Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Like football and hot-wings

Once in a great while, there is a convergence of everything you love in life. This is a delicate task because far too often the combinations just don't come out right (example: putting peanut butter AND jelly in the same jar...gross). But like the mythical summer blockbuster that makes a ton of money AND critics love, there is a few fleeting moments where a beam of light shines down on us. I refer of course to the following:

Will Ferrell + Bear Gryls = Awesome town

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Toe-bee-us: A Look Back

Well folks, the clock continues to tick and the days fly by. If you were about to say "Hey, haven't you been in Bulgaria exactly 10 months" you would be correct. Sure doesn't seem like I've spent the better part of a year abroad, in the land of,...well,...I'm not sure,..."goat's milk"? Either way, I thought it would be interesting to see my evolution over the course of these last 10 months, because hitting double digits is way more important than the year mark (take that every news story ever)

Oh Panichishte...I was like a young fawn...skating on ice,...with ball-bearings,...and axle grease,...and the fawn isn't particularly coordinated to begin with.

So full of hope, optimism, and low alcohol tolerance

Social integration at its finest (My host dad is a hustler; says he has never heard of American drinking games...lies!)

"Let me tell you about my best friend..."

Found my biological son...still won't talk to me

Site Placement Day: agony, ecstasy, fear, kindergarten flashbacks

Wearing a tie instantly makes you important,...or a Peace Corps Volunteer

I started to move up in society, which translated to sitting in the mayor's desk when he was away

Then the winter hit,...

Was mistaken for Kurt Cobain on New Year's

Joined a Christian Rock Band

And that about sums it up: I like dogs, people and cold weather makes me grow a handle bar mustache.

Hope all is well across the pond. And to those you have just arrived in the land of Banitsa, Rikia, and Dimitar Berbatov....the good times have only just begun.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Basketball: Amazing game played across countless courts across America
Soccer: Amazing game played across countless fields all over the world

Both utilize agility, footwork, hand-eye coordination, teamwork and skill

...yet when you take a group of soccer players and try to teach them basketball, disastorous (sometimes humorous) results take place.

I've been playing basketball after school for about three weeks now, and every day I usually have a following of about 7-9 kids, which usually balloons to 15 by the time the game is over. Most of these kids are devoted followers of the worldwide religion known as "FUTBOL!!!", but they are eager to try there hand at basketball...yet that can't quite seem to grasp a new sport without holding onto the old one.

Example #1) The idea of defense. 8 kids swarm for the ball, throwing everything from elbows to ankles into the fray. Yet, as soon as the ball is free from this scrum of commotion, they all give up, letting the lone warrior standing quard take on 4 or 5 people coming at him full speed.

Example #2) Breaks. I know this is not a fluke, or happenstance due to one of two people. This happpens EVERY game. Someone scores a basket, or steals the ball, and whoever the point guard or "play maker" as it is known over here, will just crouch down when he doesn't have the ball anymore. Literally. No defense, or help your team out; just taking a breather at mid-court.

Example #3) Celebrations. Unlike the single-digit world of soccer, basketball likes its scores to be in the teens, twenties or dare I say triple digit range. So scoring a basket can be somewhat of a nonevent due to the regularity with which it occurs. Not so. Every basket either team scores results in a full team celebration, at which point the other team runs past and scores a basket, and the celebrations begin again, only to usher in another un-guarded attack. I've been slowly working on the high five and other such celebrations which can keep the momentum of the game going.

Example #4) Faking. I've seen my share of divers in the premiership or Seria A, and it has clearly polluted the youth of Bulgaria. One kid dribbled, then accidently dribbled on his foot, only to curl into a ball, yelling for a foul...didn't really understand all that was happening (and 3 seconds later he took the ball the entire length of the court).

Example #5) The one kid who starts dribbling the ball with his feet,...well, I guess you get the idea by now.

