© 2012 Daniel 003_2

Капитан America

Dear friends…

Last weekend was supposed to be pretty fun, but my culture sharing session was cancelled when the teacher I was going to cohost the event with broke her arm. We were going to screen Cidade de Deus and talk about South American culture. Ultimate frisbee club was also cancelled, thanks to the cold and rainy weather.

With my work coming to a close, I find myself unexpectedly having mountains of free time. There is no last minute rush, no stream of final requests; Everything is just lazily drifting away as we head into summer. I watched a pirated copy of The Avengers three times this week after already having seen it in the Sofia IMAX theater. I was in town for a medical checkup, and getting to take some time to watch the film was glorious. The Hulk really did steal the show, and I’m glad they did away with that emo haircut he had in the 2007 movie.

But my favorite character is Captain America. He’s the weakest of the “super” Avengers, but he is the only one who, from the very start, unquestionably joins with the sole motive of saving others and meting out justice. Thor, for all his powers and demi-god status, is somehow less God-like than the Captain where it really counts. The Captain fights for a world without Peggy Carter: He has no stake, no Pepper Potts, Jane Foster, or Betty Ross. It looks like he lives in a gym and out of a duffle bag because his home was seventy years in the past.

I don’t know whether I pity him for his loneliness or envy him for his conviction. Is that what Bulgarians see of volunteers? For all our conviction and drive, is every bold act tinged with sadness? Sadness that it had to be five thousand miles from home that we exhibit our greatest charity; sadness that we can’t stay to see the process by which the seeds we plant come to fruition; sadness that we, with our limited capability, can only reproduce for our students a humble approximation of the works we envision.

Even though it’s been over half a year since I changed sites to Razgrad, I still think about Samuil often. I think about my students. I do have regrets. There are things I wish I handled more maturely, such as my relationship with my kids. Some of them were growing too attached and instead of setting clearer boundaries, I cut them off. I was afraid; In between the lines of the American notion of gender equality is, unwritten, a specific paranoia against men. Maybe it was a valid concern seeing as my life was the topic of village dinner conversations, but I could have done things better.

That is the loudest thought echoing between my ears as I wrap up my time here: I could have done things better.

People are like mako sharks. Mako sharks rely on a process called “ram ventilation” to breathe because they don’t have spiracles. Water passes over their gills, oxygenating their blood, as they swim; stopping means aphyxiation and death. Stopping, for people, means death from the human race. Human beings are many things, but probably defiant above all. We spit in the face of The Mistake. Where animals bowed their heads to cold, living by a thread by the virtue of their God-given fur, we made fire. When fire wasn’t warm enough, we made homes. We made insulation, central heating, and vodka. How easy it would have been for mankind to make fire, gloat at its dominion over beasts and nature, and stop there! Yet we did things better.

So I mean what I said optimistically, and perhaps what lies between the lines is this: I will do things better.

Here are three of my personal resolutions for myself upon returning to America, based on some of my experiences in Buglaria:
1. I will be more proactive in pursuing the things I want. When I come to a wall, I will scale it. I will not falter in the pursuit of the things I truly want, and I will not make concessions out of weakness in the building of my vision.
2. I will recognize that, however much I want to remain considerate of other people, I can’t make everyone like me. I will not sell my morals for anyone’s affirmation.
3. I will be relentlessly inquisitive when necessary. If there is any uncertaintly behind a “yes”, then that uncertainty needs to come out before it rears its ugly head later on and surprises everyone.

That’s it, really. My current life in a nutshell: wrap up my tasks, relax, and reflect. I’ll be seeing many of you about a month from now, so there’s less and less I really want to say in my blog. I’ll have one more post next month and then I guess I’ll close up this site. It has been nice.



  1. hc
    Posted June 6, 2012 at 2:22 am | #

    Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
    –Romans 12:2, NLT
    This verse came to me when I was thinking about how I was so different from those around me. To me it was God reassuring me that it was okay because I’m made that way for His purpose. Yes, we do what we don’t want to do and don’t do what we are suppose to do. We could all do better but God will use what we give even though we don’t get to see it. I love You, God.

  2. Jar
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 7:21 am | #

    you done good, dan. really. and i know you’re going to keep doing things better. because that’s who you are!

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