Arriving on campus – first impressions

Mululu and I arrived on campus. We were escorted by a police car. He was on the back seat. No, we hadn’t done anything wrong on our first day in the US. We simply got lost and the officer offered to take us to our dorms, which turned out to be a walking distance from one another. There was campus police,  and they were willing to help us.  And they were friendly.

I had not even seen pictures of the campus until that moment. I was staying in Morgan, one of the newly built dorms.  I entered the wedge with my two suitcases, and people held doors for me — I felt as if I was a prince! I took the elevator to the 3rd floor. The brothers from the Alpha Chi Rho fraternity helped me carry my suitcases.

As I walked into the hall, I saw cartoon characters on every door with the names of the residents underneath them. I could not understand this. I thought this was childish. Later, after the international orientation, our Community Advisor gathered all of the residents on the floor, all guys, to mix and mingle. We had to do icebreakers to get to know each other; we formed a circle and each of us had to do something, the others had to reproduce it, and the next one had to do something else. I thought this was immature!

I did not need an icebreaker to make friends! Then, as the year progressed, the Resident Advisors organized a “war” between the two wings of the floor: my peers were using nerf guns, toy grenades, they even dressed themselves up in uniforms. This was such a culture shock for me! I was wondering if I was surrounded by 18-year-olds or 12-year-olds?

 

 

8-ми февруари 2014

Тръгнах аз срамежлив юнак без калпак

височините аз да покорявам.

С одежди нови и чувства неизречени,

затайл бях дъх аз да те срещна.

 

Стоеше сама ти с гръб към мен.

Стоеше ти до ледената пързалка.

Беше спокойна и замислена.

Гледаше с усмивка към пързалката.

 

Косата ти бе спусната.

Извади червило.

Устните ти заблестяха в далечината.

Ще успея ли да те прегърна отново?

 

Забързах се аз към теб.

Снежните препятствия аз преодолявах.

Ново снежно препятствие ни делеше един от друг.

Тръгнах храбро аз. Ще стигна ли до теб?

 

Затаих дъх аз. Скок.

Бях от другата страна.

Гледах те застанала още до пързалката.

Виждах край аз на този път.

Приближих се аз до теб

и те потупах по рамото.

Сърцето ми тревожно затуптя.

Обърнах се и се усмихна.

 

Поехме си двамата дъх и мълчахме.

Последва прегръдка топла.

Усмихна се отново.

Смехът ти чух аз отново.

Electrical Current in Electrolytes

It was April 18th, 2008. Boryana, Phillip, and I were in Varna, Bulgaria to present our project on the topic of “Electrical current in electrolytes”; we had been working on this project since the beginning of the school year. Our project was one of the few selected for the final stage of а National Innovative Teaching competition. The goal of this competition was to increase students’ interest in physics through a more interactive way of teaching and expand their knowledge in the subject area.

Our project got rejected the year before, but we didn’t give up. The three of us teamed up again in the beginning of the year. Boryana, our physics high school teacher, structured the material to use computer simulations of physical experiments and follow the curriculum to provide students with the opportunity for self-study. She had taken the bus to come to my house to work on the final touches of the website on a Saturday. She was one of the most dedicated teachers I had in high school.

We did a complete revamp of the website and added more animations to visualize the processes and the conditions for the flow of electric current through electrolytes on the level of molecules and ions Phillips did an outstanding job with the animations. We knew we were winning this year.

It was 9:50 AM. It was our turn to present. We took the floor and started our presentation. Suddenly, everyone was looking at me and Phillip.  I took a deep breath, smiled, and calmly began presenting. Back then, I still did not know the day we spent in Varna would bring more than just a trophy and warm memories.

 

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23-ти август 2014

Този иначе слънчев ден изглеждаше посивял.

А  стоеше ли той до стария фонтан и си мислеше наум за нея.

Станал той бе рано и подготвял се бе от сутринта да отиде в парка.

 

Там, сред хора различни, очакваше той да я види.

Да й се усмихне и да я прегърне. Да й каже думи две.

Да се разходят в парка, да се посмеят, да я покани на сватба.

 

Цървулите и одежди стари оставил бе той на село.

Тръгнал бе смелчагът с премени нови, с обуща нови, с надежди малко по-големи.

