Samokov is in the mountains and it's cold.

The crowd here is so international. Everyone is from everywhere, and lucky me - this means they all speak English. We’ve played games - more accurately called simulations - all weekend, demonstrating culture shock, discrimination, language barriers, etc. These have been eye-opening and I can tell they’d be even more so for teenagers. I look forward to holding workshops.

More impacting to me: how at home I feel with these people. Before leaving the States, I remember talking to my friends there about language and how fundamental it was to me for emotional bonding, friendship, love, and so on. I remember telling K that I would never be able to really understand or love someone with whom there was any sort of communicative barrier.

But I’m ready to eat my words (get it, yeah?) now. No one here speaks the SAT-vocab, English-major English that I do, but it’s almost better that way. In a way it’s easier to know someone without all the language to distract and mislead you. I don’t feel the urge to do the same rhetorical arm-waving in order to communicate.

Yesterday while withdrawing money, I bumped into my banker and he was kind and cute, and I could tell he was genuinely happy to see me. Before I left, the thought passed through my mind that attraction isn’t so hard even across cultures and languages. Then I recognized my silliness for what it was and I ran to catch the bus to Sofia.

(P.S. I’m working with a program called Colored Glasses, which is organized by a non-profit called YFU Bulgaria.)

Working only three days a week means Wednesday night is Friday night.

And Thursday is Saturday. And Friday is a second Saturday. And Saturday is a third Saturday. And Sunday is the day I realize I should’ve been doing work all along instead of leaving everything until the last minute.

Right now it’s still Thursday though, and I have a good 50% of my grading done. But I’m going to Samokov tomorrow for a training thing - I’m learning how to run tolerance workshops! This will dovetail nicely with some of the material in Perks. My philosophy this year is just to say “yes” to everything and see what comes of it. So, Samokov.

I realized today that I’ve been in Bulgaria for almost exactly two months! Well, the summer institute started two months ago. I’ve been in Стара Загора for a month and a week. It really does feel much longer than that. Is it nauseatingly boring and cliched and awful to say that I feel like I’ve grown and changed so much since arriving? Okay, I won’t say it then.

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