Monday, September 26, 2011
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
America. Land of the free. Home of the brave. And lots of bacon.
Maybe it was the 9 month "sabbatical" I took only 6 months into my service. Maybe it was the 18 countries I visited, or 33 beds I occupied within a 3 month period, but I felt pretty prepared to tackle this foreign land of "AMERICA."
BRING IT ON.
Until mom sent me to the grocery store unaccompanied.
Looking for "normal" bacon.
Whatever that is.
In fact, I'm still not sure.
Cause you know what?
America has A LOT of bacon.
"Honey, do you need help?" Says the unsuspecting supermarket attendee.
YES. What am I doing here? I forgot what I was looking for. I'm blinded… by BACON.
I lasted about a week before I was planning the next adventure. I promised myself I would take July "off." I'd seen the world.
Fallen in love with a country (Bulgaria… lipsvate mi).
Romanced my sojourner tendencies. And returned home. And found it horribly overwhelming. So I found a way to pack my bags again, and did just that.
On Friday, I took another leap of faith. You say, "already?" I say, "it's been awhile."
Too long, actually.
So I moved to Baltimore. Sans job. "Baltimore? But WHY?"
I'll tell you why.
God is moving here.
I don't know how or why or what I expect to do here, but I have faith that God will provide, and that He'll do big things through these two calloused hands of mine. And I can't wait to see how he does so. It's been my dream to live in the city and serve God here. To experience life and love on people and exist in "the gutter" in a way that's new and exciting and raw and deliberate.
So here I am. Waiting to hear back on a full-time opportunity to serve God in this city. To love and be loved. To build community. To grow and mature. Radically.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Leaving in the morning for a couple days in Romania (original PC travel goal of hitting all 5 bordering countries will be complete!!), then finally meeting up with mom and dad on the sea on Monday! Few days on the beach, few days in Instanbul, then.... SAMOKOV!!!
And final goodbyes. :(
Monday, April 25, 2011
Thus far: Sofia, Bulgaria -> Belgrade, Serbia -> Sarajevo, Bosnia -> Mostar, Bosnia -> Dubrovnik, Croatia
And I am writing this to you from Korcula, Croatia before I move on in the morning via Adriatic water taxi!
I am loving the freedom and independence I have to move at my own pace, plan my own interests, and combine wanderlust with forethought.
I may never be able to vacation ever again after this...
SO HAPPY AND CONTENT.
God is good and faithful.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Until then, more goodbyes and lots of emotions to deal with... Bulgaria? Ve4e mi lipsva6.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Never were there more mixed feelings...
Friday, April 1, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Even more impressively, Peace Corps Bulgaria is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year! Nearly 1,250 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Bulgaria since the program was established in 1991. Currently, 166 volunteers are serving here. We work as English teachers and change agents in the realms of youth and community development.
Last week, I went into Sofia for an afternoon celebrating the last two decades of development work here in Bulgaria, as well as the opening of an awesome photo exhibit in the park in front of the National Theater which showcases our presence in country as volunteers.
The photos all turned out great. A member of my volunteer group took this one, and it was so great seeing my B24s represented!
My sitemate Ursula and I got to hold the birthday banner during the ribbon cutting for the photo exhibit. :)
Saturday, March 12, 2011
- nonsense (the definition I give most often)
- bullshit (this is the definition Bulgarians give most often)
- fudge (hehe)
- applesauce (ten bucks to a person who can actually make this one work!)
- monkey business
- jiggery-pokery (love it....)
- fiddle-faddle (mom, this one makes me think of you! Although its usually just "fiddle," right? :))
- eyewash (hmmmmm)
- stuff and nonsense
- all my eye (what does this even mean????)
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
That being said, this particular update is long over due... the day after I said goodbye to all of my beloved B24s this past fall, the last two of us left in Sofia took a bus up to another town where a tattoo artist I'd read a lot about had a studio. I'd known for much of the last year that I was ready for my third (and most likely final) tattoo, and I had a design in mind that would capture the essence of my Peace Corps service and the person that I am, and highlight my love for the country that has come to mean so much to me.
This isn't such a great picture (the ink is on my left inner wrist and its a little distorted from the angle my wrist was in when I took the photo), but it says "Faith : Hope" and "Love" (which is the biggest word: "the greatest of these is love") in Bulgarian across the top, with the celtic trinity knot that I've been fascinated with for as long as I can remember. My life verse (1 Thess 2:8 - we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well) is referenced on the bottom as well.
I absolutely love it! It turned out great, and I love that it serves as a constant reminder about my priorites and why I am where I am - especially right now.
