© 2012 Daniel 016

Red Dragon

Dear friends…

Last night, around midnight, I received an email from Martha Howard, the associate director of the William and Mary graduate accounting program. I use GMail, so the first dozen or so words are always previewed in my inbox. It read:

“Dear Daniel, I am very pleased to be able to attach the following letter! If you have any…”

My heart skipped a beat. I’d been thinking of the school all week. The temperature here in Bulgaria had recently plunged, transforming my relatively mild walk to work into an antarctic expedition. Attending a top graduate accounting program in sunny Williamsburg seemed like a dream belonging to another world. Yet, here it was. I clicked on my email.

“Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to the Master of Accounting (MAcc) Program at the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary.”

And just think – I wasn’t even considering graduate school a few months ago! Life really is magical. I never could have imagined as a kid that I’d get far outside of Chicago, much less attend schools across the country and work in both Taiwan and Bulgaria. I’m excited to see what else is in store; the world is an endless oyster for the curious mind.

I hope that my students can share in that sentiment, too, and yearn for the vastness that awaits outside of this country. As human beings, we tend to operate in paradigms. The notion that “this is just how things are” is comfortable, seductive in its safety. But we have so much more potential; we are the universe experiencing itself. I can’t exactly fly dozens of Bulgarian teenagers around the world, but I can bring a little bit of the outside world here.

This past weekend, we celebrated Chinese New Year. I bought a bunch of ingredients and invited a fellow volunteer and several of the older students to my house on Saturday morning to help prepare food to share with my girl scouts. We started by cleaning the big table in my living room to make a big working surface; then, I started going around and setting up stations to get an assembly line going for the potstickers and philadelphia rolls that were on the menu.

For the potstickers, we had different people rolling the skins, adding in the meat, folding the pouches, and frying everything up. For the sushi, we had people working on the rice, slicing ingredients, and assembling the rolls.

It was a great experience. The process was a bit slow, but a lot of laughs were had. Mistakes were made, but we adapted and each batch of dumplings coming out of the pan turned out better than the last. We arrived at the activities center about two hours behind schedule.

Unfortunately, the inclement weather had resulted in most of the scouts being absent. Luckily, the day was saved because I have a class full of young boys (Saturday morning English) and they were definitely up to the task of helping us clean the plates. I tried to eat as many of the ugly potstickers at possible, to protect my ego. I also brought some sesame snacks and seaweed crackers. I had shrimp chips, too, but I forgot them while rushing out the door; it looks like I’ll just have to… take care of them myself.

All in all, this was a good month. My visit to Romania went well and it was great to see the hostel owner, Roxana, again. I’ll probably return once more in a month or two because I forgot the cord for my electric shaver there. Besides that, though, I think that the new few months should be relatively predictable. Apart from our Peace Corps Close-of-Service conference at the end of March (administrative duties, hooray), most of my time will probably be spent in town, running the programs I’ve started.

Anyways, as always – thank you, everyone, for your support, especially through the past few (well, 21) emotionally-trying months. I’ll be seeing you soon!



  1. Crystl
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 9:27 am | #

    Your adventures are pretty awesome ^_^

  2. Ev
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 11:59 am | #

    What a memorable way to celebrate Chinese New Year Dan :)

    I’m sure the girls and boys will remember that for years to come.

    Congrats again, my friend. Take time to ‘bask’ in that magical feeling. God is great and I’m glad you’ll be in Virginia!

  3. hc
    Posted February 12, 2012 at 8:27 am | #

    Congratulations, Dan! Perhaps we will see you on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg checking in on the plantation’s progress! God is good – all the time!

  4. Jar
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm | #

    love it! looks like so much fun. :)

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