But no matter how the game is played or what influences they carry to the court, its been a blast playing. This fall I am supposedly going to be in charge of an actual team at the high school. So, when that day comes, I got hoop dreams,...and I got 'em bad.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gone Puppy, Gone

My life was filled with joy for exactly 47 days. I was blessed with four of the greatest friends a person could ever ask for. They never wanted anything from me other than a pat on the head, and a scratch behind the ear. Every time I saw them, they would all jump up and down, making my life infinitely better. These were my boys; my crew, my peeps, my homies. I even had the privilage of naming them. I took each name to heart. There was Luke, Seth, Sandy and Ryan. Each one had a special persona that shined every time they wagged there tail. I truly loved these little bundles of fur and joy. But tonight, they are gone. The last puppy (Seth, my favorite) has found a new home. I know they will all go on to lead fufilling, rich lives. Ryan might even go to med school like he always dreamed about, and I see pro ball in Sandy's future. Who knows, maybe Luke will ask out the dog from across the street. The world is full of possibiliites at this point. All I know for certain is how much I loved these guys and how much they will be missed.

Dolph the Tour Guide

"Hey, Tobias, what's it like over there?"

Great question hypothetical person.

The answer lies in this clip

This straight to DVD action extravaganza starts ultimate Communist badass Ivan Durago aka Dolph Lungren. The film is about something (I wasn't really paying attention) but he entire movie was filmed right here in Bulgaria.

You get a peak at old communist style blocs, the capital city and at the 0:35 mark you get a nice view of the Nemski cathedral...and Dolph Lungren is the prototypical Bulgaria...if this were Russia, no, he is not Bulgarian. Forget that last sentence completely.

Hope this clears things up.


My friend sent me this link. This is Buglaria movie production at its finest


Thanks to the beauty and eternal mystery of Bulgarian music tastes, I had the pleasure of hearing the following songs on my short walk to work (all through the magic of outdoor cafes)

1). "We Are The World"-Every Famous Person from the 80's (Fun Fact: Even Dan Akroyd!)

2). Friend's Theme- by,...ah,...the band whose only song is the 'Friend's Theme'

3). "Ayo Technology" Remix- You would assume Diddy is behind this one, but oh no,...oh no. I heard a remix involving a whinny voiced Buglarian accompanied by a guitar and a beat straight out of 1994. I will search to the ends of the Earth to find it.

4). "Thong Song"- Yep,...yep.

5). "Back in Black"- The greatest band ever,...according to everyone in a 50 mile radius.

Not even XM/Sirius can provide the variety supplied here.

Hope all is well across the homeland and abroad (Shout out to Bangalore)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Luftansa airlines is sweet


Now:...well,...kind of...

D-Day,..Judgement Day,,...Day of Reckoning,...Day "WhereSomethingImportantIsAboutToHappen". A new group of eager, enthusiastic, possibly scared volunteers is about to embark on the great journey known as 'Peace Corps Bulgaria'. I've changed significantly since my wide-eyed trip from Washington D.C. to Sofia, Bulgaria and with a new group arriving,...I feel like the intern who finally got a really desk and doesn't have to get coffee any more. Might be the over-abundance of "Scrubs" reruns in my life, or might be a job that is starting to take shape; both in activities and fufillment. And like JD on Scrubs, I'm excited to meet the newbies. I can't wait to tell someone "No, she's not mad at you; that's how you tell someone to come over in Bulgaria" and "Its rikyia,...go tastes like pure gasoline". Can't wait.

So in conclusion, I can not find the following items in Bulgaria, and if you have them lying around, do me a solid, and stuff them into your already crammed suitcases:

Comic books- I have a comic book club at my work, and like taco bell, comics are non-existent here. Anything is acceptable...even Archie comics.

Film Magazines- I also have a film club and with a limited Bulgarian vocabulary, it's tricky to describe a movie without pictures or images.

Spice Packets- taco seasoning, fajita mix, etc

Any books, brochures, cocktail napkins, or sticky notes pertaining to: Yoga, American Football, environment/nature or music will go miles at my work.

Thanks a ton everybody.

I wish you all smooth sailing and a pleasant journey. Bolivia, here y-,...Bulgaria here you come!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the people that make Peace Corps a blast and so devastatingly heartbreaking. I want to give a giant shout out to the people who tuck us in at night and wake us up (usually against a forceful amount of struggling). I speak of course about the wonderful, super-duper, fantastic, always comforting, omniscent, super-beings known throughout the land as 'mothers'. So I this mother's day, I wanted to say a little something to the women who make our lives a little easier, ask a few more questions then necessary about our significant others, and never fail to cure us on a sick day.

