Archive for August, 2008

Back!

28 August, 2008

I’m back in Bulgaria from my annual leave in Austria and Slovenia as well as Peace Corps related work. I’ll post photos and stories when I get some free time. Stay tuned!

Vacation!

14 August, 2008

I’m going to be on annual leave to Austria and Slovenia so there won’t be any posts for a while. I’ll be sure to post lots of photos when I get back.

What I’m reading

14 August, 2008

The Belgravia Dispatch: McCain: Let’s Compound the Blunder!

I stumbled across this analysis of the Georgian Crisis. It’s some of the best stuff I’ve seen written on the current situation and our presidential candidates’ response to it. Most notably, McCain’s sorely misguided and ham-fisted response. I highly recommend you read it.

[…]if the horrors inflicted on varied Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians this past week (by both sides) must be seen from these provincial, grossly self-interested shores merely through the lens of the U.S. Presidential election, let me chime in very briefly within these contours. Regarding the 3 AM sweepstakes, Obama has taken it by a mile (if his Pavlovian movements to ‘sound tougher’ after his initial statement were a bit underwhelming, and sadly predictable). Witness this incredibly poor reasoning by McCain, jaw-dropping even by the standards of the mammoth policy ineptitude we’ve become accustomed to during the reign of Bush 43 and his motley crew of national security miscreants.

[…]

[Senator McCain is ] An honorable man who served his country well, it is clear his time has past and his grasp on the most basic foreign policy calls we’ll need to make in the coming years is very tentative indeed. He’ll be surrounded by second-tier ‘yes-man’ realists and residual neo-con swill, few with any ideas worth pursuing if we mean to take the national interest seriously with sobriety and freshness of perspective. So let us help him exit off-stage gracefully, as he served his country with dignity when called upon, but let us not sacrifice our children’s future to ignorants with deludely romantic notions of empire. Been there, done that. Indeed, we have a President who has announced a pre-emptive doctrine which allows us to, willy-nilly, instigate regime change when and where we deem appropriate. Who are we to lecture Putin now? What standing do we have to do so? And what parochial and self-satisfied myopia has us indignantly thinking we are some unimpeachable arbitrer of right and wrong in the international system after the disastrous missteps of the past eight sordid years?

Update

13 August, 2008

I haven’t been keeping this blog up-to-date as I should have. And the entries I have posted have been excerpts from Bulgarian news. It’s been a combination of not doing anything really interesting and pure laziness (mostly the latter). So this will catch you up to speed:

I was recently asked to be a resource volunteer. These volunteers assist the Peace Corps Trainees (who arrived in Bulgaria late last month). This means someone somewhere thinks I’m doing a good enough job to be an authority on such things. Last week I went to the mountain resort of Panichishte, where my initial orientation was. I gave a presentation on how to integrate into a Bulgarian community with another PCV. It felt very strange being on the other side of things (and it also felt really good! I’m so thankful I don’t have to go through that whole process again). It was an eye opener to see how far I’ve come in a year. Our presentation had some Bulgarian words in it we subconsciously used and we were later told that most of the PCTs didn’t know them! That made me realize how much Bulgarian I have learned and can use on a daily basis.

That evening I was peppered with all kinds of questions ranging from life in Bulgaria, what my job is like, Bulgarian words and pronunciation and Peace Corps policy. I didn’t consider myself an expert but then again, I’ve been in Bulgaria for over a year and they arrived only 3 days prior. It was a strange feeling. The following day I, along with the other resource volunteers, gave a presentation on what it’s like within our respective programs. Each resource volunteer is assigned to a training site. I was given Rila, where I spent my training. I look forward to going back there and seeing my host family again.

I’ve been working on a few projects. However, it’s been pretty difficult since most Bulgarians go on vacation in August since it’s towards the end of the tourist season. One of my co-workers is going on a (much deserved) three week vacation. This has left the rest of us without much to do. And since the teacher I’ve been working on a project to get playground equipment is also on vacation, this has left me with my English group and studying Bulgarian. Things will definitely pick up once the school year starts on September 15th (I’m really looking forward to that). Since Bulgaria has lost most of it’s EU funding and PHARE has been suspended, the Department of External Resources (where I work) won’t be having much work to do. I’ll be working more closely with the school where I’ve been teaching a computer class and will teach kindergarten English.

I will be going on vacation starting tomorrow to Austria and Slovenia. I’ll be back in Bulgaria next week but I have some training stuff to do as a resource volunteer. So it’ll be a while for my next entry. But you can be sure it will be full of photos from my vacation. That’s more or less it.

Photo of the Day

5 August, 2008


Women run on high heels during the Stiletto Run competition in central Sofia. The competitors had to run 50 metres on heels of at least 9cm. The winner received 1500 euros as a prize.
Via the Baltimore Sun

What I’m Reading

4 August, 2008

From Novinite: Bulgarian Abbot Shots at Laymen

The abbot of Bulgaria’s Glozhene Monastery, Jeromonk Pankratiy, set the cloister on fire twice on Sunday night after shooting at several visitors.

The atrocities began after a quarrel between Pankratiy and a group of laymen, which drove the priest mad enough to start shooting at them with a gas pistol shortly after midnight.

Few minutes later, the priest went to the monastery’s vestry, set it on fire and run away by his own jeep, which was also burnt in the area of Predela.

Meanwhile, firefighters from the services in Teteven and Yablanitsa managed to extinguish the flames but abbot Pankratyi returned at 6 a.m. and set fire to the vestry once again.

Then he tried to hide but police officers found him after a long search.

The abbot was arrested for 24 hours. He however had to be transported to a hospital in the town of Lovech as his right hand hurt and doctors assumed it could have been broken.

Again: Sometimes I don’t know what to think.