I also wanted to share with you the story about the 4 Orthodox saints that gave my ink even more meaning: there were three sisters named Vyara, Nadezhda, and Lyubov (faith hope and love).Their mom Sophia and the three girls appeared as a group before the judgment of the pagan court, which offered to release the entire family providing that the mother would deny the Saviour and raise her children as pagans. All three daughters looked up to their mother to assure her that they would remain as steadfast Christians with her and that she should feel no guilt should they be put to death. The agonized Sophia was torn between the love for her children and the love for Jesus Christ. She turned to the court to plead that her children be released, and they could inflict their tortures upon her. The three sisters cried out to their mother that they would rather join her in death to be reunited in the Kingdom of God, than to remain behind without her. Sophia's glance at the magistrate told her the next move was his. Incredibly the magistrate was unmoved and ordered the first of the girls, Faith, to be put to torture before the eyes of her mother. When this failed to bring the mother to pleas for mercy but instead the praises of the Lord, Faith was put to the sword. Hope followed her sister in death, as did her sister Love, three innocents whose horrified mother was dragged to the side of their bodies, over which she continued to pray as she herself also died for the Lord.
How cool is that???
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
I had been wanting to do the same lesson with the kinders for awhile now, so when I was putting together their Valentine's goody bag, I dropped a toothbrush and toothpaste in each bag. After enjoying our cupcakes, we marched the little chickens to the bathroom to practice! NONE of the kids own a toothbrush, so they were excited about their gift. I'd never get away with throwing a holiday party in the US and seizing the cupcake opportunity to teach about brushing those germs away. It'd be like the grouchy old lady who gives out apples on Halloween. But they loved it.
Svetlo back their cheesing over his new skill, and the others greatly concentrating.
Iskra giving the Do's and Don'ts of brushing your pearly whites.
My mom had sent me these cute little sets of Valentine's cupcake wrappers and toothpicks with hearts on them. I definitely got a kick out of the kids trying to eat the cupcakes using the toothpicks as a utensil... hahaha. I gathered them up, and they were thrilled to learn that I was not only giving them permission to eat with their hands, but making it so they had to!! Too cute.
Lots of concentration involved when trying to eat a cupcake... with a toothpick.
I started my day with my "pileta" (chickens), and had a blast! We talked about how we celebrate the holiday in America, made some Valentine's, ate some cupcakes (hysterical, pic to follow), and then I got away with something I never would have gotten away with in the US! Haha, that story to come too...
My buddy Hristo! He's really mastered his balloon drawing lately! One of my biggest regrets over the last couple of years is not spending enough time with this little guy... he has Down Syndrome, and its really neat to see him "mainstreamed" into the kindergarten. The staff and other kids really look out for him, but he kind of does his own thing. I'd like to see him get a little more individualized attention to address his needs. He's a smart kid and absolutely hysterical, but no verbal communication.
Goshko made his Valentine for his girlfriend. ;)
Nicollete - She's so pretty...
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
And look at their faces! No bribery involved!
Add to it the fact that I almost got every single one of them looking in my direction, and wow.... haha
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
It took coming all the way to Bulgaria - where soccer is football and American football doesn't even exist - to perfect my football spiral. I've gotten pretty good, if I do say so myself. ;) But its definitely more fun to teach the kids how to throw.
It makes me nervous, but the boys have really gotten into boxing lately, and have been asking me to use the gloves on a regular basis. It makes me nervous... especially when one of the kids is an amateur boxer (the tall one - at least 6'4"!!!!) - ranked in Bulgaria. Also, all of the kids in this picture are in 7th grade except for two on the far right...
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I love my life.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Today, I accompanied a good friend of mine to Sofia with his baggage to point him in the right direction of the Black Sea Coast. Because he had a bunch of bags with him, we opted to take a cab from the bus stop on the highway to the bus station instead of navigating the already tricky bus system. I opted to sit in the front seat instead of giving my 7foot friend the more ample leg room next to the driver in order to ensure that driver didn't try and take advantage of us. He seemed a little "too" eager to offer us his services (including jumping out to put J's bags in the trunk), so I was a little cautious. He immediately started driving when we got situated, and told me that he'd give us the cheap price of 20leva to the bus station. "Hold it!!" I exclaimed, "I have never paid more than 6lv to get to the bus station from here. Please turn on the meter." At this point, the look of, "crap, she actually speaks my language" painstakingly shocked across his face, and then he told me it was broken. So I countered (in Bulgarian that came across so confidently that even I was surprised), "ok, then please pull over and let us out. We'll find a cab with a working meter." He then, sooo graciously offered to give us a one time deal of 15lv to take us to the bus station. "Six." I told him. At this point, I was almost enjoying myself. As I said, I'm not very good at standing up for myself in ENGLISH, let along in this crazy foreign language that continues to waft somewhere above my head all too often, even too years later.... but it felt good. Even though we were pretty much arguing at this point (another thing I often avoid).
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
The original idea was that the photos the kids took will turn into some sort of photo-essay for Jeremi's class, but on a whim, he also wrote to the Sofia Echo - the biggest English news organization in Sofia - and asked if he could write an article on the project for the paper. They were really open to the idea and asked him to write something up and submit it!
Jeremi had given each kid a list for basically a photo scavenger hunt, and then had the pics printed. In the following pics, Jeremi invited all of the kids back to see their photos, but to also interview them for the article. Whenever its printed I'll be sure to share it on here!