The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of Elon University, the U.S. government, or the Peace Corps.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey, most of us would never start out at all." - Dan Rather

It's been a year since my "little" tumble down the mountain here in Maliovitsa (and yes, I realize I seem to be rather found of these "anniversary" posts...), and I'm in absolute awe of how surreal this past year has been. I never take the easy route in doing anything, and I also don't do anything half way... so when you take those two characteristics of my being and put them together, there shouldn't be any doubt in how intense things have been since I broke my leg. Pretty soon after I got home last year, people started asking me if I had any idea why God would have allowed the accident to happen - why He would have pulled me from my work here in Samokov just when I was beginning to feel as though He was changing my heart and helping me be passionate and excited about life as a PCV here. For the longest time, that question angered me and I didn't want to think about it. I was MAD at the circumstances - and especially the timing. I had asked God to either make it clear that Bulgaria was where I was supposed to be (as opposed to drawing out the time before I could return back to inner city USA) by changing my heart, or give me some undeniable sign that I should pack my bags. As it turns out, it appeared that I received BOTH answers to prayer - and NOT AT ALL how I would have requested them to be answered. You would think I'd figure it out by now that God has a way better grasp on my life than I do... but it took me months to be able to surrender all that and find peace in my situation. I then decided that if God took a leg that wasn't healing and healed it within the time frame that PC was giving me, AND if my doctor cleared me to go, I had no choice but to return to the journey God had called me on in July off 2008. As it turned out, after months and months with a rather serious non-union fracture, I went from 0% healed to 90% healed in about 6 weeks. Basically medically impossible.

But I knew better. :)

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17
So now, exactly a year from the most painful (physically... emotionally... spiritually...) experience of my life, I'm sitting in my apartment wrapped up in my Snuggie while watching old Christmas movies and eating my weight in homemade Baklava from my friends from work, and so thankful for renewed perspective and its affect on my circumstance.
As always, Life ain't easy- but it's so good.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And that Charlie Brown...

I'm off today to get some errands done in Sofia (more on that soon, but to everyone from BBC who helped with my project, thank you!!), then tomorrow heading South to celebrate Christmas with my PCV family. And no skiing!! Promise. :)

I love and miss everyone back home more than you can imagine. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rule number one: never go ANYWHERE as a PCV without a camera... you never know when an impromtu dance party (or something else just as incredible) may commence.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Getting ready to "Celebrate the Day"

I find it hard (very hard, in fact) to stay focused here. I chose Peace Corps largely because I knew it was going to stretch me in ways I've never been - and need to be - put to the test. With Christmas coming up this week, it's been especially distracting. For me, Christmas is a reminder to be centered on a gift and grace I have never once deserved, and the opportunity to celebrate with loved ones. It's hard... being here. Away from all of that.

So here's a song that helps put things in perspective.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the season...

To "paint" cookies!!

Last year, my aunt sent me some fun things to use with my program kids from Svetlina to decorate Christmas cookies, and even though I only had a few kids participate, they LOVED it! They'd never done anything like it before, and its still a tradition with me every year, so I was very excited when I got another package last month filled with cookie decorations, sprinkles, food coloring... everything!

This year we had about 25 kids come, and it was a blast. In fact, the newspaper even came to take some pictures and write an article for the Samokov paper about our Christmas activities.

So, even though I'm feeling pretty homesick being away from family this time of year, its been great to have a little bit of "home" here with me.

Last week was a really long and emotional week. But considering I've been back for three months and that was the first all around rough week (and not to mention all of my extremities are in tact...) I've had, I guess I don't have much to complain about. 

It all started when it suddenly hit me hard that this is the second of three Christmases in a row that I'll be away from my family. Not to mention that December 5th was five years from the death of a friend from Barcroft Youth Group. I didn't know Ben all that well, but I looked up to him more than I did probably any one else... he was just one of those guys who's love for Christ and people was contagious, and when he died a hero in Iraq midway through my freshman year, it hit me hard. So, the emotional weekend kicked off a very frustrating week where my patience and energy levels were already low.

The brief rundown: rough week of programming with my kids at the center (attendance has been tough...), I adopted a very needy and obnoxious cat (who was supposed to be a kitten) who later chewed through my computer AC adapter, I substituted for a day of English classes (which stresses me out and I'm convinced I am a horrible teacher), I got locked in my classroom by a group of kids I didn't even know after they shoved a stuck through the door handles... then stood by and laughed as I tried to wave to some other kids to let me out, my computer cable was deemed unfixable, I had no computer to talk to the people who are always there for me when I need them, one of my kids is going through something at home and she won't tell me what it is and I don't know how to be there for her, for the first time in my life I am dreaming at night... and I hate it, I got really really sick on Saturday, and on top of all this (and more...), I lost my favorite scarf at the very beginning of a super cold winter. 

That's the watered down version, but let's just say I'm extremely thankful for a new week, amazing family and friends, fantastic colleagues, local computer tech guys (who speak English!!), a God who promises not to give me more than I can handle.... and the Kuchek Chicken Dance.