Settling in

I have now spent a week at my site. It’s gone by surprisingly fast. I was expecting it to be fairly rough but so far it’s been smooth sailing through calm seas (knock on wood). The first few days at work were fairly slow. I had no idea what I should be doing nor what I could be doing. So I’ve shown up and practiced my Bulgarian with people around the office. I bring my workbook along and one of my colleagues is kind enough to check my work. Things have been picking up as of late. My site mate (another volunteer here) is no longer in Bulgaria. I was looking forward to living in the same town with another American. Since she was a TEFL volunteer at a school that has had a volunteer for the past 8 years, they are looking for someone to fill in. Twice a week now I am “Mr. Jim”, the computer teacher. I will be teaching a computer class to children ages 6 to 9. I have no idea how this is going to play out. I’ve never taught kids before, let alone in Bulgarian!

I’ve also had meetings with local doctors for potential project ideas and I have a meeting with the president of the youth parliament this afternoon. I really hope someone at this meeting speaks English…

To help with my integration to my new community, I’ve been attending what I thought were dance classes. I found out last night that it is actually dance practice for a dance team! I figured this out when I heard they were preforming tonight and went to the changing room and saw rows of traditional Bulgarian outfits! I was relieved to find out that I will not be preforming with them tonight. I am very bad but I’m sure after two years I’ll be much better.

The highlight of my week so far has been befriending a local baba who runs a vegetable stand. I was getting ingredients for my spaghetti one night and stopped for a tomato and an onion. She only charged me for the onion. I thanked her profusely. Now, whenever I walk past, I stop and chat with her. She is very pleased to hear that I am learning the horo (traditional Bulgarian dances).

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