Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why a blog?

Established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, the Peace Corps' mission is simple: to promote world peace and friendship. There are three equally simple goals underlying this mission: (1) helping the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; (2) helping promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; and (3) helping promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

For the next two years I will be serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bulgaria, where my primary assignment will be teaching English as a foreign language. I hope to meet the first of the Peace Corps’ three goals by proving to be a competent English teacher and getting involved in secondary projects such as environmental education. I hope to meet the second goal through my teaching and by integrating into the community and making new friends. What about the third goal? Well, that’s where this blog comes in. This is primarily for friends back home who have never been fortunate enough to visit Bulgaria. Maybe it will inspire you to visit. Maybe you will be content to live vicariously through me. Either way, the hope is that, if you follow along, you will gain a better understanding and appreciation of Bulgaria and its people. For the most part, the blog will be a photo blog with minimal text ... in short, a window to Bulgaria through my eyes (or through the lens of my camera).

In case you are wondering, the photo on the title page is from a place called Божи мост (God's Bridge). I think it's fitting for this blog for several reasons. First, most obviously, the bridge forms a natural window to the Bulgarian countryside behind it. Second, the father and daughter walking hand-in-hand under the bridge are symbolic of one of the first things I discovered about Bulgaria: almost everything here revolves around family (oftentimes dysfunctional, but family nonetheless). Third, this is a place you won't read about in guidebooks because it isn't particularly special by Bulgarian standards. Natural beauty abounds in Bulgaria, and the landscape here is littered with hidden gems like this. I'll try to capture as much as I can to share with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Wishing you peace, health, and happiness,


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