Tuesday, July 21, 2009


if you ever feel like making me into a statue; please put me at the table with everyone else.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is that cologne your wearing?


The last couple weeks have been quite busy with learning Bulgarian and learning how to be an effective Peace Corps worker. Things are starting to really pick up. Once I was able to speak about things that I wanted to speak about, then learning the language became a lot more fun.

A couple Saturdays ago, was the American celebration of our independence. The experience was quite unique in more ways than one. Turns out July 4th, in Bulgaria, isn’t such a big deal. It was strange to not hear the “Pow!!!” of fireworks throughout the day. Also, this Fourth of July was distinctive because, I am working as a representative of the United States. Patriotism feels different when you are serving your country.

To celebrate our national day my fellow Peace Corps trainees and I held a basketball game for the kids of out village and a neighboring village. We gave everybody who came a brief history of America’s independence and we sang our national anthem.
After the game, Val had us over for an American style barbecue. It was superb. We ate hamburgers, hot dogs, onion dip, salads and of course a very American platter of French fries. It was a blast to celebrate with our Bulgarian hosts. I think my favorite part was Meg’s host Dad, Rumen, who learned how to wish us a happy fourth of July in English. It was nice to have such a fun celebration. It helps a lot, when I think about all of the greatness that is a Minnesota summer.

These past few weeks, a few Peace Corps trainees and myself have noticed itchy bug bites. And…Well… it has been determined that I have fleas. It really isn’t too bad. Basically, it’s like having a bunch of mosquito bites. I have to spray an insecticide in my room and start wearing a repellant before I go out. Ivan and Ivanka, my hosts, noticed me itching my bug bites and were shocked to find my problem. Ivanka promptly instructed me to take a shower. It was about the usual time in the evening that I shower so, I went. I returned to eat dinner and found Ivanka with a home remedy that apparently eases itching. This remedy; dabbing vinegar on all of the bug bites. It helped a little bit but turns out, as my friends here will be able to tell you, vinegar doesn’t make you smell so great. In fact, it makes you smell like vinegar. Well, hydrocortisone doesn’t do much better anyways.


Q. What do you call it when you get vinegar in your ear?

A. Pickled-Hearing!!!....

(…and with that, the joke feature of this blog is now on hiatus...)

Cultural Observation:

My old boss suggested that; while traveling, if I ever needed help understanding something, look to the kids. This has proven to be quite helpful. Most kids here in Bulgaria speak a bit of English. In fact, most of the kids I have met speak terrific English. That is not too surprising. English is one of if not the most commonly used language in the world, and many schools teach it. What is surprising to me is that the kids who speak the best English say they have learned it from watching cartoons!

I wonder if there was a really good cartoon in spanish, kids in the US would speak Spanish better? I guess it doesn’t matter; those kids should be outside playing anyway.