Monday, August 4, 2008
First Couple Days
Upon landing in Sofia, the reality of 27 months became a little more vivid in my mind, but the countless American billboards dotting the airport created a strange sense of "am I really in Bulgaria, or did John Wayne Airport have a few retrogrades?" Our entire group was whisked away to a mountain retreat about an hour away from Sofia, and this place was magnificent. Retoric and rules were counter-balanced with excellent buffets and goregous hikes (so goregous that I broke my rainbow sandals trying to scale a mountain which was dotted by an abandoned chair-lift). Bonding took part largely around the ping-pong table or the bar (end record 11-1 and 2 beers) and I can say with confidence and earnst that this group is amazing. Everyone brings something new and exciting the B-24's and will make for a fun-filled 2 years. Also, in between Anchorman quotes and Mitch Hedberg jokes, the painful process of Bulgarian language lessons began. Luckily all the teachers here are incredibley friendly and very good at what they do. Patience will be key. The culmination of the "all-too-brief" training was a formal dinner complete with a Bulgarian dance troop as the entertainment. We were invited to learn a few dances before the evening, but nothing could prepare us for just how good these dancers are. Men and women in exact formations with close to 20 minute dance numbers. Good stuff. All the Peace Corps volunteers were invited to join afterwards and the video I have is mostly guys looking really intense and counting dance steps in their head. Not exactly Step Up 3: The Bulgarian Way. After about an hour, a change of music was needed and I was all too happy to fill this request. Rhiana, JT, Flo Rida and Kanye (courtesy of Jessica) blasted. I danced a little bit in front of everyone, and for some odd reason the Bulgarians loved it. A family that happened to be staying in the resort were going insane according to fellow PCV's, and the crowning moment of the entire night was a member of the Bulgarian Dance Troop coming over to me afterwards, handing me a beer and saying the equivalent of "good job". American/ Bulgarian intergration has begun.