Dobur den! Like the title of my post says, the semester is winding down. I’m currently in my last week of classes and I am finished with everything except for two exams and a creative writing revision. Today I managed to get all of the smaller potatoes done and my last paper for poetry. (I’ve been so productive. I keep looking at my to-do list and thinking “I actually did everything on it? Surely there must be some mistake!”) It’s strange to look at my weekly homework/assignment list and realize it’s growing very, very short. All I have left to do is begin the rounds of goodbyes and get (lots of) papers signed for transferring my credits home. Ah, the exchange student paperwork. How I hadn’t missed it.
Last weekend, among other things, I went to an AUBG student concert and souvenir shopping with my friend Elizabeth. We wandered into an antique shop and the poor shopkeeper was trying to tell us about her items in Bulgarian, and we were just like “Sorry, we have no idea what you’re saying, but apparently this is old because it’s 150 leva?” I’m proud of the amount of Bulgarian I’ve learned, since I can generally communicate, but not that much… I think I’d need at least a few years before I’d understand a lot of what’s going on around me.
So, something I’ve realized about myself: I love souvenirs. (I mean, I knew this before, but I’m only now realizing that it’s a problem.) I’m not talking about classy souvenirs, like nice scarves or clothes or even a T-shirt with “Bulgaria” printed on it; I’m talking about coffee mugs in lurid colors, magnets, bookmarks, playing cards, ornaments, the works. The cheesier the better. Usually I don’t even want it for myself; I’m just like “Oh how cute! I’m sure there is someone I can give this to!” and then I look at my pile of souvenirs and realize there was no point (or wisdom) in buying it. NO MORE, I tell you… maybe… unless I realize there’s five inches of space in my suitcase. (Just kidding, Mom, I swear. Really I’m done.)
I have one more day of classes (tomorrow) and then just my two finals next week. It’s a bit sad to be ending all the routines I’ve formed this semester; the ways I’ve found to fill time during long breaks, walking with my friends to and from class, paper-writing sessions and lots of procrastination. It’s different somehow from a semester ending at Marshall. Although maybe, now that I’m more aware of how each semester is its own routine and memories, I’ll realize next semester that it’s something that happens with every little phase of life.
All right, I guess that’s really about it for this week. No travel adventures, just Blagoevgrad ones like hunting for yummy banitsa, trying to figure out the appropriate way to wear a scarf (I’ve never really worn them before, but I’ve started because a) they’re warm and b) everyone here wears them and they’re so pretty) and watching all three extended editions of Lord of the Rings with Kevin and Jenny. (12 hours total.) We had our first snow on Monday night! The weather here is crazy. Up, down, up, down. The mountains that surround Blago are white now, though, which is really beautiful.
This weekend I have lots of goodbye-events; a dinner with the fabulous group of AUBG writing tutors, an evening at a mehana (traditional Bulgarian pub) with my Bulgarian language class, and maybe something fun with my church group as well. We’ll see. I’m lucky to have encountered so many incredible people this semester and to have had the experiences I’ve had.
I have very mixed feelings about going home next Friday. I’m so excited!!!! I miss my family so much. But I’m also a little sad; the first part of the semester I counted down the time left, and ever since I got back from fall break I’ve tried to ignore time passing more. The part that makes me feel better about it is that I will get to see some of these people again, and I can always come back to Bulgaria. Who knows what will happen? I’m planning on writing two more blogs after this one; one next week when I’m finished with finals and in the process of packing, and one when I get home. Completing the circle, of sorts, since I wrote a blog at home before I left.