch up on the news and it hurts to hear about the current economic crisis and the number of people ending up on the streets in cities all over the US. More and more people are ending up homeless, and that's bound to make access to resources for those already living on the streets even harder... I can't stop thinking about how if Obama can deliver on his word, even more veterans will be returning back to the United States in the relatively near future, and the sad reality is that even returning heros from the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to have no where to go... (

Two years is a long time to be away from what you know you are called to do. I know a lot of 22 year olds don't have that much focus, and many people would tell me I have the rest of my life to follow that dream and serve in Urban America, but thats where my heart is and its hard to be away. I love my kids here and I know they need me, and I WANT to help them find the hope that they need to succeed, but that doesn't make it any easier.

For all my ways are before you
I let your hand become my help
My soul longs and adores you
Let my cry come before you oh Lord

Revive me, according to your loving kindness
Revive me, that I may seek your word
Revive me, according to your loving kindnes
Revive me, oh Lord

Oh, Revive me
Revive me

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