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.)