Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall, fall autumn

"All three witches together now... Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble..." Petko realizes a few seconds later that he was a witch also. I wonder if he rides the short broom to school.

We did Macbeth today in my literature class, and I had fun. I don't know where the energy came that allowed me to jump around the room explaining the story in as physical a way possible (to aid in their comprehension) at 7:45am, but it was there. Maybe it's because of my more relaxed schedule this week compared to the last two months.

One of the big differences is that I am no longer training for a marathon. That's right. On November 8, I ran a marathon. 4:58 is not record time by any means, but I finished it in spite of all the challenges of training in the fall as an English teacher in a small town in Bulgaria. There were many days when I didn't have the energy after teaching, or the earlier lack of sunlight was restricting the amount of time that I could run. I also fell. Twice. It was as hard on my pride as my body, as I fell in front of groups of people and have the scars to prove it. Some children taunted me and I can't tell you how many people asked me "Why are you running? No one's chasing you!"

It was all worth it though in the end. My teacher friends call me "our hero" and I have a shiny new medal to try not to lose. The trip itself was great. Seven of the volunteers travelled together and we had time to explore Athens (did I forget to mention that the marathon was in Athens?!?) and met a lot of nice runners along the way. We had a very supportive group and along the route I saw some of the other volunteers. I finished right in the middle of the group, and it was really nice to see their faces when I ran across the finish line. I even got a bit weepy.
Along with the beginning of the school year, I have started taking Turkish lessons on a regular basis to understand the large Turkish minority in my town. It has been moving slowly, but I recently passed through a Bulgarian Turkish village where my friend James volunteers and was able to understand some basic conversations that took place. Proud points! Now if only I could actually express myself...These things take time.
My goodness gracious! There are a lot of festivities to plan for this year. We just celebrated Halloween by trick or treating in the halls at school and throwing a Halloween party for the school. In my adult English language lesson, we made a Jack'o lantern. During the day I dressed up as the math teacher at our school, Mr. Nutsolov, who was a good sport. Nothing is scarier than a math sometimes and Mr. N has a way of intimidating students with his strict demeanor. At the party, my students passed pumpkins quickly, bobbed for apples, wrapped mummies out of toilet paper, and put on a play that they had written under my direction. The play was a modern adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood, complete with Lil' Red and her friend Mary going to a disco, a birthday party, a dancing baba (grandmother-me!) and a big bad wolf with a secret twin sister. When I find the recording, i'll post it online.

The next festival is Thanksgiving, so I'll probably make stuffing and pumpkin and apple pie for the teachers. Does anyone have a good homemade stuffing recipe? StoveTop Stuffing is pretty much nonexistant here. I was successful in making pumpkin curry soup from scratch and I used this recipe On Thanksgiving weekend, however, I have something even bigger to plan on. My friend Nancy who just finished volunteering in the town of my training site is going to tie the knot with a Bulgarian friend from her dance group. There should be lots of dancing, and it'll be good to see my host family again.

I found this online and it made me chuckle-kids answering questions about marriage.
1. There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there>Kelvin, age 8
1. Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.>Ricky, age 10
Kids can be so wise.

On another note, we are full-fledged flu season here. Because of the H1N1, or as one of my students called it the pork virus, many students were absent and we just got back from a mandatory week long vacation. The vacation allowed for me to have a week to contract the flu and combat it before my marathon and to have some recovery days after the marathon. Thank you, swine flu. I am now facing an ear infection, but things are relatively back to normal.

I posted some pretty pictures from Halloween, the marathon in Athens, and my neighbor Elena and I making pickled vegetables called Turshia. An interesting part- they put aspirin in the jars before they fill them with water! I hope you find it as eye-catching as I did. Also there are pictures from James's village.
Keep on writing/commenting/and recipe sharing!