Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween in Bulgaria is kind of like 'Boxing Day' in America; a few people might know about it but no one really knows what it is about or would ever celebrate it. Unfortunetly for my well-being, Halloween is my favorite time of year and I am sorely lacking the haunted houses, ghoulish creatures and that one guy who still thinks it funny to be Borat. In an effort to bring some American culture to Kavarna, I had a pumpkin carving day, which was met with intrigue, excitement and enthusiasm. However, I tried to have one kid help me scoop out pumpkin guts and he looked ill, like he had just preformed an autopsy. So other than scooping out 13 pumpkins by myself, the children here all did a great job designing their pumpkins. And a local media outlet came to videotape the proceedings as well as interview the goofy american who came up with this idea. Unfortunetly, they decided to interview me when I was elbow deep in pumpkin and covered in orange ecto-plasam. I was told to hold a pumpkin the whole time, which just looked awkward. Plus I was interviewed in Bulgarian and as any B-24 PCV will atest to, my bulgarian language skills sound like a mix between mandarian and a computer.
I hope everyone else is having a great Halloween, filled with tons of candy, Halloween Oreos with the orange filling,...and monster fest on AMC, and Knott's Scary Farm,...and special Halloween episdoes of "Family Matters",...and cookies in the shape of a ghost or a bat, and,...well I should probably start there. Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Best Day of Work So Far

My busy task of googling my own name of suddenly interupted by the director of my children's complex calling out "Tu-bee-us, Tu-bee-us!" I jumped into action and raced down the hall to see what was a-foot. Turns out the door to her office is jammed and they hoped I could McCyver it open. Unfortunetly, my skills are not what they should be and I proposed going in through the window, which also yeilded little succes since the door still would not open. Out of ideas and frustrated at the door's poor craftsmanship, I felt defeated. As I was about to tuck my tail between my legs and meander back to gmail, when one of my co-workers looked at me and said "Schwarzenegger". She then proceed to make the international sign for 'kick the door down' and pointed to me. Not wanting to jump the gun, and not quite believing my life-long goal of breaking down a door was about to materialize, all I could muster was a faint "kakvo?" (which means "what" in bulgarian). Then my co-worker said "Seagal, Stallone" and kept making a kicking motion. This was it; I was in. Two kicks later and BAM, that door went down like Liston in the 8th. And for the record, this is a true story, and I may or may not have muttered a "yippie-ki-yay".

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

While I have the opportunity, and the proper internet connection, here is a few pictures of my journey this far, plus, my long lost son.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I live next to a 30 foot mural of Billy Idol

If the subject line to this email isn't enough to garner your
interest,...then I guess 80's rock just isn't your thing. Swearing in
was on thursday, and it was amazing. Amazing and incredibley,
cripplingly, agonizingly nervracking. I gave the speech during the
ceremony, which by itself is no big deal; However to throw fuel to the
fire, I had to give the speech in my native tougne and my not so
native tougne, Bulgarian. AND the day
before my language trainer informs me that 7 news stations have been
invited, with the biggest (BTV) definetly attending. True Story;
after we have just taken a group picture, my languge trainer tells me
(and this is almost verbatum) "Don't worry about the BTV camera a few
feet in front of you. Really, its not that big of deal". I managed
to pull it off and even had a few tears in the audience (surely from
my emotion words, not my butchering of the english language). The US
Ambassador was very friendly, and when I get around to it, I will send
you the picture I have with her.
After a fun night in the capital city and a not-that-bad hostel
stay, it was off to my future life in Kavarna. My new apartment is
sweet. Its on the 5th floor, or as I will tell everyone "the
penthouse sweet". I live in a studio, with a good sized bathroom,
couch and bed, and a kitchen with tables and couch. Plus I have a
balcony, with came with a kitten who is one of three friends I have in
Kavarna. I have named him Special Agent Jack Bauer and he loves gasoline.
Life here is nice so far, but I have gone through my Simpson's
dvd's pretty quick. My landlord's daughter, who speaks a little
english and therefore always comes with my landlord to talk to me,
told me her favorite country is California. I thought that was nice.
There is a ton of nice restaurant's here. My personal favorite is
"Kakadu". Think of a Bulgarian CPK (plasma tvs, cool artwork and good
pizza). Went there my first night to watch the big game. Bulgaria
vs. Italy of course. Ordered a salad, awesome pasta, and two beers.
I thought I went overboard considering I'm on a fixed budget but when
the bill came, I owed 11 dollars. What a country.
To wrap this up, on my first day of work, I am told there is a
"Scout" meeting on friday and if I could lead it. I asked what I
should do and was told it was Scouts. And then I was given a Boy
Scouts book which was clearly written before Carter was in office. I
will let you all know how this goes.
-Tobias "With A Rebel Yell" Hewitt

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Long and Endless Road

10 weeks so soon? As I write this I have but 3 short days left in the busy world of village life. I will be departing my host family, and all the comforting emenities such as a washing machine, food, and lively conversation (or watching Survivor: Bulgaria during dinner). My Bulgarian language training has also drawn to a close but believe me when I say it will never really end. I have my final test on monday to see if I can actually comprehend this language. I have to place in the intermediate- low category. I see myself as more of a novice-advanced but time will tell. With the onslaught of winter set to hit Bulgaria way to soon, I've been working more and more with my host families winter food preparations aka picking an ungodly amount of potatoes. I've really started to get the hang of it, but thats probably because I am always given the most basic, rudamentary task. ("Tobias, can you pick up this and put it over there?").
Harvesting aside, I have been chosen by my fellow peace corps volunteers to give a speech at our swearing-in ceremony. Big honor and I will not dissapoint....until I found out I have to give my speech in english AND Bulgarian. Good times to come. My group's community project was designing a mural, incorporating a "welcome to...", the map of Bulgarian, the EU logo and the town's crest. Kids from the town helped to paint it and we also had face-painting, trash-pick up, introduction to the musical styling's of Jay-Z and lessons on how to throw a football. All-in-all a very successful day. So successful, the local news channel (Rilia) came to interview us. It was close to 50 degrees at the time but I felt compelled to wear my go-ing away present. Yes, it is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt that says "Say Yes to Pizza, Not Drugs" but I believe the youth of Bulgarian need to know where I stand on narcotics and delicious entres.
As I wrap this up, I would like to give a special shout out to an awesome person: Miss Emily Harper. All of Bulgaria is thinking about you (well, just the part of Bulgaria that went to Santa Margarita High School) and wishes you a speedy recovery!