Monday, June 8, 2009

Eating, drinking, relationships & dancing

I can't believe tonight is my last night in Sofia! I had no preconceived plans or ideas about what this trip would be like. It's a good thing I didn't waste my time thinking or planning because I would have been way off base! This trip has been life altering for me. Everything about it has changed many parts of who I am, what I think about who I am, what I think about what I am capable of, what I think about people in another country, what I think about friends, co-workers, relationships. This trip has shown me the depth of the relationships in my life and the support and encouragement people have for me. I am so grateful and realize the power of relationships and the strength that they provide. I am sure I won't realize everything until I am home and even more over the days to come.

Being in a routine, although only for a week, has created some level of comfort. The hotel is very nice and the staff has been very helpful. Having breakfast in the same place to start the day has been nice. Going to the same office most of the days to see the same faces and build relationships and share information will lead this project to further success.

The last night here in Sofia was so enjoyable! Because of the culture here where meals are big social events, we spent 4 hours at dinner! I didn't even look at my watch during the evening. It didn't matter what time it was - I was having so much fun. The tables sit at least 12 people. We didn't see any small groups there tonight. The appetizers were out when we arrive. Everyone shares from a huge platter in the middle of the table. You can imagine how big the tables are if a platter to feed 12 people is in the middle yet there is enough room to have a plate in front of each person. We all helped ourselves to cut up vegetables, eggplant/pepper mix, yogurt/cucumber salad. All this was on top of huge pita bread. This you would rip a piece off and dip it in a seasoning/salt mixture. Glasses of water and red wine were constantly being filled. Time went by while everyone continued to eat and talk and drink. They cleared that platter to bring another one. At the same time, some beautiful sounding singers started their performance. Then there were drummers. Then some people started dancing. Anyone could join in. The platter that contained the dinner had sausage, chicken, pork, potatoes and grilled vegetables. Again, water and wine glasses were replenished. More performances and more dancing. The dessert tray was the same...huge and full of options. One inch squares of wonderful desserts each with their own toothpick for sampling.

I did have to dance! The music is very easy to dance to. I didn't realize that while I was dancing someone picked up MY camera to take a picture. I am glad they did.

What great memories on this trip! I will never forget the experience and the things I have learned about life (some many parts to name but lots of material for future blogs).
My trip will be coming to an end but my writing won't. I hope you keep reading here and in any other forum that I write in.
If you are having doubts about yourself, ask a good friend how they see your strengths and gifts. Really listen. Believe them then believe in yourself. Take action one step at a time. The quality of your life and what you experience can bring you such rewards.
As my trip started out with someone I met on the plane saying "This isn't a dress rehearsal". Do what you want to do. Don't intentionally hurt anyone along the way. Live your life with passion!

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