Although I've spent a significant amount of time in Bulgaria, there are still so many things that are foreign to me. The recent weather has been just that. I've experienced cold before, but this is ridiculous! I walked to work the other day when it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit, and that was without wind! The internet told me that wind brought the temperature down to -20, and it seemed to always be windy while I was outside! So, so cold! To point out a silver lining, though, a week before the big cold hit, there was a terrible rain storm! When I left the bar, my stubbornness prohibited me from taking a taxi home. I hate taxis with a passion! Anyway, I walked home and got soaked to the bone. In fact, because of the fear of air flow here, and lack of heat, my jacket and shoes were wet for a full week! But my heavy wool pea coat was made in America by union workers and it kept me warm despite the wetness!
The cold has been quite unpleasant, but this weather has not been without beauty. Last week, I was looking out the window from the bar and it seemed to be snowing, but the snow was not all falling, and it wasn't white. I had to ask. Iliyan told me that was the humidity in the air, freezing to form tiny ice crystals which reflected the light from street lights like millions of tiny prisms floating in the air. It was incredible! I was in total awe - until I had to go home... It was a windless night, and the twinkling in all directions made me feel like a fairy prince in a magical land, but by the time I got home, my scarf had frozen solid from the moisture in my breath!
That was a first. Snow is not foreign to me, though. I grew up playing in the white stuff, and I love it! But somehow, the snow this year in Bulgaria is different from what I know. I'm familiar with different sized flakes, but in one way or another, they always just look like shaved ice to me. Until recently. It was the final predicted day of super cold, before next week's regular cold begins, and my jacket was collecting a lot of snow flakes on my way home from work at 2am. They caught my eye in a moment because they looked like the paper snowflake cut-outs that I used to make in school for Christmas cards and such. They were clean and perfect and amazing! Just like the paper ones I used to make! Impossibly beautiful with their exquisite symmetry and infinite uniqueness! And they were everywhere I looked! Billions and billions of them, falling from the sky individually, not tangled with others, not forming shaved ice, just perfect snow! But it was cold so I went inside.
Beyond the weather, there are still other things foreign to me, like the language. Even though I speak as good as a local (a local 4 year old), language mistakes are inevitable. Usually, the magnitude of those mistakes is controllable. Usually. I was walking home from the bar with Adele, the French gal that is volunteering in our office. She was telling me that she may have to go home for some time. I thought I heard the reason as being that her grandmother had a concert. Cool! How many grannie bands do you know?! When I got excited she stopped me and tried to explain further. It took us a few minutes, but I finally got it - her grandmother doesn't have a concert, she has a cancer... Man, did I feel like a jerk. So, I blamed my mistake on her accent.
Another incident happened when I thought I must be misunderstanding, but understood perfectly. Among the group that I hang out with is an Orthodox priest. I've seen him at several functions - he once tried to bless me with some holy water flung from some herbs on Nikolov Den (the fish holiday). Every time I see this guy, he's wearing his full uniform, as if he had come directly from church. So, we were all at a bar, celebrating a birthday, and someone made the joke that I needed a Bulgarian woman. I get this one a lot, and I like hearing it - you never know what someone might end up offering. So, I agreed to the accusation of needing a Bulgarian woman and the priest says, "Or you could just get a magazine." Haha! I laughed so hard because it was so inappropriate that I thought I must have misunderstood, which made it even funnier to me. Later, Iliyan explained that I had understood correctly, and it was funny because it was a joke. (?)
The jokes I hear quite frequently are funny because my sense of humor is so flexible. I mean, I love bad jokes, but some jokes really push the limits. Here are two that I've heard in the last couple days that are absolutely not worth repeating:
The Flash was cruising along and came upon Spider Man.
"Hey, let's go get some girls!"
"No. I have to make this web..."
The Flash continues on to Batman.
"Hey, let's go get some girls!"
"No, I just saved the world and I'm tired."
The Flash continues on and on; Superman, Aquaman, Hulk, Ironman, everyone! Finally, he sees a really pretty girl on the top of a building making some really sexy movements. So, he goes really fast, cause he's the Flash, and fucks her quickly, cause he's the Flash, and then leaves!
"Invisible Man, did you feel something?" She asks.
"You have to ask my ass."
A horny samurai girl walked into a bar and went around until she found the guy with the biggest package. She pulled him into the bathroom and took off his pants to give him a blowjob, but his package was too big for her little mouth. She pulled out her sword and cocked it back.
"No! No!" He screamed!
"There is no no!" She yelled, as she swiped her sword to cut her mouth so it would open further!
Anyway, something that is not foreign to me is fun! Despite the cold, the snow, the wetness, the bad jokes and misunderstandings, I'm still having an awesome adventure!
Like grant proposals through the hands of USAID, these are the projects of my life!
University for Peace! 2008-2009
Peace Corps! 2005-2007
An obligatory disclaimer: Everything I have written, has been written by me. All of my own views, expressed hereinafter, are my own views. If you needed to read this disclaimer to know these things, you're a silly goose!