Sunday, August 31, 2008

Baby, it's cold!

I went back to Bulgaria recently with my dad and brother. I served my mission there and my dad is originally from there.

While there, my dad got really sick. I play doctor at work, so I diagnosed him with too much milk products (he's lactose sensitive), too much activity with little sleep, and too much annoying family members.

However, ALL (and I do mean ALL) the Bulgarians (family, friends, acquaintances) said he suffered from too much cold. It was a pleasant 80-85 degrees while there. What cold you ask? Cold water, ice, and leaving the windows open at night.

You see, Americans apparently are full of sickos because we like to be cool when it's hot. Bulgarians are afraid of the cold. I truly don't understand it. When Dad and I went back about 10 years ago, we could not find ice. Some restaurants had ice and when they did, we would ask for LOTS of ice. That meant to a Bulgarian to give, at most, 3 small pieces (their ice comes in the size of an oversized marble--maybe Milkdud size).

Here's a picture of my cousin (in the red), my aunt (dad's sister-in-law), my dad, and me. Notice Chinka's clothing? Yeah, she's wearing a woolen vest, with tights, and a scarf. When it gets really hot, she'll remove the vest.

Anyway, Bulgarians are starting to use ice a little more now, so we were able to find some. But they came packaged...seriously. You know the bubble-wrap you get in packages? The kind that are fun to pop? Well, imagine something similar, but instead of air in the bubble, there was ice. And the plastic was some kind that was demon-made because it was thick and hard to get the ice out. I lost so many pieces of ice to the dirt floor because of the devil inspired packaging.

Dad had planned on staying 2 weeks after my brother and I left, but once he got sick, he wanted to come home with us. So, after some expensive cell phone calls and texts, we got his ticket changed. Once he got word that he was coming home with us, he had a miraculous recovery. Ok, not miraculous, but he did start feeling a lot better.

He said that he won't be going back again. Of course, he said that 10 years ago when he and I visited and it was literally 100+ degrees there.....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dobrey Doshlee na Bulgaria

That's "Welcome to Bulgaria" in Bulgarian for the non-speakers. This picture is the sign into my Dad's hometown. Just so you know, the name means "city/town of Ivan" and my Dad's name is Ivan in Bulgarian. But the town isn't named after Dad--Ivan is just a very, very popular name. In fact, in my family we have my Dad's uncle Ivan, Dad is Ivan, his niece is Ivanka, she is married to Ivan, they have a grandson named Ivan, Dad's brother has a grandson named Ivan. YIKES!

So, let's look at another fun picture of Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is getting more and more American. Too much, in my opinion....but that's a different post. Notice the sign beneath the big M? It says McDrive and that means they have a drive thru. Although no one was using it while we were there--and it was busy. I don't think the lazy American way has caught on there yet.

Let me show you one more picture from Bulgaria. This is one reason why I love Bulgaria. I love their open market shopping.

See the men on the left side of the pic? After I took this picture, I wanted to get the other side and so pointed my camera that way. The tall man standing in front of the 2 older men in lighter shirts (the tall man is looking at me) quickly walked away right after this pic. A lot of the people there still have Communism fears--picture taking means they can find you anywhere.

Also, notice the cobblestone street. I absolutely love that look. But it plays heck with your shoes. I ruined so many shoes while on my mission. In fact, many of the sister missionaries wore Doc Martens (I called them combat boots) because we just couldn't keep our shoes from developing holes so quickly. I never got into that look--I just kept buying shoes or wearing my holey shoes.

More pictures to follow......

Friday, August 29, 2008

Who is still reading this?

It's been so long since I've written anything. I'm thinking that now I'm writing just for me. Which is fine...I like me and find my conversation interesting.

I've been in a slump for a long time. It actually started getting worse around the time I went to Bulgaria. I know that my sleeping problems are a big part of it. And Bulgaria was definitely not good for sleep--the travel, the time difference, the bed bugs all contribute to lack of sleep.

But, now I'm back and looking foward to my trip to Hawaii. Which will probably mess with my sleep again--the travel, the time difference, but hopefully no bed bugs.

What was I talking about? Oh, depression. I'm trying to change my thinking to help. I've decided that happiness is something that we work for...not a state of mind. But, it is work and I'm lazy. I want to find happiness in my cabinet or drawer and pull it out whenever I need it.

One thing that has me thinking even more is moving. As scary as that sounds, there's a part of me that gets very excited by the prospect of moving to the Mountain West. I love the mountains and always have. But, once again, I'm afraid I'm looking to just open a door to happiness--thinking that moving will solve my problems. I remind myself that it's not a problem solver, but rather a problem trader--one set of problems for another.