My Boring Blog

Hello all. This is my blog which I will be using primarily to show pictures that I have taken while I am in Bulgaria. Any thoughts or opinions are strictly my own and no one elses.

Location: Washington, D.C., United States

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Inspector cometh...

One of the interesting things about teaching as a Volunteer is that you are and are not a member of the school staff. I am because I teach students, grade things, and have to follow curriculum rules. But I am not because I am not as accountable for teaching as other teachers, am only there for a certain amount of time, and am ultimately accountable to my country director in Sofia. This creates a myriad of advantages and disadvantages as you might imagine.
Well this week an inspector came to my school for a visit. Allot of the teachers were very nervous as she would be observing them teach their classes. Luckily for me she wouldn't observe my classes, so I remained happily indifferent towards her visit.
Today the inspector was observing a class in the room next to mine. When class started I went into my room and began taking attendance. The kids were running amok as usual and I was trying in vain to get them to sit down and be quiet. Well it turns out that the students were so loud they could be heard outside of the room. A janitor came into the classroom and told them to be quiet because of the inspector in the next room. The students quieted down for the briefest of seconds and then started making noise once again. I told the students to be quiet but they ignored me as they always do. A couple a minutes later the assistant director came in and told me about the inspector, I told her I knew and that the class knew. She then told the class to be quiet in Bulgarian and said a bunch of other stuff which I didn't understand. After the assistant director left the class was silent and I stood looking out at the students with a sly smile on my face, the only sound in the room a droll chuckle escaping from my lips.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Break is coming

Well spring break is almost here and I know that students and teachers at my school are really looking forward to it. We have had about seven or eight weeks of straight classes without a break so as you can imagine the students are sick of the teachers (more so then normal) and the teachers are sick of the students. The good thing is that the rest of the school year has several holidays, so days off will not be so few and far between.
Another good thing is that the local football team, called Pirin, has started playing games again. They are not in the Bulgarian first division but rather the second or third I believe. But what matters to me is that it is live football in front of me and the tickets are cheap, only two lev.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'm a Muppet

There are a tonne of these types of things out there but this one I found amusing because it involves Muppets. And if I must say it did a pretty accurate job of summing me up, with a couple of mistakes of course.
You Are Scooter

Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.
You're always willing to lend a helping hand.
In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.
"15 seconds to showtime!"

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I love chess but unfortunately it does not love me. Tonight I was beaten in eight moves by my friend Ethan. EIGHT! I have never played chess very often and I am sure Ethan is a great player, but come on! I know the rules and I have a IQ higher then a fungi so I should be able to last for, I don't know, twelve moves.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sales Pitch

Today I had to attend a meeting taking place after school. On Monday I signed something that said I would attend this meeting. I was told that this meeting was suppose to have some kind of English inspector attending from somewhere. I wasn't sure however because I really don't pay attention to things like that because they never affect me since I'm not a real teacher.
But as it turns out it wasn't an English inspector but a salesman. The meeting was not a meeting but rather a sales pitch for a new type of English textbook. Why I was required to attend this thing I have no idea. I was bored before the women started her routine and my boredom only increased with time. She presented a bunch of information which I already knew; about students not remembering almost all of what they are taught and how teachers need to have more interactive and interesting lessons (This is a new and foreign concept in Bulgaria by the way).
The only remotely interesting part was when she had everybody do a memory game in english. You had to try to remember numbers in sequence, historical dates, and important people. I must say that I completely kicked everyone's ass at that. The women eventually figured out that I wasn't from Bulgaria because of my accent and the fact that I spoke english very well so she stopped calling on me.
The presentation lasted an hour and a half and I want that part of my life back. I didn't learn anything and the only thing I got from it was a cheap pen and a granola bar.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Damn Dancing Bulgarians....

Last night was another holiday here in Bulgaria, I have no idea what it is called. The main component of this holiday is gathering branches, maybe from pine trees I'm not sure, and placing them in an obscenely tall pile. At night the branches are lit aflame and people dance around them. I believe that this is to celebrate the beginning of spring.
Now the part where I come in is that I have been sick for over two months. Nothing serious but I have basically been coughing, wheezing, and generally crummy for a over two months. Yesterday I was feeling particularly wonky so I went to sleep at 9 pm to get some extra rest. I was sleeping like a rock until about 1030 when blaring music woke me up. I looked out my window to see the huge pile of wood aflame and glowing red hot embers flying everywhere. At first I thought my building my go up in flames but thanks to communist era efficiency it is built from cement so no fire danger exists.
The pile of wood was HUGE. I live in a block apartment building on the third floor and the top of the pile was even with me. After watching the heathens, I mean Bulgarians dance around the flames for a while I turned around and went to bed hoping that the music would stop soon. Three hours later it was still playing. People weren't dancing anymore, they were just sitting around a table getting drunk. At about 1 am I was passed the point of being angry and was busily plotting my revenge against these people. At one point I wondered "Don't these people have jobs to go to tomorrow?" I laughed at that thought and continued plotting. At 2 am the music stopped. I sighed, reveled in the quiet for a brief second, and promptly fell asleep... only to wake up 4 hours later to go to work.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Баба Марта

March 1st was Baba Marta (Баба Марта) day here in Bulgaria. This holiday is celebrated people giving each other red and white bracelets, pins, and necklaces. People then wear them until they see either a flower bloom or a stork. When you see either of these things you are supposed to place the objects under a rock or on a fruit bearing tree. This is suppose to bring bring you health and safety (that's what the colors red and white stand for). Baba Marta means grandma March and it holiday is also the traditional welcoming of spring.
Баба Марта has definitely been one of my favorite Bulgarian holidays so far. People spent most of the day giving each other bracelets and wishing each other good health, a pretty nice way to go through the day if you ask me. I was lucky enough to have several students and colleagues give me bracelets and pins (which are called martinetsa, Мартъница). Bulgarians seem to have allot of holidays that deal with health and happiness. Maybe that is because for much of its history Bulgaria was being controlled by someone else so health and happiness were not something you could take for granted. Regardless of the reason that has become my favorite aspect of Bulgarian culture.