Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Hey everyone,

Today I wish I to touch on the subject of the PC training. I realized that I havent explained to you all how exactly I got to where I am. It's a pretty long process spanning 9 1/2 weeks so I better get to it.

THings start almost immediately when you get to your staging hotel in a selected city. I've heard stories that DC isn't the only place but I'm not sure. Once you get there you have one or two days where the American staff walks you through the in and outs of the PC protocol. Essentially, it's a huge security lecture where you are told you can be separated from the PC if you do anything stupid.

The next step is to get on a 12 hour plane ride to Sofia then get on a 2ish hour bus ride to the first training site: A hotel in the mountains. There you get acclimitized to the weather and you work off the jet lag. I've found that jet lag is most easily taken care of by making yourself so tired that you might actually collapse in the spot you're standing. The next morning you're still tired. But in a I-came-back-from-work-really-late-and-now-I-need-to-go-back-like-right-now kind of tired.

At this point, you get more security lectures as well as medical and cultural stuff. It's not as interesting as it sounds, however. What IS interesting is that we started learning the language not 4 hours after waking up on the second day. We learned about fruits and vegetables. In Bulgaria, fruits and vegetables are so important that they are lesson one. Not verb conjugation. Not sentence structure. Not even the fact that there is gender. Nope. You learn about fruits and vegetables. And I guess saying hello and nice to meet you. But that's irrelevant. I like saying Apple. Yabulka! Yabulka!

After 3-4 days of language and lectures, we learn where we get placed for our Pre Service Training. I was placed in Alt... Amsterdam. I'll tell you the real name after I swear in. We spend the rest of the 9 weeks there training with our Language Trainers and going to Hubs/clusters where larger groups of trainees meet.

What's happening right now is that I'm visiting my permanent site where I'll be working for the next 2 years after I swear in. I'll live here, go to work here and call this my headquarters. After this, I will return to Amsterdam where I will complete my training.

One thing to note, is that I've been signed on for Septemvri AND Varvara. The two towns are about 4-5 km apart and are divided by a short road. It's a quick bus ride from either town to the other. What is interesting is that I'm the only person in my Bulgaria group, that is of all 61 of us, that was assigned to two different towns. There about 5 or 6 of us assigned to 2 different schools but my situation requires I travel.

Septemvri is the larger town, about 10k people, and that is where I'm living. It's very comfortable there and I have an apartment with a really nice living room and a kitchen. I sleep in the kitchen. That might take some explaining but I have photos to show that off. I have access to everything I might need in Septemvri. There are a lot of stores and I'm in the middle of town so I have access to most things.

Varvara, on the other hand, is a much smaller town on the bottom of the Rhodope mountain range. It's a very beautiful place and it boasts spas and hot springs. It's consistently about 4 degrees F cooler than Septemvri thanks to the mountain breeze.

I'll be teaching grades 5-10 for the first year in the area. This was a surprise to me since I was nominated to the PC as a Secondary School teacher. My assignment, however, has me teaching mainly primary school students with a single grade 10 class. I hope I can handle it.

That'll be all for now. Leave questions if you got 'em. I have pictures that I'll be uploading once I return home. I'm currently working from a computer in a lab at the school in Varvara. Also, I've begun leaving comments on the photos so you'll get to see how I summarize 1000 words every time.

This is the Peace Corps and I love it in my towns.



  1. Is it harder to teach the younger kids?

  2. you'll be great. kids love you.

  3. I'm looking forward to the photos and hope you're allowed to discipline the children Bulgarian-style instead of the PC way, should they give you any trouble.

  4. you should try this threat: if you don't behave, i'll throw you out the window. or i'll throw my shoe at you. or in dire cases, i'll kill you. worked for me!