Journal of a Peace Corps Volunteer

As I’m was combing through my picture collection deciding which ones make the cut to be scanned, I came across my library of 5 or 6 journals I compiled during my two year stint in Bulgaria.  I thought it would be fun and possibly interesting to others if I shared some entries from them.  I combed through, and while many of the pages were just filled with tracings of my hand, all the known digits of pi, and in-depth descriptions of completely mundane daily happenings, I was able to find a few entries that give a good snapshot of what it is/was like being a Peace Corps Volunteer in the middle of their service.  The middle part of the two-year stint was remarkable for me because nothing was new and exciting about living in the village, and the time to start planning to go home / reflecting on my service had not arrived yet.  I only flipped through one journal which had its first entry on January 11, 2005, and last on March 27, 2005.  I hope these are interesting to you all.  Enjoy.


Sunday, January 27, 2005 3:18 a.m.

Using the dial-up connection in my apartment, I am watching the ESPN GameCast constantly update the Patriots AFC Championship game against the Steelers.  Of course I blared Aerosmith, had a couple beers, and cooked tubed meat before the game started.

24-3 at the half!! Woo Hoo!! Things are looking pretty gosh darn good for the Pats right now.  The two biggest plays are the one play drive with a 60-yard touchdown pass Brady to Branch, and Marvin Harrison’s 87-yard TD interception return.  Pats football, baby, don’t turn the ball over and big players making big plays when needed.*  So needless to say I am psyched right now.  Looks like it’s Sofia in 2 weeks, woo!  I’ve also decided I’m not going hunting next weekend and I’ll just tell those guys that I’m not allowed to use firearms or I’m gone.  It will make my life ssooo much easier for next weekend.  Scratch needless to say I’m getting pretty tuckered out right now.  The way the first half went, this game isn’t gonna get over until like 5 o’clock.  I think I’ll set my alarm for 10am just so my sleep’s not totally screwed.  I’m glad no one from town is here.  I would much rather sit here and look up from my book when I hear the clicking of the update instead of having to talk to people.  2nd half about to start.  GO PATS!!

 *After re-reading that line, I can’t believe how corny that sounds.

Tuesday, February 16, 2005, 2:31 pm

This is not the highpoint of my service.  I am in my office, the rest is self explanatory.

Alright, today is just a straight-up DOWN day, on the bright side, it’s almost over, but I’m not feeling great so I’m going to vent:  Starting things off, I slept like shit last night. Didn’t fall asleep until around 2, then woke up like 20 times.  So I’m beat, I spend all morning reading Newsweek, listening to my coworkers sneeze and bitch about being sick.  I can’t believe how many people complain about being sick around here, even when they’re on the phone talking business with someone, what is going on here.  And as I’m writing this right now I can hear someone in the next room complaining about how sick they were last night.  Also, it’s like 50 degrees out and the windows are shut and it’s like friggin 80 and stuffy in this room and every time someone opens a window, someone else comes along and closes it, god forbid a little breeze gets in here and makes you more sick.  So I went home, couldn’t nap, came back here, got my Bulgarian corrected, so I decided not to speak.  I started reading about all the great projects that got funding in 2004.  That really got me down for three reasons 1) it shows how hard it is to get money (FAR projects – 150 applications, 27 accepted)  2)  these were all programs I tries talking up in my office to no avail, just a reminder of the banging my head against a wall feeling I have sometimes, and 3) most of the places that got funding are these nicely developed resort-type places that have had Volunteers for years.  I really don’t want to be here right now.  Maybe I should leave the office, but where the hell would I go, to another place in this town where no one wants to do a freakin project with me.  Shit, now I’m starting to get on my own nerves.  I guess this points to the Nietsche quote, “When we’re tired, we’re haunted by demons we conquered long ago.”  Oh no, it looks like a meeting is about to start, do I have time to…..  NNOOO I’m stuck here.  I should have bounced but I was writing.  Damn, guess it’s back to Newsweek.


Sunday, March 27, 2005, 2:08pm

I’m sitting on my decks (I had one in the back and the front of my house) enjoying the explosion of life that is spring in Bulgaria.

This year I have to look into getting something to deal with these bugs back here, because once the sun goes to the other side of the house, the bugs just go crazy.  I think when I’m in Rousse this week I will look into this. Damn, I’m going to the other side……. Well just moving to the other deck seemed to have helped a bit.  The view out here is actually a lot nicer than in back.  Right now I am really appreciating the village life.  It’s so quiet and peaceful, it’s great.  Now a little local conversation between babas going on right now.  And the neighbors are taking the baby out of a little walk.  This view is just so cool, seeing the whole town’s rolling hills and everything.  Someone’s cutting wood in the background.  A group of kids are talking down the street.  Pencho’s rooster just cackled.  Someone down the street it banging 2 metal things together.  Something that sounds like wagon wheels just went down the street…….

(This description goes on for almost an entire page, but I think you all get the picture.)

So there’s a little slice of the good the bad and the ugly during February and March of 2005.  I hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading.  Don’t forget to click on the Amazon links to the left when buying something on that site, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, aor check out to order pictures featured here.

Keep on rockin’ in the free world everyone!



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