I wanted to speak about all mom's, but unfortunetly for the un-biased nature of "Its' Always Sunny in Bulgaria", I can only truthfully speak about a certain 'Momma Hewitt', aka my mom. (However, I will try my best to cultivate this entry from the wealth of wonderful mothers I have encountered). From the time I was small enough to hid behind your leg in times of fear or anxiety, to when reading was a complex challenge and Dr. Seuss the arena of competition, to successive first days of school, from pre-school to senior year, even to hours before a prom or homecoming when I was reassured "you look so handsome", to band-aids applied with a surgeons precision, to school plays with one spectator clapping just a little louder than anyone, to thoughtful emails about how the weather is in America and how that crazy language called Bulgarian is working out, to nearly cracking my sternum with a goodbye hug at Seattle International Airport.... ...there remained one constant: the ever present love and affection of my mom.

From the east coast to the west coast and everywhere up, down, left, right, or above,...Happy Mother's Day! (You deserve it)

Friday, May 8, 2009

King Conan-...youbelievethisisactuallyhappening?

Hey Sports fans-

Per my normal morning routine, I get up just a smidge after 10:30, fire up the skillet, and turn on my trusty Macbook. Beyond the usual box-scores of sporting events which I will never again see live, I peruse a few film websites to keep up-to-date on whats going on in Hollywood (and sometimes Bollywood). Today, was unlike any other. I scroll day "" to discover a savory piece of info on the forever in production "Conan the Barbarian" remake (its not a sequel, its not a prequel or even a re-imagining!) and this sentence hit me like,...well,...something heavy that causes damage:

[From Producer Joe Gatta]
"We have a potential start-date on Conan of August 24. And we’ll be shooting in Bulgaria. I would say though the emphasis is on Conan [rather than Red Sonja]. It’s our crown jewel here at the company and that will be the leader. Red Sonja probably won’t happen until next year, as far as making it goes. So we want to launch Conan and reinvent the franchise."


A few minutes later and I even found out the potential film studio. This is big....very, big. And just to summarize the last nine months of my life, and for those of your keeping track at home:

The Best Way to:

Meet Motely Crue
Have potential access to a major Hollywood blockbuster
Sit court-side at a Basketball All-Star game by joining Peace Corps Bulgaria

Hope this cleared things up a bit.

Crom is smiling on Bulgaria

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"I say you he dead" -Drunken Hillbillie

Found this gem in Varna. The Colonel's power is like Sauramon: all seeing and ever present. Crispy chicken be with you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Are you Feeling Lucky...or with a pocket full of change?

Casinos in Bulgaria are about as frequent as Starbucks in Seattle. Essentially every 7 feet. I always treated these oases of gambling with a healthy buffer zone, because, there is nothing as sad as a broke Peace Corps volunteer who ALSO happens to be in debt thanks to nickel slots. But, the allure of neon and roulette was just too strong to pass up (that, and there was a casino attached to the hotel I was staying at). I figure I'll walk in, play 5 lev, and be on my way. Noooppee. To even go into the casino, I had to have my ID card scanned, a picture taken, and all cameras put in storage. Needless to say, I'm not psyched at this point. About 10 minutes later, when I had gone through black jack customs, I entered....what can only be compared to an adult chuckie cheese. There was no glitz of the deliberately tacky Vegas, but more like a designer saying "Ah, close enough". Slot machines and more slot machines. They even had electric roulette, which seems to take some of the fun away in my opinion. I head over to the change booth, to get some chips, or what I assume will be chips. NOOOPPEE. For my 20 lev, my two friends and I received a bucket of 10 statinki coins. So we were sitting there with 200 coins, which looked identical to game tokens at an arcade. I did hit it big, 50! on a slot machine,...which took my brain a few seconds to calculate as 5 lev. One saving grace of the whole equation: all drinks are free. You have to fight to even give the waitresses a tip.
In summary, I came out 5 lev poorer, but with my dignity in tact. Las Vegas is going to be ok for the time being.

(You don't see it coming, but there is a giant casino inside)

Happy St. George's Day