Hello everyone! Sorry its been so long. 10 days to be exact... my bad... Bulgaria is busy, especially when you throw in overnight bus trips to even more foreign countries.
Since my last post, I went to Turkey!! Istanbul was BEAUTIFUL. And so interesting! And I ate some great food, bought too many scarves, about half a million Turkish men hit on me (they think that will get the money out of my pockets, pshhh.), I slept next to THE WORST SNORER IN THE WHOLE WORLD at our hostel, went to museums, fell in love with a kitten, and now I have a new fascination with Muslim culture. I learned so much in 3 short days. And It only cost me $250, round trip with food and a bed and handfuls of Turkish delight! I took 330 pictures. I think I liked Istanbul a little :)
This week in Sofia, our leader Jessica has been in Romania with her brother, so the days have been a little slower than most. BUT I think all 5 of us are thankful :) We've been getting much more rest and we're all catching up on our Harry Potter reading. (we're going to see the last movie with some Bulgarian friends, I CAN'T WAIT. I'm 22 but I'll never grow up.) We've spent our free time planning arts & crafts, and also working on plans for a mural we'll be painting with the boys from the camp we're leading next Monday-Friday in Razgrad.
These boys are all living at a juvenile delinquent center in Zavet, and we obviously don't know all the details - but the camp director has suggested we cover topics like forgiveness and acceptance in our daily lessons. I'm really excited, but we're all a little nervous about how the boys will respond to us. They are from 11-18 years old, so planning arts & crafts for them has been a little challenging. But - I LOVE ART SUPPLIES and I like to consider myself crafty :) So I've had a really great time trying to put things together, and we've searched all over Sofia for our supplies. We're smashing plates for mosaics. And making manly friendship bracelets & playing with clay... its gonna be so much fun. I'm really excited to meet them. And we will be with 2 other teams from Trevecca too, so there will be 17 of us that can speak English!!!! hahaha it will probably be music to our little tired ears :) [sidenote, I've heard rumors of us possibly getting to visit an orphanage. And while no one should really be excited to visit a sad place like this, I'm really hoping I'll get a chance to go. Learning about the needs of kids in Bulgaria was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Bulgaria this summer. It weighed on my heart for weeks, and I feel pulled in that direction for some reason... so I'm hoping I can go visit for an afternoon.]
Here is a preview of what we're hoping the mural will end up looking like. If not... its okay :) FLEX.UH.BILL.UH.TEE. I'm learning it over & over this summer. - - -
Our schedule for July - We'll be in Razgrad (6 hours away from Sofia by bus) for 5 days, then onto Montana (2 hours from Sofia) for 6 more days, where we'll be meeting & getting to know the youth group from the Nazarene church there. Then back to Sofia for 6 days, we'll get a little rest hopefully, and some last chances to spend time with the kids we've met here. Then we leave the 21st for Stubel (a village 2.5 hours from Sofia) for the last 10 days, where we'll be putting on a camp for the village kids, & painting/winterizing the church we've been working on since the beginning of June. A W&W team from Washington state will be there to help us as well, so we'll be meeting even more people!! Then on Aug 2nd, we leave for Zagreb, Croatia for our Immerse de-briefing. We're there for 7 days, and then we fly back to America. - WOAH. whirlwind.
Its all so exciting, but its A LOT - I'm scared the month of July is going to go too quickly. And I'm already positive I'm going to miss all of this so so so much.
So, our planning for the boys camp is ALMOST done, and we leave Sofia after church on Sunday. (We're leading worship. In Bulgarian. hahah hopefully the members have some mercy on us!) BUT - on Saturday we're having some of our friends from the high school across the street come over to play cards & watch youtube videos & maybe teach us some more Bulgarian folk dances. We. Love. These. Teenagers. They have been the highlight of our trip so far. If i'm honest... I'm really sad to leave Sofia. Zavet & Montana & Stubel are going to be fun, but I'm always wishing we had more time. Relationships need so much time. Its a real frustration for me at this point. SO I GUESS I'LL JUST HAVE TO COME BACK ;)
BUTTTT anyway. Pray for us through July - its going to be crazy, and I can't wait!!