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Monday, December 8, 2008

This is exactly what I pay my friends for:

"Remember that you prayed for guidance when you made the decision to join the peace corps, so instead of projecting to an uncertain destination, center yourself in the present - as the future is just an expansion of now!!"

Thanks Danny! Its funny how emails of encouragement always seem to come at EXACTLY the perfect time. So keep them coming! I promise to write back. :)

Seriously though... I have been in this constant spiral of forgetting why I came here in the first place, but in addition to having some of the greatest friends and family members back home supporting me every step of the way, I've found myself growing less and less stressed out even though things are still kind of crazy.

Jumping through hoops to get my new passport (and eventually my Bulgarian ID) is proving to be a bit of a challenge, but its helping me realize how incredibly awesome my two counterparts here are. I work with two women at my organization, who are both full time teachers yet also pouring their hearts into Svetlina (my organization). They are tired and burned out, but managing to laugh the entire time as we walk - yet AGAIN - back to the police station for more paperwork (it was only like the 5th time today in about two weeks). I'm finally finding my sense of humor in Bulgarian with Katia and Mariana, so as much as I did NOT want to show my face back at the police station, the three of us rolled in laughter as I went about complaining.

Cause what I am I trying so desperately to learn here?

Sometimes it's more important to change your perspective rather than your circumstance.

This weekend I went back to my training village for the day on Saturday. I needed to pick up my personal passport (which I need for my paperwork and for some reason left in Kraynitsi), but I also thought it would be nice to have a short visit with my host parents. I brought them Merry Cherry Bars, a few tomatoes (remember? They disappeared in the villages months ago... but I can buy them in Samokov!), and paper napkins with Christmas trees on them. After a delicious homemade lunch (I forgot how good Svetla's meals were), an incredible ego boost on how fast they think my Bulgarian is improving (ha, had them fooled!! :)), I caught the bus back to Samokov with a bag full of potatoes, apples, Rakia (Bulgarian moonshine...), and the homemade wine that I helped harvest grapes for this summer. All in all it was a good visit! Other than the fact that all of my geese and rabit friends are gone, there are considerably fewer chickens, and Bessie the pig met her maker a few days ago. О боже... the reality of village life hit!

Sunday I spent a much needed mental health day around the apartment with my wild child kitten, and then my roommate from PC training events passed through the hang out with me for the night.

And to top it all off... today was the first English lesson with my core kids that DIDN'T make me want to extract my teeth one by one. I caught their attention without bribing them (go figure), I didn't feel incredibly inadequate language wise (see what an ego boost can do?), and I actually occupied a whole hour (yeah - all I have to survive is 60 minutes) without mercilessly stretching out the last 15 minutes or so. It was great. We practiced the Latin alphabet (Bulgarian is all Cyrillic), reviewed our colors, learned some numbers, and then put it all to use by playing UNO. It was great!

Its those small victories that are helping me get through the day. Like, there is this one little boy at "Trust Me" (day center for kids with disabilities) who has severe autism and is in a wheelchair. They have trouble keeping him focuses because he can't communicate verbally and will just throw fits. Usually they wheel him around the entire time... every day when I walk in I give him my heartiest "Hello Mitko!" in Bulgarian, and everyday I get no response. Until last week... when I gave him my usual greeting, waited a second or two, and then found my place with my buddy Ivo. After a 5 second delay, I hear "Sttttrraaaazzzsssttttiiiii" coming from little Mitko!

Completely made my day, and for just long enough I forgot about the creepy guy on the bridge, the nervewracking photo line up at the police station, and realized my wallet/passport had been stolen.

I forgot just long enough to remember to thank God for being my Saving Grace and for bringing me here.

James 1:26-27 -
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.


Shirley said...

Katie, I thought of you when I read my daily devotional today (Streams in the Desert). In part it says: Difficult times are trying and hard to bear, but hiding just below the surface is discipline, knowledge, and limitless possibilities. Each of these not only strengthens and matures us but also equips us to help others. So do not worry or clench your teeth, simply waiting with stubborn determination for the suffering to pass. Instead, be determined to get everything you can from it, both for yourself and for the sake of those around you, according to the will of God.

MikeLynnLynch said...

You don't know me. My name is Mike Lynch. My wife and I are waiting for our medical approval. We have been told that we may end up in Eastern Europe. We are MUCH older than you! As we wait for some final word from the PC, we have become "avid blog readers". I really enjoy reading yours. You don't hold back. You provide a "wonderful window" into what it means to be a PCV. You show all the highs and lows. We appreciate that very much.

Please take the following as some possible "insight" from an older (not always right) person.
My experiences with dreams are that they are very TOUGH. They challenge you all the time, and often they can tear you down as you strive to reach them. I have also found that even when the dream has you questioning your sanity, sense, intellect, and intuition; it is how you respond to the dreams challenge that is important. At the time of the challenge, how you respond is more important than the actual situation. Keep the faith. Push on - have fun.
Oh - and keep writing. We are reading.

Mike and Lynn Lynch

abby said...

Hey Katie!
Thanks for the comment! Seeing as how I don't get to the internet every week (although that is changing)I just got all of your blogs on my flash drive. It was like 25 pages btw. Anyways, my address is actually the same because I live like 20 mins from the PC Office and they are totally cool with that. Anyways, I would be all down for going to Bulgeria! As for T-stan, that could be difficult, but we'll work on it. LOVE YOU!!!!