Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ah, Pleven, at last!

I finally arrived here in Pleven last night and I'm currently staying at the Hotel Face in the center. I'll be staying here tonight as well but hopefully moving somewhere else very soon because it's kind of expensive. Well, maybe not by US standards but I could spend about what I'll pay for a three-night stay here on a month's rent in Bulgaria. In general, though, things aren't very expensive here. There are tons of restaurants, cafes and bars in town and it's very walkable. The hotel is located in the middle of a pedestrian thoroughfare, and is close to the City Gardens. My school, the Foreign Language Academy, is situated on top of one of the few hills in town. Everyone who works there hates this hill. And I get to feel all smug about it because by San Francisco or even Seattle standards it's a piece of cake! It's got maybe half the incline of the one my mother lives on. In any case the slightly strenuous walk should keep me in shape, although I imagine I'll be walking a lot here anyways.

At the school I met a lot of my fellow English teachers and other staff members. Everyone was very friendly and I got several invitations to dinner (and one offer to find me a Bulgarian boyfriend!). I sat through several meetings, mostly conducted in Bulgarian, and one with just the English teachers to discuss how I might structure some lesson plans. They think I should incorporate some information on American culture, as that would most interest the students. I'm trying to think of creative ways to do this so if anyone reading this has an idea, please email me! I'll be teaching all five grades in the secondary level (8 through 12) and each of those is made up of three groups of about 25 students each. So that will be 15 classes per week, possibly adding on a few more 'elective courses' if enough students are interested. If all the scheduling goes well I should only have classes from the late morning to early afternoon and I will definitely have Fridays off so I have more time to travel on the weekends. I have at least ten people to visit across the country and we have plans to meet as a group sometimes (we might go to Istanbul in a few weeks!). We don't have much time off until the winter holidays but apparently the spring will go by very quickly because there are so many holidays then. I'm excited to get to travel some more while I'm here.

I looked at two apartments today, one of which is livable. It's nearby a nice park and 'Macedonia Square,' which is in the middle of a neighborhood known as 'Orange County' because a lot of rich people live there. I liked the place a lot, although it's a bit small and needs some repairs done. If the place I'm looking at tomorrow doesn't work out I think I'll move in there, although it won't be ready for a few days so I may look for a cheaper hotel. The other apartment I saw was further from the center and in a grim-looking communist era building. Okay, both of the apartments are in communist era buildings but this one was a little too grim for me to handle. The light was out on the lift, so we took it up to the sixth floor in the dark (creepy!) and then entered what was supposedly a recently remodeled flat. I won't go on and on about it but it did not appear as advertised. Tomorrow I'm viewing a flat close to the school, which is also close to the center. I'm hoping for the best so wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. Update: I moved into the flat on Macedonia Square, pictures coming soon!