It wouldn't be a stretch to say last week was emotionally draining… but the best things in life are worth fighting for, aren't they?
I love my life here. I really do. I love walking around my crazy little city in the mountains and feeling normal. Like this is exactly where I want to be – and am supposed to be. I appreciate running into people that apparently know me even though I could swear we've never met (thankfully my Bulgarian is good enough that I've become quite the faker when situations like these arise). I love that my veggie guy across the street from my apartment makes sure I get the best potatoes and the freshest lettuce. He also checks in to see how my puppy search is going (I've resolved to part with Bailey for good now). I love the trust I'm building with my kids. It's a slow process and I wish I could put a sticker on their shirt and achieve hero status like I can with the littles at the kindergarten, but we're getting there.
Most of all though, I love my colleagues. My Bulgarian family. I hate being this far away from loved ones back on American soil, but I'm not quite sure I could do it without these incredible woman here in Samokov. The ladies are some of the strongest, most independent and determined – and GIVING – women I have ever met.
Take last Friday – my friend here in town wasn't feeling well. My counterpart suggested we go see the school nurse. The school nurse checked her out, then took us to her own personal doctor, then pointed us in the right direction of the cheapest pharmacy in town. It was amazing – to feel this well taken care of and supported. And it wasn't even me (shocker) with the problem this time!
These women knew I was coming back to Bulgaria after my accident before I did. They told Peace Corps that they would basically rather take the chance that I couldn't return, then to replace me. Holy smokes. How amazing is that?
I could go on and on about how well taken care of I am… but let's talk for a minute about why the three (plus) of them are rock stars. Seriously.
We have a standing "agreement" with the municipality here that the local government will support our annual summer camp by providing all travel costs to and from the Black Sea. It's been this way the last couple of years, and we were informed that this year would be no different. However, when my colleagues went to go get the signature needed to continue pushing paperwork, they weren't even allowed to even go in to see the mayor. "Economic crisis – no money."
So what do my incredible colleagues do? They went online, downloaded a copy of the municipal budget, FOUND THE MONEY WITHIN THE BUDGET THEMSELVES, and then went back to the mayor's office and had a sit in until they got their signature.
I hope I never lose my determination and "save the world" mentality. I hope I continue to be even half of the advocate these ladies are.