Sunday, October 08, 2006

Marathon, Rain and Sicknes

It is raining now in Stara Zagora and in most of central/southern Bulgaria. Grey weather has finally come, and with it a forgotten chill. After a hot summer this change is not entirely unwelcome, though it is a harbinger of the piercing cold that is likely this winter. I sat in bed this morning (because of an infirmity I shall reveal shortly) and listened to the patter of drops on the tin flashing around my neighbor's windows. No more birds wheeling about or bats at night, but no more bugs either.

On friday, while I returned to Stara Zagora from my conference in the mountains, I grabbed a bite in Sofia. I felt a bit car-sick in the bus (or bus-sick, rather) but thought nothing of it as I'd travelled for 5 hours. I went to a friend's house for dinner, but couldn't eat it. One would think that hamburgers would simply disappear down my gullet, so obviously something was wrong. I made as graceful an exit as I could, but another friend was stuck in Stara Z and had to stay at my place. Too bad for her - I had just about the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced. I couldn't stop being sick all night and the next day. Though I was camped out on my kitchen bed, I'm sure she was privy to noises from everything I was going through just down the hallway. I guess whatever had insulted my gastro-intestinal tract had done a very thorough job, because my body expelled everything it possibly could. It is Sunday night and I feel far better, though I have the lingering effects of sickness in my system. No more Sofia fast food for me, thank you.

Those who might be interested in donating/sponsoring the Scouts through my Marathoning, please read the clip I've attached from my colleage's email. It explains a bit how to do so. I'll send out an email as well in the next week.

For those of you who have been following the funding struggle thing.
We now have somewhere to put the money! Scouting Europe will accept
the funds through their web portal... now all we have to do is
convince people they want to give support.

As for the tax receipts they
are just as deductible as what PC offers. You should read the linked
tax law (this is my serious face :| ), so you understand. Basically
it doesn't matter unless you itemize your deductions.

As for where to go and how to do it? well here is some preliminary
information, we will redraft the letter that was uploaded earlier.

By credit card, donors can pay on:
Select "Scouting in the European Scout Region",
Select the currency "EUR, USD, ..",
and mention "World Scout Jamboree 2007, support to Bulgaria and the
name of the donor"

Making sure this information gets out will be up to us, so post on
your blogs or put them in your mass emails...

Thanks for reading everyone, and remember to always flush!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Friends leaving, Marathon nears, eating tomatoes.

It has been almost a year of service. Many of my American friends here have begun to go back to the United States and readjust. Some are travelling, some are starting school, and some are out of money. These are really good people and I will miss seeing them here. That is life in foreign service/international volunteerism. People come and go quickly all the time. The positive side of this phenomenon is that some very strong friendships form through common problems and experiences. The negative side is that they are transitory, those involved moving to many different places continuously. Living through a year of this has made me write more because I'm afraid of forgetting important events, moments and people in the quagmire.

The Marathon is coming up. I'm not ready yet. I ran a 12-mile run today and felt strong, though I have blisters from running so far, daily. I'll buy new shoes soon so that they'll be broken in by November 5th, The Day of the Marathon. The group I'll be running for/with has started a sponsorship fund. We will give all donations to the Bulgarian Scouts to send a group of 10 scouts to the World Jamboree/100th annevarsary of Scouting in the UK next summer. This should be a magnificent moment in the children's lives, as they have not left Bulgaria before. They are good kids. Some of my friends work with them frequently (weekly or so). I'll include details on how to donate/sponsor in my next blog entry.

Winter is coming. It has started to get cold and the rain comes every afternoon. Tomatoes will soon be scarce, so I am savoring them while I can. I'm fortunate enough to be in a community where fresh produce is available year-round, but it will be expensive and poor quality starting in about 2 months. Walking through the city, one can smell stewing of all sorts and compote-preserves production. Peppers roasted on one corner, figs stewed on the next. Sometines, bonfires roar against the concrete wall of a block apartment with meat or peppers drying a short ways away. I have some that I didn't finish from last winter. Lots of neighbors gave the poor American a jar or two to sustain him. They're generally quite delicious, though I've opened one or two jars that have not matched my tastes.

I bought a jar of Blueberry preserves last fall in Bochkovo, near the monastary, that were absolutely delicious. I can't find anything like them anywhere in the city. I might have to go back that way simply for that product. Well, I'm off but I'll write more soon. Ciao Vsichko!