On Wednesday I went to the school to teach the computer class. I was waiting in the teacher’s lounge when one of kindergarten teachers came in with a huge roll of bread and a jar of honey. She eagerly announced that her grandson had just learned to walk. The honey was poured into a bowl and we all took a piece of the bread, dipped it in the honey and then…ran out of the room. Bizarre, I know, but the whole ritual is highly symbolic. The honey represents a sweet life and the running out of the room is to wish he will grow up big and strong. I had initially heard of this tradition when a child is born, that people will walk down the street giving pieces of bread to people who then turn and run away so he may grow up strong and one day join the army. Though I was pleased to see that this grandmother was concerned about her newly mobile grandson growing strong. I’ll bet he doesn’t have to eat his veggies now.

Yesterday I got booted off my gravy train. When I teach at the school, the classes fall around lunch and I stroll there after I’m finished and enjoy a nice Bulgarian meal. The best part is, of course, it being free. Unfortunately for me, the school district has changed systems. Instead of everyone eating the same thing for lunch, students can now order what they want in advance (much like CLU’s Hot Off the Grill). I had been aware of this change, but it hadn’t been effecting me since some student had always been absent thus paying for my meal. Not so Thursday. The very kind cafeteria lady scrambled something together (I didn’t mean it to be a pun but it did happen to be an omelet). After lunch, I was informed that I would now have to pay under this new system. It’s not a big deal since the meals are cheap. What am I eating for the next three weeks?

26/03 Potato soup, french fries and two slices of bread

27/03 Chicken livers in rice (yum!) and two slices of bread

2/04 Two sausages and french fries

3/04 Spring Break ’08! (WHOOOO!…but still have to work at the municipality)

9/04 Potato soup and french fries (not sure how I chose this again, but without the bread)

10/04 Chicken livers in rice, two slices of bread and juice (have to mix it up somehow)

I’ll get more adventurous with the next three weeks. I will not, however, drink Aryan. Not a fan, especially after drinking it made from goat and sheep milk (two different times, not mixed)

It was after filling out these forms that I was invited to the teacher’s Spring party. However, since it was decided at the last minute, they couldn’t tell me where or when it would be. Just that it would be “tomorrow”. So this evening I received a message to meet at the Flamingo restaurant (that I live above). I met some of the teachers there and walked up the street to meet another teacher. There, we got further instructions on where to go. I felt like I was in a scavenger hunt. We went to a restaurant I’d never been to and it was really nice. I had a shopska salad and some beers. Shopska salad is mixed cucumbers and tomatoes under cirene cheese (much like feta, but stronger). It’s good stuff. I noticed that beer was cheaper than bottled water on the menu. Awesome.

Another reason I accepted dinner out tonight was because one of the other teacher’s son was going to be on the talent portion on the Slavi Show. Slavi’s counterpart in America would probably be Jay Leno. I watched some Bulgarian samurai do really dangerous things with katanas, like cut apples resting on someone’s neck. These swords could cut through a phone book with pressure alone. I know; he showed us. Straight afterwards, her son was on. The restaurant grew quiet, we were all fixed on the TV. What could he possible do, especially following two very non-Japanese people cutting up produce in bathrobes? Make farting noises. Yep, on national TV, he made flatulent noises with his armpits, ears, forehead and knees. It was quite impressive and no doubt took a lot of guts to do that on the most popular television show in the country. At any rate, Slavi was laughing so hard he almost fell out of his chair.

Tomorrow I’m going grocery shopping at the Billa in Plovdiv for burritos! I haven’t had a burrito in probably nine months or so. My brother and uncle brough tortillas and taco spices with them when they came to visit last week. I’ll try to find cilantro and avocados at the market. It’ll be even better because I’m making them with my site mate, her finance (a recent development!) and Cindy. I hope I’ll be able to fall asleep tonight with the excitement.


2 Responses to “Smörgåsbord”

  1. Thomas Says:

    if capitalizing on free lunches due to sick children isn’t peace corps, I don’t know what it.

  2. Tyler Wasson Says:

    “I had been aware of this change, but it hadn’t been effecting me since some student had always been absent thus paying for my meal.”

    I agree with Thomas! That’s incredibly Peace Corps! Why didn’t I think of stealing food from young Bulgarian kids! That surely has be PC goal number 4!

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