Old Site Menu

26 June 1996

A brief note to let you know that I have arrived in Bulgaria and all is well. Was a LONG trip getting here from Washington D.C., but after a couple of days it worked itself out. The group of Volunteer Trainees I’m with remind me so much of our x-country & Western Tour groups. We “bonded” almost immediately because of the commonality of our purpose. Many different types but ONE purpose at this time. It is all very exciting! I know that high will drop off just as it did week by week for the Lifers but it is sure fun now.

We are about 90Km S.W. of Sofia in a town called Kyustendil (KOOSTENDEL) that dates back to Roman times. A hill rises on the East that has ruins of a Roman fortress and they have found many artifacts in the town itself. The area has many mineral water springs and the Roman town had a Bath that was famous. The Kyustendil valley is called the “orchard” of Bulgaria. Has cherries being harvested now with almost any fruit you can think off from a cold climate area yet to ripen.

Going to Sofia on Fri the 28th for a Reception hosted by the Embassy. The occasion is the 5th Anniversary of Peace Corps Bulgaria. Should be a “do” and the opportunity for us Trainees to meet and be met by some of the Americans here in Bulgaria.

We started language training on Fri the 14th of Jun. That was the day after we arrived in Kyustendil. It’s now 4-5 hours a day 5 days a week. Also live with a non-English speaking “host family” that give me another 4-5 hours/day + all of Sat & Sun exposed to Bulgarian. The language is tough but I’m convinced I’ll learn it. We finish our language session like we have done hard labor. Then get 4 more hours/day of Technical, Cross Culture, or Health & Safety training. Is the best prep I have had for anything in my life. It is intense! “The hardest job you will ever love” is starting to become a reality.

Won’t know until about August where I’m going to be for the 2 years as a Volunteer. I may make Sofia with a Junior Achievement project that is underway. Or who knows?

Hope you are doing well!! If you make it to the Mississippi ride say hello to everyone, I’ll try to keep some correspondence going from this end but right now I’m BUSY. It is a break to sit and jot something in English, but the Bulgarian hasn’t helped my English spelling at all.