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, March 7, 2010

I absolutely love living in Samokov. Honestly, I can't imagine living anywhere else. The people I want to work with live here, and my skill set, past experiences, and future aspirations compliment my my current job description with at-risk youth in a more "urban" town perfectly. Not to mention my love for the Rila mountains and the ability to go into the capital a mere hour away when I want to be surrounded by people who love Jesus.

I do, however, sometimes feel like I am getting jilted out of the true PC experience. My city is small, but I live in a block neighborhood and the pace of life is a bit faster than it was during my 3 months with my host family in the village.

This weekend, I had an incredible opportunity to travel up to North Western Bulgaria near the Serbian border to a small village known for hand-woven carpets. The art, although sadly losing popularity among the newest generations, creates absolutely BEAUTIFUL works.

A group of us were able to stay at a guest house in Chiprovtsi and spend a couple of days learning the craft from a woman who learned from her mother, who learned from hers, who... you get the point! At the end of the weekend we were able to place orders for rugs that will be created just for us, in the size and colors we requested. I'm very excited to see the finished product (everything from the wool to the dyes is all hand made/spun and natural) in a few months! In addition to the course on weaving, we ate delicious Bulgarian meals, and even learned how make Chiprovtsi style Banitsa (a very popular phyllo dough breakfast made throughout the country) and had some great girl time.

Yulka teaching Andrea how to set your loom up.

Yulka showing us the loom used for large area rugs... this was where we worked on our bookmarks.

Haha, our finished "book marks!" And no... none of us plan on quitting our day jobs.
Leave it to the professionals... SO EXCITED!!! The rug I ordered will basically be based off of this one. I absolutely LOVE it. 
Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

Hello! My husband and I just received a nomination to Eastern Europe. I have been looking at Bulgaria and thinking we might end up there based on the programs we are nominated for. (Of course, this is purely speculation...)

It sounds like you really love it there! I'm wondering if you would tell me your least and most favorite things about Bulgaria. :)

Katie F. said...

I DO love it here! Don't get me wrong, it truly is the "toughest job you'll ever love," but the country is beautiful, the people are fantastic, and the work is needed (even though some days its hard to see underneath the guise of the European Union).

My favorite things - I live in the foothills of the highest mountains in the Balkans... BEAUTIFUL!! I also love my work here. I work with disadvantaged youth, and its emotionally draining, but mainly when you hear the prejudice in the majority mindset. TRAVEL! The country is relatively small, but there are PCV's everywhere, so its easy to get around.

My least favorite thing - Most Volunteers will tell you winter, but I actually love it. :) So, for me, its the fact that every volunteer here will, to some degree, teach English. Teaching is never a roll I have been or will be comfortable in.

You're right to keep your mind open about where you might end up... PC is notorious for mixing things up on you when you least expect it! Don't be "sure" where you are going until you have an invitation in your hand. But, if you're headed this way, we're all here to answer questions!

Good Luck.