Welcome to Fun City.

Today is the culmination of our first week in Bulgaria on our EVS (European Voluntary Service) mission in Stara Zagora with the Association of Contemporary Art and Culture; Different Vision.

We arrived back in Stara Zagora in the early hours of this morning. We have just spent the last four days, July 4th-8th, in ΒΑΡΗΑ(Varna). Varna is the second largest city and the costal capital of Bulgaria.

We departed Stara Zagora at 15:27 from the train station. The train was very old. The doors didn’t stay shut properly and the windows didn’t stay open. The sun was sweltering and there was no air conditioning. It was so hot I was struggling to think and found it an impossible feat to stay hydrated. The journey was six hours long and I loved every minute. At no point, was there no thing to stimulate.

    As I began to write, looking out the window I saw a huge expanse of fields full of beautiful big bright yellow sunflowers arranged amongst an irregular patchwork with mountains in the far distance. Maybe, I will eventually work out what intrigues me about the large abundance of dilapidated buildings. Some which stand alone in the middle of the Bulgarian countryside and some stand amongst the towns. The towns vary from the rustic settlements, which sit timelessly, juxtaposed with the cities which depict the forced development of a body of people.

As the sunset over the sunflowers, my camera batteries died. We arrived in Varna at 21:45.

We ate and met with the friends and colleagues of our organisation and eventually moved down to the beach and enjoyed the full moon.

A late night lead to a late morning on the 5th. Tsonyo, a young Bulgarian man from a smaller town near Varna, came and sat next to me in the midst of the Fun City festival. Watching a diversity of people enjoying the atmosphere, we discussed Nikola Tesla, sustainable energy and global governments whilst exchange snippets of language. I am now aware that, Bulgarian schools teach English as a second language; so, comparatively, my Bulgarski was very poor.

In the evening, our personal mentor, Mircho, took us to meet some of his friends who were preparing to do a fire show. Kindly, I was allowed to have a go with one of their staffs. When I tried to hand it back gratefully, he refused to take it and told me I would be taking his part in the show. This was the first time I had spun fire and the first time I had performed this kind of show, but my goodness, it was exciting.

Friday, for Me and Simon, was a day of food. We began with a disappointing breakfast at an Armenian restaurant. The misleading menu was made up for with the service by the endearing waitress and our poor communication. We then wandered through the festival and down to a bar on the beach where we sat and ate more with a magnificent view over the black sea. Once we’d eaten, we strolled up through the festival and into the city. Outside a hotel, was a woman sat reading auras with a piece of technology. I watched with amusement as a customer handed over his money. But still, I was curious and approached with scepticism.  Surprisingly, I found her reading to be paralleled with my personal perception of my own balances.  After, we crossed the street to eat more; a main course each and a large sushi platter to share. Once we had eaten, we met up with the NGO youth conference to join them for their meal; three courses and some Horos (Traditional Bulgarian Dancing).

Saturday we began our day by joining the final meeting of the NGO (non-government organisations) youth meeting. This was incredibly interesting. A collection of Bulgaria’s most aware young people, working for the benefit of the people.  That night at the festival culminated in a hip hop freestyle workshop. This was incredible to see! It was majorly appreciated by Varna’s youth, yet the crowds were filled with families and people of all ages, from elders to their grandchildren!

We started our last day in Varna with traditional Palachinki, a Bulgarian pancake rolled with a variety of fillings. I had strawberry and white chocolate. Mmmm. We then drove a little out of town with a friend of the organisation to purchase some circus equipment for future workshops and our personal needs. After a 30km drive out of the city we arrived at a beach, the biggest in Bulgaria. This was refreshing to be away from the hotels and noise of the city. Upon returning we went to a hugely busy restaurant and ate a shared dinner and rushed to the train station. We arrived back in Stara Zagora early this morning at around 04:00 am
.

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Sofia to Stara Zagora

We touched down in Sofia at around 01:00 am and had to get a taksi to the bus station. Lots of fumbling linguistics and the pre-empted note from our Bulgarian partner, Teodora, managed to land us at the bus station.

