Every year I experience serious anxiety and depression during the days leading up to my birthday. Refer to the May 2008 blog for why this is if you do not remember. Last year’s bout was particularly bad, but I believe that was due largely to the fact that for the three weeks prior, a bad Easter egg had ruined my digestive system and thereby my life. Even so, I dread the day. This year with so many things going on both in my life and in my head in the preparation to leave Bulgaria and seeing the days and weeks zoom right past me, I did not have nearly as much time or energy to wallow in my birthday hatred. I more just wished it would come so it could go. However, all my worry always seems to be for nothing, for my birthdays in Bulgaria have never been bad.
This year was no exception as spring/summer finally came, blessing us all with the ability to wear tank tops and sandals. I met some of my favorite people in Sofia, for a day so low key that it was great. The Bobos plus Ljudmil (Sehee’s boy), Maria, Teddy and Billy spent the day with me shopping, eating, lounging in the park reading magazines and criticizing what passer-bys were wearing. The most amusing part of the day came when we went to Billy’s amazing hotel room his parents got for him and played the Ben Kramer game and contact spoons. Now the Bobos are fans of spoons. We have been known to play this with whatever materials are available – sugar packets, straws, you name it. This year it was my bracelets (because let’s be honest, I wear enough for the whole of Sofia to play spoons). The contact part of this game came up when Billy suggested we place them on the bed so that a race and dogpile were necessary to come up victorious. By the end of the night I was bruised, sore and wearing bracelets that were oval instead of round. It was great fun, however, and I am glad I was able to spend my 25th birthday with such fun and fantastic people. The ones sticking around will be greatly missed.
The following Monday at school my kids were super cute and remembered my birthday. Each class pooled their money and bought me flowers and gifts of jewelry. I was really touched. I do not think I realize how hard and sad it is really going to be to leave them. I do not know how ordinary teachers do it year after year. Every day a lot of them beg me to stay for one more year and ask me why I have to go. My only answer is that it is time for me to move on to something new – I am young and have a lot of the world to see. They do not understand this. I am also really terrible with goodbyes – I always have been. Rather than make a big deal out of it, I prefer to just slip out and move on. This method only covers up actually dealing with situations or getting closure, so I am probably going to have a real thick dose of not-ready-to-be-in-America-yet when I come back. I am not expecting the transition to be easy. In fact, I am coming up with every possible way to avoid the process all together. I am refusing to commit to anything. Even something insignificant like getting a phone means I have to stay in America, and that idea frightens me. I mean no offense to any of you by it, but I am not sure American life is ever going to really fully suit me again. I do not feel a burning desire to come back to the states, perhaps because if I do, I feel like the life of adventure is over. Maybe I just need to get over this. Anyhow, for all of you who will be around when I return, I ask for your patience and understanding. Things are not going to be the same – I have changed in every way you can and might be like a stranger to many of you. But I am going to try and make the best of it.
I should also back up and give a very public thank you to Miss Sarah Kesselman for scoring us Kenny G tickets. Truly an only in Bulgaria moment, Janel and I had 5th row seats to admire those curly locks and swoon to easy listening jams. We had two extra tickets so our original plan was to find some hotties on the street who wanted to join us for this special night, but I think the hilarity of Kenny G might have been lost on them. We ran into Billy outside who was attending with his colleagues so he invited Ashley and Neil to take our extra tickets. However, after the show and in order to document that this great occasion really happened, everyone wanted to get a picture with Kenny. I was certainly onboard, but quite hesitant as Sarah’s boss, the agent who got us the tickets, was actually there and I knew this news would get back. When I worked in the industry I learned that the trick was to appear like you belonged, not that you wanted to be there. This was the thing that bugged me the most – that you could never legitimately be a fan – and why I hid loving Hanson from the management group I worked with for a year and a half. Granted I am not a fan of Kenny G and if he knew the real reason we stuck around like dorks to get a photo with him, he would probably be offended. However, the action is within the same context. The others were dismissing my hesitation, but less than 48 hours later Sarah tells me the first thing her boss tells her when he gets back is how her friends waited to snap a picture with Kenny. My fears were not unfounded and now my reputation is ruined! Regardless, the evening was fantastic and I can boast with chuckles that I have now seen Michael Bolton AND Kenny G in concert… in Bulgaria no less.
Anyway, I am not feeling super insightful or particularly funny right now to make the rest of this very interesting. I am busy doing mundane things like planning for a huge party I am throwing for a lot of the volunteers in a few weeks and working on the yearbook we decided to put together. Student council-y things that suit me well. School ends in 3.5 weeks, but it seems like we are barely there anyhow. I am also trying to get a dance ready for the kids to perform for the last day of school and finish planning my summer adventures.
I hope everyone is well. I love and miss you all.