These views are my own and do not reflect the Peace Corps.
I knew that when I signed up for the Peace Corps I would try new things and learn more about myself as I struggled and adapted. I learned one very important thing about myself this weekend.
I should not be left alone in a kitchen, and especially not in a Bulgarian kitchen.
I am challenged in the cooking department. There, I admit it. This is not one of my strengths. I also made things worse by trying to prepare an American meal for my host family using Bulgarian ingredients and recipes that I’ve only “sort of” tried. It got to the point where my host mom put something back in the oven and I felt like I could never try it again. Not everything bombed, however. Aunt Claire, your recipe for deviled eggs is foolproof because it worked for me (aside from the fact that we have unnaturally large eggs in the U.S., which threw off the proportions a smidgen). However, my potato salad and lemon pepper chicken were disgusting, and the lack of baking chocolate turned my cake into toffee (not bad, but I’m glad I didn’t know how to tell them what I’d been trying to make for lack of a stronger vocabulary). I followed up the meal by nearly flooding the kitchen and calling it a day (since it took me about four hours to prepare the garbage that I served). My host mom and Baba were such troopers, though, I am incredibly lucky to have such supportive women living with me. They are also amazing cooks, so make some of it will brush off on me (fingers crossed).
Oh well, for the downs there are the ups. I’ve been able to use Skype (whohoo!) to communicate with my immediate family, so if anyone’s interested in getting it too, shoot me a message. I also had an amazing time last weekend hiking near the Struma River, where the day was long and temperate and there was no shortage of foliage, mountain views, and random animals to take pictures of (at one point we a boar following us). This week was busy with a prep class of teaching Bulgarian students and lots of Bulgarian lessons. This weekend we’ve done a tour of the city (all six of its museums), and I’ve had more time to interact with Bulgarians at Horo class (Bulgaria’s national dance: think Riverdance but slightly less intense). Once I get past introductions, I don’t have too much to say at this point but malko po malko (little by little) I’ll get there. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I didn’t know the Bulgarian alphabet two weeks ago.
Next week I teach my own class, yikes! 8th grade English, wish me luck! Keep me posted on your whereabouts and wellbeing. Oh yeah, the pictures are from hiking and the tour around town. I particularly like the one where one of the hikers uses what looks like a machete to cut hard boiled eggs. That’s talent!