Our bus to Stara Zagora departed at 07:00 am, so we had a little wait.  The wait was fortuitous in the sense that we met our new friend, Graham, during the wait. Graham had come from Bristol to his house in Bulgaria to acquire passports for his cats to come back to Bristol with him.  He was waiting for an 11:00 am bus and after chatting with him for a while he decided to get on the same coach as us.

After a long coach journey through the beautiful mountainous Bulgarian country side, we arrived in Stara Zagora and were greeted by our new Bulgarian partners and friends, Teodora, Moses and Mirho.

Once we’d checked out our new apartment,  and dropped off our luggage at our new home for the next year, our friends took us to see the city and get some food.

We wandered to the central park.

Simon and I perched in a big old tree to chow down in the shade whilst the sun blared and children played.

Once our tummies were happy we strolled over to the office building of the ACAC – Different Vision organisation. We were introduced to the space and the people and the office space in which we will personally be working.

As we headed back towards our apartment we stopped in a haberdashery shop to purchase pillows, which have taken the names of our buddies back home. My pillow is called James, Jimi for short.

By now, the time was about 01:00 pm and we still hadn’t slept, so we returned to our apartment for some vital rest.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Moses came to wake us up at around 06:00 pm and took us to get some more food. This time we had huge sandwiches from his favourite fast food place. I had the triple chicken. Delicious and far more nutritious than British fast food!

Afterwards, we moved to the office space to talk through technicalities, our duties, the history and culture of the area, our plans for the coming weeks and more still!

 Once we were all clear, we were introduced to the derelict building which ACAC are planning to renovate into a boarding art centre!

The building is incredible architecturally but they definitely need some elbow grease.

So much more to come.

Here is to a huge blank canvas!

Circles

As I began to write this, it was Saturday 23rd June 2012. Saturday is the sixth day in the cycle of a week. In the cycle of a day, from the sunrise in the east, the sixth nodal compass point which the sun will pass through, is North West, which means, this time is the twilight of the week and time to reflect on the proceeding cycle.

The week commencing 18th June was our last week as ‘Bridging the Gap’ at Waldorf College. Not only was it the last week of our term and of our year, also it is the last week in which this course will run, as our funding has been withdrawn.

Monday Inspires Sunrise:

Monday was a day for soldering stained glass windows with the wonderful Johannes.   I began the week with three pieces of work to tie together, and began this day by compiling the first.  As the completion of the rest of the work required waiting for certain resources, the best place to spend the time before lunch was working in the glass room!

I spent the rest afternoon in the glorious sunshine armed with a didgeridoo and my good friend, Josias.

Tuesday Motivates Midmorning:

Tuesday was another stained glass day and a chance to tie up loose ends. I almost stay home this day because I had allowed myself to become too comfortable. But once my head kicked in, I realised how ridiculous those thought patterns were.  After leaping and tearing around the morning, I arrived at college late.

Deciding that the ‘quiet study’ area was far too noisy to work, I set myself in the office to work on the last reports I had to write. Finished the first and compiled the last. I then took them home to finish, where I could use the vital resources to finish my very last piece of accredited work.

At this point, I was feeling grand!

Wednesday Perspires Noon:

Wednesday was a day to compile our accredited folders and sign off all our work.

We began the day with the lovely, lively buttercup, Amelia, and her final session on team building, in which we compiled the whole module.

After the session, I compiled my folder and ticked all the relevant boxes; which Josias, Sophie and I decided to celebrate with a Mortons Sandwich. Delicious.

On walking back to college, meeting our respective ‘head’ Caroline Kelly, led to the questioning of whether I did have everything compiled. So I decided to wait for her to return to college to talk it all through. This resulted in an hour-long nap. Glorious. I like to call this patience.

Upon her return, we engaged in conversation, which led to Caroline being convinced to allow me to produce a ‘Values and Viewpoints’ worksheet for my peers and I.

This was a brilliant opportunity and once it was completed, I had the time to finish my stained glass piece.  Which meant I had completed the entire content of the course! For me… that was incredible.

