Thursday, October 18, 2007

malko na balgarski...

Veche zapochnah da broq neshtata koito shte mi lipsvat. Obache, nqkaksi ne moga da gi izbroq. Milosta, Lubeznosta… kak se broi tokova neshta?

Chustvam se tolkova kasmetliva che po vreme na tiq 2 godnini se zapoznah s mnogo hubavi, inteligentni i mili hora. Ponqkoga, imam chustvato, che nikoga prez jivota si, ne sam bila povecha obichena ot sega. Otvaraiki rutseto, bulgarite v Pernik sa mi prieli kato chast ot semestvoto si. Osobono kato mislq za samestvoto na moqta sutrudnichka, razbiram koklo veliko neshto e da vzimash nqkoi kato dopulnitelen chlen na samestvoto si. Nadiavam se i na tqh da razbirat kakvo sa napravili za mene. Dumite ne mi stigat… me moga da obisnq do kakva stepen sam blagodarna. Sled tiq 2 godini, taka se chustvam kato u doma ci, che na mene mi a muchno da si hodq.

Istinata e, che sam si izjiviala bezbroini ujasni neshta- nai-veche tova ojesh e na blogodarenie na Korpusa i lipsvaneto na jelanie da razbirat kavo stane (osobono kato tova neshto predstavlqva neshto “neconfortno” da napraviat.). Znam kakvo e da se usetish opasnosta u doma si. Izjiviqh mnenieto ot drugi che sam mursaliva i che ne iskam da se opravq neshtata sama. Chesto se chustvah samotena, bez nadejda, oburkana i poburkana. Borih se za neshtata koito na drugite ne im se struvashe da napravq- imam predvid che vqrvam che vseki idin ot nas trabva da ima shans na ranvo da usepqm, osobono horata ot multincva.

Osven tova, kakvo nosq v sebe si? Poraznah- povecheto otkolkto po-malko. Pokajah na sebe se che moje i izik da naucha. Prikarvah vremeto i migove kakto tribva- kakto idvat, ne kato sustezanie- koi kolkoto moje. Razbiram, che chuvek naistina moje da vuzdeistva ha rezultatite na nashiq jivot, ili puk da okazva vlianie na nqkukvo promiqna kum dobro. Naistina, tolko mnogo neshta moje da napravim koito pomagat na horata…. Da stanesh obiknoven dobrovolets i da uchasvash vuv pochistvane v kvartalniq park…
chao Bulgaria! Vinigi shte se gordq s Vas!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Where they don't speak Bulgarian

I had no idea what stop we needed to get off at. Those are the kind of adventures I participate in as of late- deciding that I have a pretty good idea where a bus might take me, though harboring the thought that in actuality, I'm not so sure... But to be more correct, its not that we didn't know where to get off, its that we weren't even really sure what we were heading into. Finally we spotted the Red, White and Blue and jumped out of our seats, pushing by the locals to get to the door before the driver speed away. The Russian Embassy. Part I.

On September 17th, it was freezing. Only a month before we had been running for the shade and substituting practically every meal for cold liquids and ice cream, but today was decidedly gray. And cold. Did I mention cold? Christin and I had a small list or errands to run before braving the consular's office of the Russian Embassy in pursuit of visas. After reading practically every webpage dealing with Russia and Russian visas, we were skeptical that Russia would be ebullient to grant the likes of us- young "good-willed" volunteers, fluent in a cousin language, educated in a former strong-hold of the USSR - tourist visas to the Motherland. None the less, we decided to brave the bureaucracy. We'd contacted travel agencies, hotels, hostels, private companies in search of the two coveted documents in the process; an official invitation (required for all foreigners) and a hotel voucher to confirm our stay. Now it was go-day. After finishing up our errands, we took a break for lunch. At 12:45 sharp, we made our way to the consular's department.

It was with shock and desperation that I began piecing together the sign infront of the embassy's consulate entrance. Working hours- 9am-12pm, M-F except for every 3rd to last wednesday of the month...WHAT??!?! We both immediately began grumbling about the lost time and money involved in getting to this step, and I personally began replaying moments from earlier in the day- if I hadn't helped that poor, lost Canadian dude, we would have caught an earlier bus, if we had simply run by the consulate to see what the hours of operation were, we surely would have been accepted...etc etc. We commiserated and agreed to meet up the next, just this time, a bit earlier.

One would think that Bulgarian is spoken in the Russian embassy in Sofia. But as with every endeavor into bureaucracy, thinking seems to get you nowhere. We stuggled at the first window, baffled by the fact that neither our American passports nor our pleas for the conversation to occur in Bulgarian were considered. Luckily the guy behind us was more than willing to translate the Russian into Bulgarian, and in a short while, we realized that I had no proof of health insurance. Christin advanced to line #2 as I made a detour to the German Embassy where a friendly lady issued me aan ffordable travel/medical insurance policy for up to 10,000 EURO. Back at the Russian embassy, I was greeted with more Russian. Then a quick interview and a large sum of money ($150 for I week in Russia!) were exchanged and we were dismissed.

Guess what language they spoke when I returned to pick up my American passport?

Russian lessons, anyone?

filosofstvane...thoughts on conformity

I love capital cities. The mixture of expats, diplomats, and nationals who are desperately fleeing from the past, and those who stubbornly refuse to admit that, like time, tradition all too easily passes into the world of things ephemerally treasured.

The interminable question seems to be; change or tradition, or perhaps, conformity versus individualism? But here is my question- need we live our lives based on the philosophical stipulations set down by long-since deceased old white dudes?

Here are some recent conversation topics that I've had in the last two weeks that have brought me to this post.
*Country music- is the old stuff as good as the new, and more importantly, is the new stuff really even country?
*Architecture- areas of downtown Sofia are obviously influenced by Vienna-educated Bulgarians
*Success- Why is an individual's redefinition of the standard of success cause to incite hostility in others?

When we choose a different path in life, some people seem to see that as a challenge to their chosen path- as if our declaration of what’s good and right for us is inherently a denunciation of theirs. Ever so more is this true if the offended party is living a typical and successful life. So what is it about the average person that they feel a need to be so possessive about an experience that is really more about the collective – society’s goals- to the extent that those who deviate, either “above” or “below” the mainstream, are seen as a threat?

Conformity allows society to run smoothly. Without conformity, there would likely be political and social chaos. Conformity means that Coca-Cola can more easily observe the average 14 year old American and determine what kind of product to release. After all, isn't it nice to go to the store and realize that you like all the stuff that's available? (I assure you, its much better than going in and realizing that half the products scare you into hunger...)

Idividuality, on the other hand, is the thing that bring us new ideas. Sure, conformity is the thing that makes them happen (acknowledgement of employee-employer responsibility, free markets, mass-media campaigns, etc), but without the innovative person who is willing to deviate from the norm, where would the new ideas come from?

Everyone is glad that Steve Jobs gave us the iPod, yet Cat Stevens can't come back to America. Go figure.