Rotаract Preconvention in Toronto

The 2018 Rotaract Preconvention may be over, but I had a great time meeting new friends, learning together, and getting inspired for an exciting new Rotary year!Happy 50th anniversary, Rotaract!

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My first half marathon outside the States!

I could hardly ever run 600 meters in high school. Last Sunday I ran my second half marathon: 21 km of running, singing, and dancing in the rain. First half marathon outside the States. Europe next.

Toronto, I’ll be back in October for the marathon.

Happy Father’s Day!

I grew up in Septemvri, a small town in Southern Bulgaria. I will always remember sitting in the yard with my family and friends, the smell of my grandmother’s homemade bread, the fresh vegetables from our garden, and our dog’s soft barking. I had a good childhood and could find many reasons to stay in Bulgaria but knew I would have to look beyond my small town to fulfill my ambitions.

It was a cold February morning when my grandfather took me for an interview with the Fulbright Commission’s United States Achievement Program committee. This was the first time I was interviewed in English.

And so, I began the process of applying to colleges. I had to master a language, take the standardized tests, and learn to navigate a foreign application process. This was the easy part, though. I had to convince my family that applying to U.S. colleges was the best option for me. They had always instilled in me the importance of hard work but moving 4,000 miles across the ocean was a big step. However, I specifically remember my father spending his weekly wages to register me to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (#TOEFL) and driving me to the test center in Plovdiv.

Thank you, dad. Happy Father’s Day!

18- ти феврурари 2017

Не бяха виждали се четири години те.

Тя бе отишла в Европа да търси щастието; той останал бе в Америка да търси своето. Минаваха се годините и те двамата пишеха си, ала не бяха се виждали.

Той отишъл бе да я изпрати на последния им ден на същия континент – спомняше си още как виждаше я да маха от вагона на метрото и да отива за летището.

Престрашил се бе тоз наш юнак в тоз ден да хване автобуса и да отиде да й каже

“довиждане” с мисълта, че отново ще се видят и ще бъдат на един и същи континент.

Събрал кураж бе тогава той.

Сложил бе костюмът и отишъл бе тогава да хване автобуса да се сбогува той с нея.

Ала оттогава изминали бяха цели четири години. Разстоянието помежду им разделяше ги, но продължаваше той да мисли за нея и не беше я изтрил от съзнанието си.

Избликваха хубавите спомени от моментите им заедно и отново той пренасяше се обратно във времето. Мечтаеше той отново да се видят. Само двамата. Да излезнат на среща.

И окуражи се най-накрая тоз юнак и със затуптяло сърце потегли той високо в небесата. Дошло време бе те да се видят. Да се видят и да се прегърнат. Да се посмеят заедно и отново да бъдат на един и същи континент, макар и само за два дни.


The night before I left Bulgaria

The night before I left Bulgaria, I had dinner with my family, godparents, and best friends.  The people I loved were saying goodbye to their son, brother, grandchild, godchild,  and a friend. I remember my grandmother smiling at me while we were eating the bread that she made.  It is a typical Bulgarian tradition to make this special bread when there is something to celebrate. All my grandmother wanted was to see the joy that we experienced from what she had laboriously prepared.  And the big smiles on our faces were enough for her to know that she had achieved her goal successfully.

That night was special for me and my family.  Throughout the 4 years in college, I would often go back to this evening to re-energize myself.  To inspire myself.  I sacrificed a lot to be here, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Saint Patrick’s Day 2010

Shortly before I came to America, the local Rotary club in Pazardzhik got in touch with the Worcester Rotary Club and notified them about my arrival, kindly asking the club members to welcome me and help me with my adjustment. One of the club members, Val, responded and eagerly accepted to welcome me to Worcester and the local Rotary community.

She introduced me to the Worcester Rotary Club, made me feel at home, and ensured I had everything I needed. She knew I didn’t have a laptop and a printer, so one day she told me to prepare a presentation about Bulgaria’s culture and traditions and give a talk at the Rotary Club of Westborough on Saint Patrick’s Day. Val even got me a green tie for the occasion. I remember spending a late night in the empty Higgins Labs 116 rehearsing the day before the presentation.

I was living in the dorm, she picked me up, and there I was talking about how I went last night to the library to print a couple of papers, answering her question about any related expenses I’ve had. A short ride later, we arrived in Westborough.

The room was full of Rotarians. The District Governor and Past District Governors were present at the meeting.   It was the club’s 41st anniversary. I gave the USB with my presentation to the Past District Governor and sat down. I saw a laptop and printer on the desk, but I didn’t question why they were on the desk.

We had corned beef and cabbage, the traditional Saint Paddy’s day meal, for lunch, and it was my turn to present. Suddenly, everyone was looking at me. We exchanged club flags, and I started talking. At the end of my presentation, the President of the Westborough Rotary Club took the microphone and thanked me. A few other people stood up and gathered next to me, then they all looked at me: “Georgi, do you see that laptop and printer here? They’re for you!”

I was not sure what was happening. The Rotary Club of Westborough and the Rotaract Club of UMASS Medical had teamed up to get me the laptop and printer on the desk! Val later told me she had known about this for a week and was relieved to tell me out loud that my computer and printer challenges were now over!

During one of their meetings, they had discussed getting me the gift because Val had told them I was a good student, was struggling financially, and they wanted to help me have everything I needed for my success at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). The week before, they had taken a hat and passed it around the room asking the members to donate for “this talented student from Bulgaria who’s a freshman at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.”

It was one of those  moments where I was physically there, but I was staggered by the lovely gesture people I didn’t know would do for a first-year international student seeking to make sense of the new academic setting, adjust to the culture, and prove himself in a foreign country.

12-и декември 2015

Quincy Market бе нашарен с червено-бели цветове.

Коледа наближаваше. Две седмици деляха ни от този празник.

Не се чувстваше всякаш празниците наближаваха обаче.


Топло бе навън. Червено-белите Снежанки украсили бяха входа и раздаваха усмивки.

Майки с дъщерите пиеха топъл шоколад.

Приятели хапваха шоколад и смееха се.

Момче и момиче говореха си шепнешком и крояха планове за празниците.

Две госпожици отсреща говореха си на италиански и оглушаваха залата с техния смях.


Коледна музика тананикаше и приповдигаше настроението на всички.

Снежанките навън махаха дружелюбно и пръскаха щастие с усмивките си.


А стоеше си той сам горе в кафенето и пиеше си топлия шоколад.

Не обичаше той празниците. Далеч бе от близките и приятелите.

Сам бе в чужда държава, липсваха му милите коледни моменти пред елхата;

бумпетено на печката; пухтенето от комина; искрите и жарта.

Липсваха му топлите прегръдки и смешките с приятелите.

Липсваха му гледането на филми със семейството и събирането около трапезата.


Далеч бе той от тях, ала у дома чувстваше се в това кафене.

Усмихваха му се момичетата отсреща; махаха му русите Снежанки.

Танцуваше той на музиката и тананикаше си, че скоро ще е у дома.