Thursday, May 31, 2007

American politics, Cindy's bday

I keep forgetting to update!

Last weekend I spent a lovely, lovely time in Veles, Macedonia!!! (or, the MAK, as we like to call it) My friend Cindy from Vanderbilt was celebrating her 23rd birthday, and rumors of a ridiculously good time and a welcoming balcony beckoned…

Actually, Cindy’s birthday is something of an International holiday. May 24th marks the creation of the Cyrillic Alphabet by the brothers Kiril and Methodi, so many of the Cyrillic-using countries celebrate the occasion. The added bonus was of course…free holiday days!!! Whew! I took the opportunity to head to the MAK and see some of my favorite Balkanized Americans!

The first night I arrived, Cindy was throwing a party for all her friends and coworkers in Veles. She has two wonderful, amazing sitemates – Simonche and Stefi- who helped cook, clean, bake and plan the party. It was a full house (balcony) and after dinner the party turned into a Macedonian song-fest! Her landlords came over to help celebrate (actually, they live below her) and it turns out the guy is pretty talented and knows like, every Macedonian song written- EVER. A typical Bulgarian “Na gosti” doesn’t typically include three guitars and 20 people singing, so I was pretty impressed! Finally around 2am, the guests left and we got to sleep!

The rest of the trip was filled with group runs, sing-a-longs (in English), eating “pita,” getting awesome highlights (for $15…), and another party with MAK PCVs. A party at which I was crowned beer pong champion of Macedonia!!!!! Okay, so I crowned myself, but Simon and I did win! I miss the Veles crew a ton, and I’m pretty convinced that they are 3 of the coolest PCVs I’ve come to know.

I JUST read that the Bush administration, in preparation for upcoming G8 talks, has changed its stance on global warming! They now think its important to focus on the environment and the cut down on the emission of all sorts of harmful stuff (well, maybe not all sorts…)!!! I am shocked and pleased.

In other US political news, a few weeks ago a handful of Congressmen and Congresswomen undertook a challenge to live life like an average person who receives food stamps. For one week, they had $3 a day to nourish themselves. One of the things they all seemed to say was that you could buy more junk food calories per dollar than you could healthy calories. If you had a tiny bit of money and a whole family to feed, how are you supposed to stay full AND get nutrients? You know, assuming that Doritos and little Debbie snack cakes don’t fit so well into the food pyramid… These legislators were criticized by many because, in fact, they didn’t accurately recreate the budget of a food stamp recipient. Food stamps are meant to supplement a citizen’s budget, not make up the entirety of it. I agree that it wasn’t a “real” situation, but I truly admire these politicians for finding an issue that is important to them, and finding a new and creative way to reach people’s minds. I would guess that most people are unaware of the amount of aid a welfare recipient receives, so hopefully this demonstration paints a clearer and more accurate picture. I wish these guys were my representatives!!!

Work is going tediously slow, but that means I’ve had a chance to read a few books! I recently read Capote’s “In Cold Blood,” Judy Bloom’s “Summer Sisters,” and am nearly finished with Hemmingway’s “The Sun also Rises.” I’m taking book requests!!!

My parents just called me from the Minneapolis Airport, and they were getting ready to board! I will see them in 13 hours in Sofia!!!!!! I’m pretty excited!


At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Randy D said...

Are you seriously reading "The Sun Also Rises"? I'm re-reading it right now too! Oblast Pernik!!!!!!

At 5:28 AM, Anonymous Randy D said...

AAAAHHHHH! I also noticed - while scrolling down - that you went to Vienna. I planned on going there from the beginning of service. Well, that's what happens when you COS early. Oh well. Thanks for the "vruski" shout-out. I've found shoelaces have taken on a greater signicance in my life since that day.


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