Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Year of Bagpipes and Boats

It is the end of the year. And in the name of vain celebration I wanted to document all the shenanigans (a word termed after me?. . . wiki it) of the past 365.24ish days. The following is the list. The order is what comes to mind as I type - so basically the typical way I do things. Each was given the same number as to eliminate ranking. I added pics if I had them. This is just how I roll. I know. You love it.

1. Played with guns on the Prime Minister of Fiji's Ship (he became the PM when taking over with a military coup. . perhaps I played with the gun that toppled the gov't!)

1. Acted like a doctor on Mel Gibson's private island to unsuspecting locals.

1. Hung with Bill Clinton.(and my husband in a super snazzy suit)

1. Played a bagpipe on top of mountain in a Bulgarian village (next to a giant cage?).

1. Saw a random baby being born.

1. Jumped in a bounce house - till I got kicked out.

1. Mastered Wii golf.

1. Ran a marathon (well. . .technically I didn't run anything. . .but JB did! - and I live through him, so it counts)

1. Smoked huka while playing backgammon and watching soccer in a salon with only old Turkish men.

1. Drank grog.

1. Drank rakia (traditional Bulgarian liquor).

1. Started drinking coffee and never stopped.

1. Hiked on the top of a mountain with snow up to my knees, with no trace of other humans around.

1.Meet the V.P. of Malawi (Hon. Joyce Banda), Jennifer Buffet, Kari Potts, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer, Wayne Lapierre (ha. you're shocked right?!), Chris Elias, and some other high rollers.

1.Made a cornhole board.

1.Hung out at a cabin in the middle of Arkansas and played capture the flag in the middle of the night.

1. Went to white water (and i'm not talking real estate investment gone wrong. . i'm talking transportation devices for humans made from plastic chutes and water gone right! - they should put those things everywhere. right next to the stairs! (this also just made me think of the game Chutes and Ladders. . . the game is set up all wrong. you should start at the top and win by making it down first. . .cause everyone knows going down a water slide is way better than climbing UP a ladder)

1. Got a dog (well actually this is not true. but i'm hoping JB will read this and buy me one. here's to wishful thinking!)

1. Taught myself to knit. Who wants a scarf?!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Trick-or-Treating in Bulgaria = not such a productive idea. Some of my Scout kids asked me if i wanted to go trick-or-treating with them. Hell yeah. I love Halloween and I can seriously house some candy when given the chance (this is probably a result of growing up in house with NO candy and then marrying someone who thinks grapes and oranges are a perfect desert). So I threw together a costume. A soccer player. Very creative and time consuming to put together - I know. Those soccer socks were toward the back of my drawers.

Anywho, we went. And we were the only ones who got the Halloween memo. Cause the streets were empty. Knocking door to door in communist block style apartments and getting blank stares instead of candy is a far cry from Uncle Jimmy dressing up as a scarecrow and chasing unsuspecting kids down the road while throwing candy at them in the suburbs of America. But, by the end of the night we did score a few treats: a croissant (one to split between the 6 of us), a handful of purple candy, and a bag of treats from one family who KNEW Halloween (the lady even came to the door in a mask!). Here is a picture of the kiddies. Better luck next year - I think the holiday is just starting to gain steam - so don't give up!

Monday, October 10, 2011

On Aging

I turned 30 this week. I know! You are shocked, right? You can't believe it because of my youthful personality and my unaging face. I wouldn't believe it either.. .but i have been there to witness the whole thing - well, most of it, anyway.

I was really scared about turning 30 because unlike the other decade birthdays I have had, there is nothing (seemingly) big to look forward to in the next 10 years (at least under law)- except maybe trying to pay off my debt . . and that is never fun to talk about. . just ask the US government!

When I turned 10, I was pumped because that meant I was only 2 years away from getting my very own moped (which i did get when i turned 12, and drove to elementary school, and locked next to everyone's Huffy bicycles. and yes, I was a BIG deal. since then, i've never doubted my coolness. . sometimes when i feel bad about myself, i think. . .remember when you had to ask the teacher where to put your motorcycle helmet cause it won't fit in your cubby - you're awesome!).

When I turned 20, I was pumped because that meant i was only 1 year away from being able to legally throw back those Zimas with jolly ranchers in them.

In Bulgaria, having a birthday is like a nice kick in the teeth. Not only are you getting older and more decrepit, but YOU are the person who is suppose to buy all the drinks and chocolates and cakes for the people around you. You say, "hey guys! it's my bday! have something - I'm buyin!!!" and then everyone sings you Happy Birthday while eating your food. At first, I was really offended by this model of bday celebrationess, but then I realized it may be better. Sure, it may not be too thrilling on your birthday BUT every other day of the year some poor, aging, SOB will be buying the cake! That is like 364 potential birthdays just for you!

So I accept it. I bought my Scout kids candy and watched them run around the park on a sugar high. The kids (and my community partner) gave me photographs and wrote on the back of them and my landlord gave me a flower (covered in glitter! super bonus). So the day turned out to be really nice after all. And my anti-aging lotion must be working cause I look just the same as I did yesterday. Perhaps 30 won't be too bad.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Don't Read This. It has Opinions.

