Saturday, January 7, 2012

Travels and Adventures, Winter 2011

It turns out that I'm not nearly as good at keeping this up during the school weeks as I had hoped I would be. So here's an attempt to fill in some of the gaps since the last post...
Me and some colleagues in the school caf

The wind-up to the winter vacation was pretty hectic, starting the week before Thanksgiving, in fact, when the international faculty hosted a huge Thanksgiving dinner for the Bulgarian faculty, staff, and their families (about 250 people!) in the school cafeteria. It was a wonderful event. Phil somehow managed to sign up for Turkey Detail, meaning that he led the cleaning, brining, stuffing and roasting of 24 turkeys. All told, a successful project. 

Prague Castle and statue, from Charles bridge
Phil on Charles Bridge
We then spent the Thansksgiving break relaxing and catching up with good friends in Prague, a city I had never visited. Cold, damp, and foggy, it was a perfect early-winter atmosphere, conducive to frequent beer stops and lots of heavy Czech food (even though I didn't partake in the porky parts).

It was an awesome trip, and one that definitely made us realize how ready we were for a longer break. The next three weeks were equally busy at school, with lots of holiday activities added in with the usual frenzy of academic work before the two-week hiatus.
Phil "Santa" Altman. Notice the pillow-shaped belly he as sporting.
Highlights from the extracurricular activities included Phil's stint as Santa Claus at the Staff Christmas Party and my first Balkan Dance experience onstage at the Christmas Concert. Pretty fun.

Braiding the students' hair before our performance
There we are dancing.

Manhattan Bridge, with BK Bridge in the background
Despite another snowstorm that began early Thursday morning (22 Dec) and continued late into that night, we made it out of Sofia with no problem and back to NYC on Friday, 23 Dec. We had a fabulous week and a half with our families and friends. Being back in NYC was a reminder of how nice it is to live close to your peeps; there's just no replacement for being able to sleep on your parents' couch and get up and walk to to the Met to see the Islamic Art wing the next day, for example. Or taking over your sister's living room for a week, having a great New Year's party with your favorite people, and then playing in a stellar pick-up game of ultimate frisbee in McCarren Park the next day, as another example. Or having nearly your whole family close enough to gather for Christmas Day and a post-New Year's party. Only in New York!
Margaret and me on the beach, New Years

Cousins Reunion Dinner, NYC

That being said, we are glad to be back in Sofia and ready to start Round 2, Year One of the Bulgarian Adventure. It was a special treat to be able to spend the holiday with family and friends, and now we're hoping that some of them might feel inspired to head east for a little taste of life on this side...

To all the friends we missed on this short excursion home, we look forward to catching up in the summer!

MamaDog, the unofficial campus pet, at left, says, "Честита нова година на всички!" Happy New Year to all!

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Raff! So glad you two had a great time back home for the hols... Ouisie and I are TX bound this TUESDAY! Cyrille joins later in time for her 1st birthday bash.... My folks are up to 80 (!!!) invites.... everything must be BIGGER in TX! Let's catch up