Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day Four in Sofia

Ah, maybe we are in the honeymoon period (probably), but so far I gotta say we are really liking it here. Our home is in an area surrounded by green lucious foothills and it is just breathtaking. It is so wonderful to have such a refuge and to have that refuge be our home.

On our second night in town, our social sponsor (a very nice couple, without kids), took us to out for dinner. The food was awesome. We started off with an appetizer of chopska salad, which included the most yummy tomatoes topped with a soft white cheese, cucumbers, goat cheese, etc. . .. Then, we had yogurt cucumber soup and chicken shish kebab for dinner. There was live traditional music. It felt very much like eating at a traditional Greek Taverna. Our only problem that night was that dinner (as will likely be the case here often) didn't start until 7:30 PM. The kids were loving it, but by about 9 PM, they were done. Oh boy did the melt down begin. So, finally at 10 PM, we left. But, we left in the car we bought from a departing employee, so we had our own wheels on Day 2 in town. And, I got the GPS working, so woohoo!!!

I've now programmed the Embassy, our house, schools, a grocery store and a co-worker's house into the GPS. So I am mobile and it is a great thing. Everyone seems amazed that we are getting around on our own already and got our internet and cable tv set-up so quickly. All I can say is THANK YOU to one Seiji's co-workers who has been a G-dsend in so many ways!!!!!

So, yes, we have a GPS and we are using it. We heard there were three ways to get to the school from our house. So, we drove via the easiest route (until we could get the school programmed into our GPS) to the school. It is a beautiful school. Then, we put in "home" to see what route it would take us. It suggested a different route, but for some reason we thought we needed to get back onto a main road first. Big mistake not listening to "Richard," our GPS navigator. Richard said "go right," followed by the baby repeating "go right, daddy." But, no, we went left back out onto the main road. It re-routed us and boy did it re-route us!!! We took that third route, which was referred to by our neighbor as the "off-road" route. Boy, was it ever. It was more off-road than we ever expereienced in Timor. We did see a section of the mountain we live on that we would never have seen before and, G-d willing, will never see again (talk about getting car sick - yikes). We saw a portion of the Roma community and how they live (quite different from what we've seen in Sofia so far). From what we saw, it is a much more peasant-like experience with more shack-like structures than houses for the Roma (or what we think were Roma). Roma, by the way, are what we always grew up calling "Gypsies."

After FINALLY making it back to a main road, we stopped in the little village that is just a mile or two away from our home. We started off by going to a central part of the village to park, but immediately a drunken man came up demanding money (lev) for parking. There is no charge for parking and we didn't want Seiji taking his wallet out in public. We didn't pay and got back in the car. The guy stuck his body in the door so Seiji couldn't close his door. Eventually we got rid of him and got out of there. He was just a drunken villager, who probably thought, "ooh Americans, an easy mark." Next time we will either keep a few bits of change in our pocket to give or just learn how to deal with this type of thing without the change (we will definitley have to ask our neighbors what they do.) So, we head back toward our house and see a traditional restaurant where we stop. We ordered ice cream sundaes that were quite yummy and this made the adventure all worthwhile to the boys who were getting a little bit tired of "exploring."

Later in the day we drove to the Embassy, so I could get that programmed in before I have to drive there myself this week. All along the way, Richard would give directions and the baby would copy him. It was like we were on repeat. It was quite funny.

And, so, those are our latest adventures for now.

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