Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Which I Discover My Curse

Zdraveytey everyone!

I’m pretty relaxed right now, gang! “But why, Zack?” you may ask. “You are a stranger in a strange land with strange people talking a strange language! I would be freaking out!” Well I got to admit that this was most certainly the case when I first arrived. But this has nothing to do with culture. In fact, I blame my lowered shoulders and dazed look on the swine flu. You know what? Let me backtrack a little bit.

So as you all probably know, there’s something of a problem going on with the whole flu thing. In Bulgaria it’s more of the same. We have officially classed it as an epidemic. It’s something of a big thing here. We call it Svinsky Grip (or pig flu). Well this last week the government had us do something called a Gripa Vacancia. It is exactly as it sounds. The pig flu has gotten to the point where the government has to close down all the schools. Because of that, I had an entire week where I got to do nothing. I feel for the children with flu all over the country but I have to admit that a week-long break felt pretty good. Did some sleeping, did some traveling, did some studying… Good times were had by most. I say ‘most’ because small children were sick with the flu. After that, I then had to attend a conference in Plovdiv (one of the largest cities in Bulgaria) for a conference debriefing us on our first 6 months (HOLY CRAP IT’S BEEN 6 MONTHS!). That was another 3 days of my virtual vacation. It was great to see all my friends and get in touch with the gossip. As it turns out, however, I might have developed something of a reputation within a select portion of our group. My reputation: cursed.

So I have unknowingly garnered a small amount of attention regarding my somewhat (read: very) eventful experiences. I guess it started with my tales about my host site where I was the only one in my group to have a Turkish toilet in the chicken coop. I spent many afternoons staring at them through the holes in the door. And they spent the same number (if not more) staring back. You can’t see me doing it, but I’m shaking my fist in their direction. Next came my journey to Sofia for my TEFL refresher. You can read that here: . Good times. Next I had a bit of a trip when I was returning home from my Warden training (I’ll return to this topic at a later date when I figure out how to make it interesting). Essentially, I got on a 3 hour late train to Serbia. That sentence seems rather absurd to me when I reread it. “I got on a 3 hour late train to Serbia.” Next would’ve been my apparent hunger strike on my way to the town of [town name withheld] and back for the Halloween Party THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN! Finally, on Monday night, I nearly killed myself.

Well maybe not ‘nearly killed myself’. I don’t know for sure if I’d have died. I know that I would’ve had the equivalent impact of a 180 lb guy hitting his head on a toilet, though. So here’s what happened. The conference in Plovdiv took place from Sunday to Wednesday morning and hosted as many of the volunteers and counterparts (the local partners to the volunteers) as could come. Monday night, a whole bunch of us, I think the final count was 50 volunteers and counterparts, got together to go bowling. The bowling alley was actually more like a club with bowling lanes in it. There was even a scantily clad lady dancing in a cage in the middle of the room amongst a laser light show. It was pretty awesome. Anyways, I had a couple drinks (I’m a total lightweight when it comes to alcohol) and around 12 me and my roommate headed back to the hotel. When we returned, I decided to take a shower to get the cigarette smoke smell off of my body. I turn the shower on, and realized that I left the shampoo by the sink. I step out and my right ankle rotates violently due to my slight lack of balance and my wetness. The next thing I know, there’s a sharp, intense pain coming from my ankle and I’m staring at my reflection in the trash can. I might have also cursed very loudly. As it turns out, my head was about a few inches away from the wall, toilet and trash can. If I had gotten out of the tub (which was inexplicably at least 6 inches off the ground as well) in any other spot, I would’ve hit my head on something and almost certainly had a concussion. I looked something like this except with much more naked on.

It would not have been a fun night. Anyways, after assessing whatever damage my body might’ve taken, I took one more look into the trash can to see my pathetic body lying there, then finished taking a shower. I stepped outside and my roommate was on his computer watching the Eagles game from the Sunday before. “Did you fall inside there?” he asked nonchalantly. “Why yes. Yes, I did indeed fall.” I replied matter-of-factly. Chris, if you're reading this, we're still friends and this in no way will affect that. :)

No worries, though, my friends. Since I missed every distinctly cornered surface with my body, I merely twisted my ankle, pulled a muscle in my shoulder from the way I landed on it, and pulled a muscle in neck because my head made a very non-safe jerking motion when I hit the ground. That last one actually scares me a little. I showed the doctors my ankle and they gave me a bandage and some painkillers. They also told me not to run for a few weeks. That might be funny for a few of you because, as you may know, I lead a very relaxed and slow-paced life. I love not running. To be fair, though, it does stop me from walking up and down unnecessary hills. I am a little bummed out by this one. I might need to sit out the Thanksgiving hike. We’ll see where my ankle is in a week. Anyways, that was how I spent my flu vacation. I hope the rest of you are doing well.

This is the Peace Corps and there was a chance that the previous post could’ve been the last one.


Edit: For all intents and purposes, I'm still not convinced I'm cursed. Instead, I'd like to say I'm super lucky that I didn't die/found my way to the PC office/didn't go to Serbia.


  1. Zack- if you absolutely MUST die in Bulgaria, at least do it with a bang. None of this bathroom business.

    Now survive.

  2. please do me a favor and don't die in bulgaria... or talk about dying in bulgaria? i dunno how i'd explain that to your mom.

    i'm glad your break was otherwise good, though. mine gets tacked onto the end of our regular eid/thanksgiving break, giving us two weeks off. w0ot!

  3. WELL!
    That will teach you not to drink and shower, young man! I hope you learnt your lesson!

  4. you can upload picts? MOREE!!

    & you areee lucky.

  5. Mr. Yap,

    I'm glad your biggest concern is a rolled ankle. Are you having a hypothetical new-years party over there? How does it work? I may not post, but that does not mean I don't care!! Awwww!

    ~ W