Thursday, May 28, 2009


Oops, I ate again.
(Get it? Like Britney Spears.)

(And a long entry)

I’m lying in bed watching “The Hills” on MTV with no subtitles. This show is definitely just as terrible as I remembered. Too bad it’s the only channel coming in upstairs right now. (I seem to lose more channels every day.) There are many more channels downstairs. For instance – I watched “Friends”, “8 Simple rules” and “ER” today with subtitles. The interesting thing is that they seem to edit these shows down to 15 or so minutes each. Not sure how long ER was because I stopped watching/listening. Emi (“mom”) was out in the “gradina” (garden) and tending to the chickens. I asked if I could help but she just said “Ne, ne, ne.” So I watched tv instead. I did hold a 5 day old chicken though. Making progress.

Anyways – I did not start writing to let everyone know how bad “The Hills” is. We started Bulgarski classes today at the town hall. We met with the “kmet” (mayor) and talked to him about the needs of our village. While we spend the next two months here we’re supposed to work on a small scale project that involves the community. I supposed our Bulgarski lessons were “dobre” (good) it just felt like my head would explode after. Hopefully one day I’ll remember all the things I’m learning! 

So I get home and Emi asks if I’m hungry. “Da”, I say. It was “cesh chaca” (6 o’clock). She puts lots and lots of food in front of me so we eat and try to talk. I have her write down a lot of food names in my journal. At some point I understand the question, “Haide na razhodka?” (Do you want to go for a walk?) Again, “Da. V kolko chaca?” (Yes. At what time?) Emi says, “Ocem.” (8 o’clock). At around 815 we leave for our walk and go to her friends house. (But not before she makes me put on a jacket. It was probably around 80 or 85 degrees. Either way, I happily put on a jacket.) We’re only there a couple of minutes and during this time I can understand they’re having a conversation about “internet” and “skype.” (Keywords… gotta focus on keywords.) “Ne internet” and we leave. Then we walk to another house. They apparently have internet and we go inside. I get online, get to G-chat with Carrie Jo and Lyndsey (yay!), check email/facebook and we leave. “Tomorrow,” *points at house* “internet. Tomorrow, kushta, internet.” “Da, dobre,” I say. (Kushta = house; dobre = ok/good.)

So we leave and walk back to the other house. It’s probably about 930 or so by this time. Go into their gradina where they have music playing and food set up on the table. And here it is… the infamous 10pm dinners I’ve been hearing about. The people were great – their names I don’t remember. (Dad, I understand your pain.) And again… I eat. Cucumbers, tomatoes, sausage, “ne pile” (not chicken… another meat that was lamb, maybe?), cheese and bread. (No bread for me this meal.) It was a lot of fun although I had no idea what they were saying. We laughed a lot and there was a lot more smiling on my part. If I can’t understand what they’re saying about/to me, I can at least try to look pretty!

We did manage to discuss the fact that I do not have a boyfriend in the USA and that I’m 24. They wanted to know what my family did so the following are there new job titles:
Dad – Computers
Mom – Home
Lyndsey/New York – Actress or something of the like
Catherine /Arizona – You never really got a job… how do you say “admissions” in BG?
Philip - University

The home we were at tonight was beautiful! A lush garden with a fountain, covered patio, outside grilling area and lots of fridges and tables. So nice I actually asked if it was a “kafe.” It is not. Just very pretty. Turns out the man is in charge of the chicken factory in the village. I’m assuming he’s in charge because Emi told me he was “Pile President.” (Chicken President). It was hilarious. (‘Pile’ is pronounced pee-lay).

So the “healthy” walk I was going for turned out to be more eating. Not exactly what I was going for. Oh well.

Now time to go to sleep with the not-so-sweet sound of dogs barking (all night long, might I add) outside my window.

*My Bulgarian words might be wrong grammatically. I’m often confused but I’m practicing!

Jeffrey's in DC!

The view from the hotel balcony with Charlie the Caterpillar. (From McKamy Elementary)

View from the Panichishte hotel

Texas Love -- 2 Dallas, 1 Austin

A group of business volunteers in Vratsa


Lauren said...

Aww VV, I can't believe you're actually there! I really enjoy your journal entries. So when they said tomorrow + internet does that mean you'll have internet in your home? Eating tomatoes? BLECH! Who are you!!??? Love youuu

vicki said...

Great photos, and I am glad the Bulgarski classes are succeeding. Seems like you are getting the keywords down! Does Mr. Pile Pres. need help at the office? Maybe they've got internet at the Chicken Plant. My diet advice: Yes to cucumbers;no to bread. You can't go wrong with that. Can't wait til you can call thru your lap top!

vicki said...

I mean "ne" to bread...makes all the difference

Brandon and Andrea said...

Love the blog! Keep working on your language and you'll get it eventually! Sounds like you're doing good so far!

Lyndsey said...

Dobre! First time anyone has called me an actress since 8th grade! (ps...does Emi want any NY souveniers? the PC website says you're supposed to give your host family presents from where you're from! I've been reading!)

Catherine said...

So conditioner huh??? Has your hair already gotten nasty? :) Ne to Bread is right! And it is sad that I am the only one with out a title. Did you at least tell them I was married so I had something going for me...I mean really! LOVEVVVVVEEEE YOUR GUTS!!!!!! Say that in Bulgarski 3 times fast!

Carrie Jo Howard said...

OHHHH how i LOVE your updates!! I'm looking forward to the convo you have with your host family about your crazy friends back home. haha. I love you and I'm so glad things are going well! Constant prayers being said for you over here!!

Emily said...

I love you Val and am so excited to get a small peek into your overseas adventures! Keep up the fabulous work, be your beautiful self, and know that I am praying for you!


Jacci said...

yayyyyyyy for an update! i love seeing what you're actually doing because i've been so curious about what it looks like! i love you so much and i think you should just embrace the 10:00 meals. i would :) praying for you little girl!

Jan Kelley said...

What a great start. Seeing Sam and family. Then on to the language-acquisition voyage. Hopefully you will arrive at you end destination of fluency in a good time frame.

I cant imagine....a whole new language that doesnt even use our alphabet.....but i know you are up to it.

i am so very proud of you and your desire to do this and your following through with such a grand adventure. love you. jj