You should probably stop reading this now.

America does a lot of things really well. Like teeth. American dentists can take a kid with the most jacked-up horse-face and turn them into the star of a toothpaste commercial.

Most other countries aren't doing this. In fact, when i was living in Fiji the people asked me why American's like to put silver jewelry all over their teeth. Then i would explain that Americans have braces because without them half the country could eat apples through tennis rackets. . . .and that is not a look that is really "in" these days. I had braces and that is why I’m in toothpaste commercials now!

America is also good at making burgers AND inventing sports, with world championships - that no one else plays WHILE still giving the sport the same name of the world's most popular sport - even though they are nowhere near the same. These things are working! I'm craving a burger and have been trying for a week to live-steam a college or NFL football game. What's wrong with me? I'm American.

But let's get to the point.

America is TERRIBLE with alcohol policies. Throughout the world people are legally drinking at 18 or 14 or 3. But we are sending kids off to wars, college, and medical physicals without a shot of tequila first. I'm not advocating for handing 5 year olds cases of Paps Blue Ribbon (but if they do drink. they should drink this. it is basically water). In fact, i'm not advocating for anyone to drink. But I do think we need to calm down as a nation.

The other day I was in the grocery store and one of the kids I work with came in, she just turned 10 years old, and she bought 3 beers. She was taking them to her dad and his friends. The cashier didn't ask her anything. I am almost 30 and in America I still have to give my id and a blood test to buy a bottle of cough syrup. I think the strictness of our laws is dangerous. I have seen friends binge drink to the point of hospitalization. It was only because they were dumb about alcohol. They were dumb about alcohol because we (Americans) have commercials telling parents to avoid drinking with and around teens and cops searching for 20 year olds in nightclubs. So kids sneak alcohol in back alleys and drink whatever they can get their hands on. Which is usually cheap finger nail polish remover. no wonder they are losing their livers.

In Bulgaria I have seen adolescents passing a beer around in the street. Once they were sitting on the playground equipment at a school (not during school hours). At first i was disturbed. But then i realized. This is good. I would much rather have kids sitting around sharing a beer where everyone can see them than kids chugging handles of vodka in abandoned buildings. As a nation we need to reexamine our alcohol polity and lighten up a little. Also, if you are underage. I will NOT buy booze for you. But I will pick you up from a party and feed you a sandwich before I tell your parents what a terrible child you turned out to be.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm not always this truthful

There is a gnarly scab on my knee. I got it today. This is what I would tell you if you asked me about it - which I know you would - cause your compassionate like that:

Today I was playing soccer with a bunch of guys. Once when I was going for the ball, I slide and somehow ripped open the flesh on my knee. It started bleeding everywhere but I didn't mind. I was proud of myself cause I won the ball in the tackle. And it didn't hurt so I kept playing and didn't say anything.

But the truth is:

Today I was playing soccer with a bunch of little boys. Once when I was going for a ball that had been kicked out of bounds, I fell on my own and somehow ripped open the flesh on my knee. It started bleeding a little but I tried to ignore it. I was totally embarrassed with myself cause I fell on my face - with no one around! It was our throw-in so I kept playing. It hurt but I didn't say anything because I didn't want to look like pansy.

the end. oh! I should mention (as a redeeming factor) in the game I scored 4 of our 6 goals! .....or did i?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is this a World Record???

Holy moly this beer is ginormous. It makes regular sized beer feel bad. I bought the normal beer for $1.30 and the super-sized steroid beer for $2.70. I don't know how long regular beer can keep up in this market. Someone told me that every month they come out with a bigger beer - in order to out-do the competition. People better start making bigger refrigerators (and stomachs)...stat.

You know what else is big? The mountains. See... I went hiking.

That is a church, chillin on the hillside.

Friday, September 2, 2011

What's inside?

Near my house there is a shop. This is what it looks like from the outside. This is a fact. Look:

So for a long time I avoided it - it looks a bit out of my league. I never liked green apples- or scantly clad girls on chairs. Instead of going in, I wondered what might be sold inside. Everyday I saw all sorts of people entering: men, women, children, and some crazy chain-smoking guy in a wheelchair. Anywho, curiosity got the best of me. If curiosity killed the cat, I'm not sure why it hasn't killed me yet. I'm curious about a lot of things.

Inside was one long freezer and one long aisle of . . . . food. It's a grocery store. Of course it is.

Naked or pretty risky images of women appear everywhere. The other day I bought a newspaper from the side of the road for 50 cents for a game that I had planned for the kids. But as soon as I opened the fold there were naked girls. So I skipped the game. I can't be handing out that out to minors. . . maybe I will be arrested and have to spend my life in a dungeon.

Then the next day my community partner bought a newspaper to make paper hats for the kids. The same, well, not the exact same, pictures scattered the press as the day before - when I threw the paper away. But don't worry. She made the hats anyway. And the kids proudly walked around town with paper hats with smatterings of what I once thought were inappropriate pics. I was wrong. Now I'm really mad at myself for throwing the first paper away - I had a really good game in mind and now I'm short 50 cents.