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Archive for July, 2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about packing, moving and collecting things. I grew up in a family that saves everything. I guess that’s what happens when your parents run an antique store. This means I am used to old things and never getting rid of anything because who knows when you might need that broken-thing or when you might realize that that broken-thing might have another life in it as something different-but-still-useful or something slightly re-purposed? With this kind of thinking and saving ingrained in me from an early age (I have the sticker book, stamp collection and boxes of baseball cards to prove it), it’s been hard for me to give my things away to friends, slight harder to give them to charity and difficult to throw things out. I know that I have to do it but it’s still hard. (more…)

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I work with my Bulgarian Language tutor two times a week. As I’ve already mentioned, she grew up in Sofia and whet to college in the American South and is now working on her PhD in Washington DC. Recently I learned that she graduated from the second class of the American College of Sofia which was re-opened in the early 1990s. In a meeting with the then principle, I was told that the school accepted 50 girls and 50 boys for each of the early classes. My tutor went to this private high school; one of fifty girls. I am not sure that this is something I that I can comprehend (both the level of the competition and the serious role that school plays in one’s life). I went to a large but strong public high school in Walla Walla, WA (well I don’t know how strong it was academically but it was the only high school and we were great at sports which is what really seems to matter in a small farming town) and there was never any doubt that I would graduate from high school and attend college.

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I just got back home from a weekend wedding in Columbus, Ohio. I had a wonderful time. It was great to see my college friends. I flew in on Friday morning and out today, Sunday, in the afternoon. I studied Bulgarian on the Friday morning flight. Now that I’ve got two weeks until I move to Sofia, I feel like I’ve got to get the basics down. I’d like to be able to buy food and cleaning supplies, understand directions and read street signs. Then I landed in Columbus.

It’s a strange thing to return to Columbus. The airport really hasn’t changed since I started flying in nine years ago when I started going to college–Wittenberg University. There’s a little bit more security and a couple of Starbucks but other than that it’s the same. So, at age 27, I got off the airplane cellphone in hand with a great leather purse and my laptop only to feel like I was 19 again. Return does strange things to a person and it’s even stranger to be met at the airport by the husband of one of your college sorority sisters. Strange and wonderful.

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This is all that I am taking with me when I move to Sofia: two suitcases, a carry-on and my backpack. It means that I am frantically downsizing my life and the things that I can’t bear to give away I am sending home to my parents. They should expect a couple of US Postal Service flat rate boxes and two more boxes of books (thank-god for these two mailing options especially the mass media rate which makes shipping my favorite books home affordable). What’s not affordable however is shipping things to Bulgaria because they charge 25% of the value of the contents. So I am taking only what I can wheel and carry.

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I’ve been renamed.

It’s funny because I’ve never really had problems with my first name people read it and know it and frankly my parents planned it this way because no one ever gets my last name right on the first try. Given the name of my blog, my first name should come as no surprise: Carolyn but my last name. That’s a different story and I’ve spent my entire life correcting the pronunciation. It’s Emigh. Yes. Emigh. And it’s pronounced: Amy–just like the girl’s first name.

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I made a Fulbright application in September 2007 to Bulgaria, in late January I found out that my application had been forwarded to country and finally in April after lots of worrying and waiting the envelope came–I’d won a Fulbright fellowship. I had spent the previous two weeks coming home from work or the gym and thinking to myself: maybe tonight is the night a win a Fulbright. I’d walk into the group house I was living in and look in my mailbox and then everyone else’s mailboxes as well just in case one of my roommates had misplaced the envelope.

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