Yesterday and part of today

I have several up dates. Where to begin?

As I noted in my last post, I’ve had more problems with my leaky ceiling in my kitchen. Namely, it leaks. I had a conversation with my colleague who has been talking with the PC about it. She hinted that if it can’t get fixed or too expensive to fix, the PC may force me to move. I do not what this to happen! I love my apartment and its location! I live close to the train station, above a restaurant (run by the husband of a teacher I work with) and across from a very generous baba and diayado. My land lady came to check it out and yesterday the municipal electrician came to check the electrical sockets in the wall. He’s a very nice man and talked about his love of the Beatles and American rock. He told me all about his son who is studying at the University of Sofia as he tested the sockets. He declared one socket unsafe to use but fixed another one. However, when I use the toaster or washer, it still turns on my kitchen light. As he prepared to leave, the conversation followed a familiar path; the stagnate wages and inflating prices of necessities. He told me he hoped to retire in the next two years, but wasn’t sure. I bid him fare well, took care of some business around my apartment and then set out to teach computer class.

Class went off without a hitch. It’s been a great working with these kids (1st through 4th grade). I never tire of hearing “Alo mister Jim!” However, they frequently forget the “t” and call me “miss Jim”.

I then went to work and tried to sort out the brackets and final details for the tournament. I had tutoring yesterday and I forgot one of my text books in my apartment. I left a little bit early to fetch it and to go to the ATM to pay my tutor. While I was withdrawing money, one of the Roma kids who hangs around came up to me and asked me for some money. Usually I’ve just had a passing conversation with him that ends with him begging for food or money. I gave him some change and he eagerly ran inside the store. I thought nothing of it and headed to my apartment to get my books. As I was walking to my tutor’s apartment, he found me and came running towards me. He thanked me for the money and introduced himself, Ivan. Ivan asked me where I was going and I told him I was going to see my tutor because I want to speak Bulgarian better. He asked me where she lived so I told him that she lived in an apartment. He followed me and waited outside with me. My tutor was a little surprised to see me with a 7 year old-ish boy. He asked her for food and tried to come inside. I was starting to regret having given him any money to begin with. My tutor obliged and made him a simple sandwich. He then asked for some books because he wanted to learn. My tutor told him that he needs to go to school. I had my lesson but was worried that Ivan would be waiting outside for me, asking for more food and money. My tutor told me to be careful about giving money beggars and make sure that they don’t know where I live. Thankfully he wasn’t and I don’t believe he knows where I live.

Last night I started to clean my apartment for the copious amounts of PCVs who will be in Chirpan today. My internet was fickle so I baked some cookies to give to baba and the PCVs. For some reason they didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped. The quality of ingredients can be hit or miss! With a clean apartment, I went to bed early. I had an early meeting to sort out more tournament details.

I walked to work this morning and I gave baba an ice cream container full of cookies. She was thrilled! She asked me what the occasion was for. I told her it was for nothing (though my ulterior motive is to get invited to na gosti! Na gosti (на гости) is like a dinner party, where you spend the evening enjoying each other’s company. There’s usually a long meal and lots of drinking). I told her that there would be lots of PCVs coming into town this weekend for the tournament. I think she’s looking forward to meeting them, and especially to see Cindy again!

I headed to work. When I reached the city plaza, Ivan saw me and tore across the center to greet me. His first thing he told me was that he was hungry and wanted food or money. I told him “Давах те пари вчера. Не съм благотворителност. Моля, тръгва ми сам.” (I gave you money yesterday. I am not a charity. Please leave me alone). That didn’t stop him from asking again. I repeated it and told him that I had to go to work. Alone. I later told my colleagues about the whole thing and that I thought I had opened a can of worms. (Мисля, че съм слагал си таралеж в гащите!)

I had my meeting with Zjelo, the “sport minister” and nailed down the timeline for the tournament. Registration at 9am, speechs by the mayor and the director of the center at 9:40, friendly match between the Municipality and PCVs (read:total annihilation of the Americans at the hands of the Bulgarians) from 10 to 10:30 and the tournament starting at 11. We’ll be sorting out the brackets tomorrow morning. Now I’m just sitting I the office, shooting the breeze with my colleagues and waiting for the B-22s to trickle in. The first one, Derick, will arrive at 14:30. Before then, I have a meeting with my tutor about the tournament with Zjelo. I’m really looking forward to this tournament! The weather tomorrow will be 78/57, slightly cloudy and 20% chance of percipitation. Couldn’t ask for better weather!

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