PST begins

Trip Start Apr 14, 2006
Trip End Jul 2008

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Flag of Bulgaria  ,
Tuesday, April 18, 2006

After the plane arrived in Sofia a bunch of CPCVs (current peace corps volunteers) met us at the airport. We stood around outside for a bit and chatted, I honestly wasnt in the mood for small talk tho as I was exhausted. We got on a bus right away to make the 2 hour drive to a hotel in the middle of nowhere, up in the Rila mountains. It's a beautiful setting. We'll be here for 4 days for orientation, and on Friday we move in with our host families. On the way here we started to get a glimpse of how Bulgaria is a bit different from where we came from; we saw some horse drawn carts, including a couple on the highway outside Sofia, goats, donkeys and horses in people's backyards, elderly people working fields with scythes and plows, and grape vines on terraces. We went through some beautiful villages and some areas that were really falling down. For half of the ride we were on a one lane road going up into the mountains, cutting straight thru the forest, I wondered what we would do if another car came the other way but that didn't happen.

So we've already jumped in with our training. The first night all we did was eat and sleep, I was so tired I was dizzy, but the next morning we started a full day at 9 am. We heard from directors of the Sofia office and of PST (pre service training,) and admin people on all kinds of stuff. Then we had 2 hours of language training in groups of 8, which was really fun. We worked on the alphabet, greetings, counting and money. Then we had a presentation from our program directors, so all the primary TEFL in one room and the secondary teachers in another. That was the only boring part of the day. Oh, bit of a change, I found out yesterday that I am actually a secondary (highschool) teacher. When I got my invitation they sent me the wrong leaflet. Oops. I'm happy tho, with older kids you can get into more interesting things, and I have ideas for cool extracurricular activities I can start like a school newspaper, in English or Bulgarian I haven't decided.

The only 'weird' thing we've had to adjust to so far is the showers. The bathroom has a tile floor, a toilet, sink, a shower head and a drain in the floor. There's no separate shower structure or even a curtain. It wasn't a big deal, I just had to rescue the toilet paper before it got soaked. It's only annoying that my roommate Krissi couldnt be in there brushing her teeth while I was showering, and vice versa.
So far the food is really good, pretty much what all the guidebooks said, it's salads, grilled meet, tart yoghurt for breakfast, potatoes, feta cheese (at least that's what it tastes like) and stuffed grape leaves. Apparently the food is really similar between Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey and all 3 places claim it is 'their way.'

We are really isolated up here, I think they did that on purpose so we wouldnt all go out and not focus on our training. And so we'd get over the jet lag sooner. The only problem with that is there is no internet and phone service is really expensive anywhere in Bulgaria. We can only buy 18 leva phone cards which gets us 9 minutes to the States, this works out to about $1.20 a minute. So mom, you'll get one short phone call that's it.
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