Resort life, baby!

Trip Start Aug 11, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Bulgaria  , Sofia Region,
Saturday, August 11, 2012

Leaving my mom, brother, and Jared at the airport was really sad. However, this time I didn't feel scared to leave the country. I was so excited to get to Bulgaria and get this Fulbright thing started! I chose to participate in the two week training in Pravets, Bulgaria from August 13-24. I thought it would be smart to meet the other Fulbrighters and take some classes to get a better feel for Bulgaria. I knew we were staying at a resort but I wasn't sure what a resort in...Bulgaria would be like. It was NICE. Way too nice for a bunch of recent college graduates (Fulbrighters or not). My flights went smoothly and once I got to the airport in Sofia a Fulbright coordinator was waiting for all of us. We waited in the airport for 5 hours getting to know each other. We were all pretty gross and tired though. I just wanted to get to a shower. Finally, we left Sofia for the resort. The view along the way was incredible. The mountains, rolling hills, and sunflowers made me feel like I was at home. The resort was beautiful and the view was incredible. I was really relieved when I found out their was wifi..(of course I used it to let my parents know I was okay and hardly talked to Jared at all haha). My first class was Introduction to Bulgarian language. It felt more like art class. България <---- what is that!? It says, 'Bulgaria.' I mean come on..
I also took a Peace and Conflict Resolution class which was really interesting because my professor was from Pakistan and the class was really diverse. During the first week we had ETA training and got to meet our mentor teachers (FINALLY). I was looking at all of the mentors and trying to guess who Hilda was. All of a sudden I saw a woman with crimped hair and sequins on her shirt (most of the other women were older and looked way too serious for me). I had my fingers crossed and then what do you know? Crimped hair sequin shirt woman is Hilda! We clicked right away. Before she left she told me she was going to teach me how to drink Rakia. Rakia is a typical Bulgarian alcoholic drink made from fermented fruits. It reminds me a lot of moonshine. I'm glad she offered to teach me because the first time I tried it I drank it all at once. Apparently you're supposed to sip on it and eat salad between drinks. Makes sense. Now I know why my esophagus melted away. After the first week of classes we had a closing ceremony. 
 By this point all I could say in Bulgarian was hello, goodbye, cheers, and I am Cassie = Здравейте, довиждане, наздраве, аз съм Cassie.
At the closing ceremony dinner we were given lots of wine and got to meet the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria. I liked the wine much better. The Ambassador was rude and didn't care to talk to the Bulgarians. Anyway, over the weekend we went to a cave called Saeva Dupka Cave. It reminded me of Seneca Caverns. 
Side note: While in Bulgaria, I became good friends with a girl named Shelby. She's from Texas (I forgive her haha) and we have been running up to 8 miles by this point. She talked me into running a FULL MARATHON with her in Greece. I need to learn how to say no. I vaguely remember telling Jared, after we ran our 5k, that I would never run any distance over that. Yay. I don't think anyone could turn down running the original marathon in Greece. When in a marathon. That's the saying, right? 
The second week of class was great. I took a gender and leadership class and my teacher was from Oklahoma. She was so spirited and full of feminist girl power. haha. Before I knew it the second week of class was over and we ended our classes the typical Bulgarian way- with wine and dancing. We learned some traditional Bulgarian dances the first week and got to do them again on the last night. Leaving the resort was sad but Shelby, Tommy, and I were leaving for Budapest on Sunday, then Slovakia, and ending our two weeks of traveling in Poland. Before leaving we had to go to Shelby's town to drop off our bags before backpacking. 
Next Blog------>Turgovishte!  
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