A first in my life!

Thursday Rejuvenates Mid-Afternoon:

Thursday was our official last day of term and the main objective was to clear all of our collective glump out of the college building.

We began with a session with Caroline completing the ‘Values and Viewpoints’ worksheet, which was our very last piece of accreditation as a group.  After this session, we proceeded with the grand clear up! We split into working groups assigned to certain rooms and just smashed the cleaning! BAM!

Feeling rejuvenated, we gathered again for a closing session. A time to reflect, on the year and the course, as a group; this culminated in us writing a declaration of our own experience of the course. Mainly filled with lots of gratitude.

In our lunch break, I ran to the green grocers and filled my pockets to bursting with an abundance of fruits! My favourite.

On returning and expecting the shared lunch, we were presented with a wonderful Gratitude Ceremony. We took it in turns to take the centre of the circle at which the group then proceeded to bombard whoever had stepped in with all and any gratitude, which we felt to be necessary. By the end, everyone was glowing.

As the day, year and course finished and we milled around taking our time to disperse, I had engaged in a conversation with led to the agreement that, on Friday, a small group would partake in a session, which I’d organise that night. I went home and began to plan.

Friday Honours Sunset:

Friday I decided to lie in till ten. Lazy. But once I’d arisen, I finalized the session plan and set off on my way to college. Upon arrival, I found the college empty, except for the wondrously warm hearted Tyla Hadland, who was cleaning all the floors in the building.

I set up my session and waited. No one who had agreed turned up, so I grew bored. I decided to offer my aid to Caroline to utilize the time I seemed to be wasting. This consisted of compiling every ones work into their folders and running Caroline to Stroud College to sort out every ones EMA payments. This felt nourishing.

  I returned home and began to sort through every other aspect of my life which seemed to be cluttering my room, my desk and

my mind. Once I was feeling less cluttered and more comfortable, I dedicated some time to some very good friends of mine; family, really. We kicked a ball around in the park and hunted for bugs to photograph!

Saturday Reflects Twilight:

Saturday morning was early rising. It was spent working through all the clutter and documents and everything I own; tying up to do’s!

From mid-morning to early afternoon, Jon, Sophie and I spent the time wondering around Stroud and the town was buzzing! One man busked, in a very professional manner, with his guitar and his microphone whilst just around the corner a group of Morris Dancers were jingling merrily.

Once we had returned home, I found myself up to date and together. This had me at a loss. So I began to consider the approaching week. This week is my last in the country before I fly to Bulgaria for eleven months, so I’m sure you can imagine, there is plenty needed to be tied up. With this in mind, I began to reflect on this week.

Sunday Integrates Midnight:

Sunday, today, I rose early and focused on awakening fully.

Then, I began to compile this body of writing.

Today’s main item is to visit the brilliant Sandy Ascenso Carreira during the Open Day at the ASHA centre, the organisation that is sending us to Bulgaria.

I will follow this post by preparing a token of appreciation to present to ASHA and by being a part of the cultural diversity of the ASHA Centre Open Day – ALL ARE WELCOME AND ENCOURAGED!

whats the story morning glory

working away in the waldorf college

This, see, is my first blog. i plan to keep account of my thoughts here.

now, please feel free to explore and reflect on them; in fact, i implore you do.

something fresh in these airs.
something which blessed the dreamers.
what was it? a catalyst. a spark which flew and landed in our hearts.
start now and we’ll show the fire how to burn.

foundations; what separates man from beast?
our ability to harness fire as a tool.
so ‘harnessing’ nature to ‘aid our survival’.
but does it really?
can we? should we?
the expanse of human creation is incredible, yet ones separates it from oneself.
we, as a species, have the knowledge necessary to survive and thrive!
we are aware of every integral aspect needed to create a “Utopian” society.
but can one exist?

we are nature and vice versa. work with it.

more thoughts; the animal kingdom is dictated by Darwinian law.
which is a struggle. which, with emotion implemented; dictates suffering.
the humanitarian ideal would eradicate suffering and implement freedom.
does order have to contradict freedom?