Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seriously, I need to do this more often.

So, it has been a while since I have updated this thing. I would say not much has happened but you would all kill me...and that would make me a huge huge huge liar. I think my last real update was in the beginning of November. I guess the next major thing that I did was a Thanksgiving. We'll start there.

Thanksgiving was awesome and tiring at the same time. First I made pumpkin pie from scratch. That took nearly an entire afternoon...plus I had to learn how to make pie crust...and pumpkin puree. Whew, that was some work. But it came out very tasty. And for those of you who know this, I do not like pumpkin pie. I had some activities for the kids at the kindergarten but nothing for the kids at the primary school. That is a funny story which I will get into after this one. So, after I finished running around my town giving out pieces of pumpkin pie I packed for about a week worth of travel and projects.

The next morning (actual Thanksgiving day) I headed off to help Whitney get ready for a huge thanksgiving dinner she was planning. It was huge dinner, we fed about 40 people. We cooked 3 turkeys (approximately 15 kilos or 30ish pounds) about 2 kilos (about 4 pounds) of apples, 2 kilos (about 4 pounds) of pumpkins, about 4 kilos (about 8 pounds) of potatoes, and 2 kilos (about 4 pounds), plus a bunch of other things that I didn't get a chance to measure. It was a lot of food. Plus we had to use two different kitchens...which were on opposite ends of town. We thought we could cook everything in one kitchen because there were three ovens there. What we didn't know was that only one oven worked. Luckily, it was big enough to fit all three turkeys so then we lugged a third of the food back across town to Whitney's house. And, for those of you who are not familiar with Whitney's town is basically built into a hillside. So, there is about a 100+ meter elevation change plus about half a kilometer lateral distance between the first kitchen and her kitchen. People must have thought we lost our minds. But when all was said and done we got it all cooked and everyone was served. Not everything was hot because I ended having to wait for about 45 minutes for the van to show up to take me to the actual dinning hall which wasn't near either kitchen (I couldn't carry everything and I had no idea where it was). After everything got eaten (seriously, no leftovers) Whitney and I did dishes until about 10:30 or so in the evening.

The next day we headed to Amber's place to prep there for Thanksgiving with other volunteers. We were supposed to go to an orphanage in a nearby town to teach about Thanksgiving there but that ended up being moved to the next week due to bureaucratic issues. We had a nice chill day. And then the next day was Volunteer Thanksgiving which had volunteers showing up all day. Also, Amber only has a small oven and 1 (yeah, one) burner on which to cook. So, that was some very well managed kitchen time. It was a very lovely Thanksgiving. Well, everything except the hauling of 5 cubits of wood to here fifth story balcony. Which, wasn't too bad because we had a decent amount of people to help, but still took a long time—and we didn't even finish. Then we all passed out watching it's a wonderful life.

Alright, the next few days were spent in Plovdiv for IST (In-Service Training) which involved a lot of late nights and early morning. Didn't think I still that in me after college. Craziness that I don't think I should get into here. Nothing too bad just excessive drinking and partying. But what can you expect from us? This was the first time we'd seen each other in over 3 months. I expect similar things when I head back to the states.

So, IST was for 3 days. I got back to my site late and did not stay long. I basically got a quick hi from some people, taught 2 English classes and then was back on the road. This time I went to Chiprovtsi in Northwest Bulgaria for a carpet weaving weekend. It was my first time to experience (first hand) a cultural tourist activity. It was interesting to see how to market such activities. Despite the weather it was tons of fun. I weaved a bookmark size piece of carpet, got to hang out with some B25s whom I don't see often and had a good learning experience. Lets see...I left on Thanksgiving, came back for a day on the 2nd of Dec. then left again on 3rd and got back from that on the 6th. A lot of traveling, working, hanging out. Can't complain about that at all.

Between then and Christmas not much happened. I tried to develop a schedule for myself only to have that obliterated by the Christmas/New Years holiday blitz.
For Christmas Whitney's family came to Bulgaria. They came and visited here on the 23rd and I went with them to Cameron's town for Christmas. It was really fun. They are awesome people and brought me cooking supplies (!) and coffee (YAY!) for Christmas. We didn't do much. Did a little hiking, ate a lot of food. Drank some drinks. Went to church. But it was mostly chill. We were there for the weekend and then I went home. I spend the couple of days before New Year's eve working on a few things but mostly preparing to have a guest for the New Year's weekend. My buddy Ben came to visit me for the New Years weekend. The New Years eve was a bit crazy. We, by accident, had 3 dinners, and “party” hopped. Which I do not think that is normal in Bulgaria. At midnight the entire town lit up with fireworks. It was really spectacular. Then we went to the Disco and watched the amazing display of drinking prowess. The next day Ben and I hiked to Greek border and back. It wasn't as far or hard as I expected. We left around 11:30 and were back by 4 or 5. Then we visited Whitney. He left on the Monday morning bus. Nothing too exciting. Just good times.

January 2nd came and went without a fuss. It has been nine years now. I feel a little bad for being here for the 10th anniversary but, what can you do? I had written something different here but figured that would be best to just leave it that.
Well, that is all for my life. Hope you all had a safe and merry holiday season.

1 comment:

  1. dude, Ryan! hope you can update again sometime. how many more months of service do you have to go (i'm aware this number will change by the time you get a chance to reply)?

    anyhoo, i'm glad to read that you have plenty of time to do fun stuff and really experience the culture in Bulgaria--makes me feel better about my boyfriend being away in Georgia. he's going into his third week of service and is not sure when or if things will cease feeling completely surreal. he says the culture in Georgia is very Medieval, like it hasn't changed in a thousand years, and i imagine it's similar where you are.

    man, i am just proud to know TWO people who are doing cool stuff in the Peace Corps. and jealous!! take care :)