Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

This post is mainly for Mama Bear, but you guys can read, too. Merve came over with flowers this Sunday for our weekly bake fest in honor of Mother's Day. We made brownies for all the Mama's in the neighborhood (thanks for the organic mix from the states, Roger!) and had a fun time experimenting with decorating the brownies with edible flowers!
Happy Mother's Day!

Merve and I...we are in our aprons that we wear every week

Merve cooking up a storm!

Fast forward to a slew of holidays

May is just packed full of fun holidays here in Bulgaria. From May 1-May 6th all kinds of fun things go on. This year some other fun volunteers came to join me! We started the trip off with a holiday/hike/wedding in a nearby village and then it only got crazier from there. Below are a few pics, but to get a real idea about the week, go to my awesome friend's blog to read more....http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=87572632679&h=Fl_gq&u=jttPX&ref=mf

Justin, our trusted tour guide throughout the entire trip

Sarah and I

The village from the high mountain peak that we climbed

The futbol match outside the school

Our friend doing a comedy skit about an Arabic Sheik in Bulgaria

Some kiddies dancing traditional dances for the holiday

Bday's in Plovdiv

There comes a time in every volunteers life when they just need to break away and have a relaxing, fun filled weekend. This entry, in part is about one of those. I want to start off by telling you about my amazing friend who's birthday we were celebrating on said weekend. Sarah is my neighbor, as much as you can be one here, and one of my best friends. Her village is a lot like mine as far as culture, language, and geography goes, and I can say first hand that it is hard at first to integrate. This girl has done the most amazing job of becoming part of her community and inspiring them to start programs and begin projects that would have taken me months if not years to start. I'm lucky to have such an enthusiastic example of strenght right next door! So anyway, for her birthday she decided to invite a few of us to Plovdiv to do a bit of celebrating. Now, I've been here a while and have been to Plovdiv more times than I can count. But, my visits there always entailed hopping from one bus to another, or running down the street like mad to catch a train. This time, we didn't have to rush...it was a relaxing weekend full of site seeing and shoe shopping.

James, John, Sarah and Noelle in front of the Museum in Plovdiv

Life and Art

Sarah, Noelle and I @ a restaurant before heading out to dance the night away

Sarah and I

Merve is 7!

It wouldn't be January without Merve's birthday! And wouldn't you know it, it was the warmest day we'd had in months! We started the morning off by treating her first grade class with games, dancing and a cake! Then later that day we made our way to Trigrad (Merve's choice, she'd never been) where we hung out with friends and had a great day :)

Us in Trigrad

The birthday cake....all the way from Devin!

Happy Birthday!

The birthday girl, herself in her 1st grade classroom :)

Have yourself a Merry Little Bairaim

Happy Bairam!! December 8th was the second Bairam of the year...Courbon Bairam. Not the fun sugary one with the sweets, but the one where baby lambs are slain in my backyard and their cooked body parts are served to my neighbors. Mmm. Ok, so the actual cooking process is kind of interesting, but I digress. We also had a program through our Cultural Center to celebrate a great holiday and to show off our new costumes we acquired through the SPA grant. Below are some pictures of the traditional dancers and of the wonderful ballerinas that performed...I wonder where they were from?! :)

The kids dancing on stage

A couple of my ballerina's showcasing the skirts we made!

The older group in the new costumes we got through the SPA project

The director of our school playing a traditional instrument for the concert

My ballerinas in their traditional horo costumes

An American Thanksgiving in Bulgaria

A group of us from my wonderful region got together to celebrate Thanksgiving together in Smilian, where another volunteer lives (here is your TRL shout out, Atown.) As luck would have it, it was also a great Bulgarian holiday that same weekend...the one we all know and love, The Smilian Bean Festival! That's right, the famous Smilian Beans have thier own holiday. The locals of the famed village held a great program in the municipality...there were readings about beans, kids sang song about beans, and there was cooking contest where the main ingredient was..you guessed it, BEANS. Afterwards we cooked a huge traditional Thanksgiving meal, and even went to play football the next day. A perfect way to celebrate my favorite holiday.

Going to play football

The AWESOME meal we cooked up

Rajun: "How can we mash these potatoes?"
Nicolette: "Here's an empty beer bottle...."

We glued individual beans to form a picture on a wall in hopes to be accepted in the Guiness Book of World's record for worlds biggest....for world's most....for something. Look how excited Thomas is! His blog link is on the side...go make fun.


Happy Thanksgivin' punkins!

Happy Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving I was asked into Ms. Vassileva's 4th grade class to talk a little bit about our tradition and to come up with a craft for the holiday. As we had already done hand turkeys in the first grade (and 4th graders do all they can to seperate themselves from THAT immaturity) I decided on a Thanksgiving Tree. Bear with me here. All of the kids brought in random clothe that they had lying around the house. We made a tree trunk with brown clothe and cut out our hand shapes on different colored cloth for the leaves. We each wrote something we were thankful for on our hands...after a while we kept thinking of so many things that I told them to put everything on there! Below are pics!

Our finished product

Tracing our hands

Ms. Vassileva and I

Cutting out clothe with the 4th grade