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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I love days like yesterday – when they were all around fantastic, but for no one reason in particular.

The day started out rainy and freezing. Although unwelcome, winter in the mountains seems to have reared its ugly head again. We were enjoying wonderfully mild temps in the 70s, and now we're down in the gray 30s and 40s again. When I woke up, my bedroom was so cold I couldn't even muster the strength to put my feet on the ground to turn the heater on or grab some slippers, so I stayed in bed a couple more minutes. I had a meeting with former US Ambassador to Bulgaria and president of the Bulgarian-American Society Sol Polansky later in the day, so by the time I showered and got ready I knew there was no way I would be able to trudge the 40 minute walk to the kindergarten in the torrential rain and still make it there in time.

So I flagged a cab.

Remember my last cab story? The one that sparked my "angry" letter and denial of a tip?

Well. NIGHT AND DAY! My driver yesterday got all excited when I told him where I worked and what I did. He asked the usual, "how are those gypsy kids, anyway" question, and when I answered with my usual chipper response about how smart and enthusiastic they are, he got really intrigued! He wanted to know more. We chatted for awhile, and he wished me a great day of work, and seemed please when I rounded up his tip. ;) See, cabbies? Don't insult MY kids and you might just come out on top.

When I walked into the kindergarten, ALL the kids got up out of their seats and ran across the room to almost knock me over in the biggest group hug I've ever gotten.

Then, not going to lie, I got a bit teary eyed as the "soon to be" first graders practiced their songs for graduation next week.

The rest of the day was spent on buses to and from Sofia with Katya, and our meeting with the Ambassador. It was such a great opportunity to shed some light on the reality of our situation here in Samokov, and to basically "brag" about the hearts, passion, and determination of the incredible staff I work with.

It was just one of those days that yet again reminded me why I'm here, and why I truly love it here.




Richard and Shirley said...


I have been following your blog for almost two years now. I’m proud of what you are doing. You are having the Peace Corps (PC) experience that I had hoped to have.

When Shirley and I left Bulgaria after only two months we were devastated. It was something we felt compelled to do but it seemed so wrong. We felt so bad that we both went into a real funk for six months afterwards. The PC was something that I had wanted to ever since I watched JFK announce its formation back in the 60s. Yes, I am that old. I was an adult even then and had commitments that precluded joining the PC then.

Leaving Bulgaria was something we felt must do but we never understood why. It just seemed wrong to leave so soon especially since our assignment was to be in such a delightful village. But as we found out life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. Nine months after returning to the states Shirley had a routine mammogram, which turned up a “spot worth watching.” A follow up was ordered for six months later, which found that the spot had grown rapidly. Surgery was required in March and Shirley is now recuperating and undergoing chemo. Long-term prospects look good but it is going to be a long, ugly, painful year for her.

If we had stayed in the PC, she would not have received a mammogram so soon, since PC policy says wait a year after being sworn in as a volunteer. She would have had to go to another east European country for the mammogram since the PC did not have access to these in Bulgaria. Through it all, there is a good chance that the rapidly growing cancer would have grown much larger before it would have been caught under the P.C. timetable. Given the aggressiveness of this particular cancer, her long-term prospects would have been much different if it had not been detected until months later than happened here in the States.

So call it an amazing coincidence or call it divine intervention but the fact remains that we were somehow driven to leave our PC dream in Bulgaria and return early to the States where excellent medical intervention is going to save Shirley’s life. Sometimes it pays to listen when we feel that we are compelled to do something even though we don’t understand why at the time.

Please share this with other B24s who may be interested.


Vic and Suebee said...

Wow - I'm so delighted! :D