Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bored - - Not This Week!

I’m not sure this week is a normal week for Lynn and I, but we seem to be “trending” more towards weeks like this of late. So… to help you understand our life here a little more, I thought I would review our calendar for this past 6 days.

The hours of my “daytime” job are basically 9 to 5. However, I arrive anywhere between 9 and 9:30, and leave anytime between 4:30 and 6PM depending on what we are doing. What I do each day can be very different as you will see this week. Lynn’s hours change each day, and then they change again each month because her school is on split sessions (second and third in the AM, and first and fourth in the PM). They switch times each month. You also need to remember that it takes Lynn almost one hour to get to school and another hour to return. It takes me between 30 and 40 minutes to get to work (if I’m not walking). Normally, we would have Bulgarian language tutoring Tuesday and Friday mornings for three hours. But, because of this week’s schedule, we did not have time for any tutoring.

On Monday I went off to work, but got there later because I was going to be leaving after 6PM. Lynn had to be at school between 10:30 and 2:30
Monday night Lynn and I started a new project. We are leading a conversational English class at the Plovdiv YMCA. (Yes – there is a YMCA here in Plovdiv – who knew!) This class is between 6:30 and 8PM every Monday evening. At the moment, we will both go. In the future, it may only be one of us.

Tuesday -
On Tuesday Lynn had school between 8:00 and 3:00, and I had to be at work a little early. My NGO and I were attending a seminar at one of the local hotels. This seminar was in response to a long 30+ page survey we had done regarding effectiveness of agriculture extension services in our region. There were several agricultural college professors, a high-level government official, and other public and private agricultural consultants attending the meeting. We finished the report and discussion by 1:30, and then had lunch at one of the nicer restaurants in the hotel. For a short time, I almost thought I was back in corporate America. We even had the same “rubber chicken” that we would have at home.

Wednesday -
On Wednesday, Lynn had school from 11 to 5:15. I had work at a normal time. However, Wednesday afternoon, my NGO was sponsoring a seminar for minority girls in one of the villages about 40 minutes from Plovdiv. We are trying to provide some life alternatives and role models for these kids. Right now most of the girls believe they should be married by 16, and have a baby by the time they are 17. We had four role models for them to listen to, and each model was pushing the importance of getting an education (beyond 8th grade).

Wednesday evening, Lynn was picked up at school by members of the medical department from the Peace Corps office from Sofia. They were visiting Lynn and I as part of their annual site visit to all volunteers. The staff visits our apartment to make sure it is safe, and we are doing well. Since they were staying the night in Plovdiv, Lynn and I had dinner with them in the center, and got home about 10:30PM.

Thursday -
On Thursday, Lynn has to be at school between 8 and 12:30. I worked my normal time, and walked home in the evening getting home by 6PM. Thursday evening, we had another volunteer (John) staying with us, and I picked him up at the bus station around 7:30 (a two mile round trip walking). John was staying with us, because he and Lynn had business together on Friday.

Friday -
On Friday, Lynn and John left the apartment at 6AM to catch a 6:30 bus to Sofia. Lynn is the “Emergency Warden” for the Plovdiv region of Peace Corps volunteers. If there is a crisis, Lynn and John are responsible for getting 14 volunteers “out of Bulgaria in a hurry”. The training for this responsibility was at the US Embassy in Sofia all day Friday. I just had a normal 9 to 5 day at work.

Lynn did not get back to Plovdiv Friday night till about 8PM. She brought another volunteer couple home with her. Everyone was very tired. We ate out, and then came back here to talk some more, and get a good nights sleep.


All four of us slept a little late, and then we took our guests on a walking tour of Plovdiv. They had to be back at their site (a 2.5hr bus ride from here) for a special dinner, so they left mid-afternoon. We came home, did some of the weekly cleaning, talked to the boys on Skype, had dinner, and went to bed early.

Sunday – is a day of rest. It is foggy and dreary outside - - a good day to catch up, write blogs, and relax. My counterpart and his wife came over to visit for short while early in the afternoon.

The calendar is stating to fill up for the next three weeks, and then we have another couple of very busy weeks starting on Friday Nov 13th. But … that is another story.


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