Подухваше леко ветрецът игриво, всякаш да окуражи тоз юнак.

 

Миг на мълчание продължително.

Затаен дъх. Миг на очакване. Пухкане.

Поглед притаен, трепет на листа, шушукащи за таз мома красива.

 

И гледаше той в далечината: къде ли бе тя?

Поглед вляво, поглед вдясно. Ни глас, ни позната усмивка насреща.

А времето минаваше ли то неусетно, ала чакаше той, чакаше още търпеливо.

 

Със сърце тупкащо ритмично, с походка лъвска крачейки около фонтана,

продължаваше той да си мисли наум и да гледа в далечината.

Изгубил той не бе надежда; чакаше я да се появи отнякъде.

 

Вятърът продължаваше игриво да окуражава тоз юнак,

всякаш в одобрение на тез чувства притеснителни.

И засили, и забрули той листата силно, да изгони облаците сиви.

 

И прокрадваха се вече лъчи светли, озариха поляната зелена,

пречупваха се през дърветата червеникаво прошарени и прииждаха до стария фонтан.

Отразяваха се в капките вода, пречупваха се и оформяха усмивка мила.

 

Ала не бяха това лъчите: беше нейната усмивка!

Обърна се той и видя до него застанала да стои тя.

И я прегърна, и се засмя, и стана му леко, и затупка сърцето игриво.

 

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August 18th, 2009 – First Day in America

It was 5:30 AM on August 18th, 2009.  Genadi, Moni, and I were listening to music and singing in the car. None of us had slept the night before. Genadi turned up the music. We were approaching Sofia Airport. Suddenly, it hit me: I was leaving the place where I grew up.

I checked in and was ready to go up the escalator to the gate. I took a deep breath and looked at the skyline. The Sun was rising. I remember going up the escalator smiling and waving at my parents, grandparents, and friends. Deep inside me, I knew I won’t be seeing them soon. Little did I know this was the last time I would see my grandfather.

Mululu and I almost missed the flight. We heard our names announced and hurried up. We landed at Boston Logan Airport around 3 PM EST. William, one of the American volunteers I had met during the summer, had kindly asked his mom, Elizabeth, to take us to Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s campus.

Here were we waiting outside Terminal E Arrivals, but we didn’t see her anywhere. I had her number, but I couldn’t call her because my phone had no service. We went to a pay phone, but we didn’t have quarters to make the call. This moment symbolized my departure from a world that was familiar and comfortable; I realized I had left my family, homeland, and culture behind yet to discover a whole new community, country, and new friends.

Fortunately, my friend’s mother circled around a few times and found us. She carried a big sign, saying “William’s mom” and had brought cold water for the two of us. During the trip, I was amazed by the size of the vehicles, the four lanes on the highway, the number of cars on the road. These were my first signs of culture shock.

An hour later, we arrived on campus, escorted by a police car. Mululu was on the back seat.29315_1429795870616_798754_n

16-ти октомври 2014

Времето минаваше бързо.

Часовникът отброяваше четири и половина следобед.

Ресторантът блестеше от бялата украса.

Топлината от свещите се бе разпръснала из пространството.

Цветята се извисяваха гордо от вазите,

всякаш в нетърпеливо очакване на тържестения момент.

И те, както нас, с трепетно вълнение

отброяваха оставащите мигове до шест часа.

И ето ти сама бе отново.

Стоеше срамежливо в ъгълчето. Изглеждаше изморена.

Беше тиха и замислена.

Излъчваше увереност и спокойствие.

Какво ли си мислеше?

Как се чувстваше сред близки и непознати хора?

Прикриваше се зад масата,

ала всякаш озаряваше целия ресторант.

Спрях се за миг и те загледах.

Коси руси, очи зелени.

Останах безмълвен.

Времето спря. Часовникът спря да тиктака.

The Path to an MBA

Started as a Master of Education major, but I took zero ed classes. Changed to Master of Management, then Master of Business Administration (MBA). Then I dropped out. Took a trip to London around this time a year ago. A friend of mine (she knows who she is) encouraged me to go back and complete my degree. Returned from London and started taking summer classes to get back on track. Finished in December.

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16-ти октомври 2014

Колко често се случва да се замечтаем?

Да се впуснем в облаците свободно и да поемем дълбоко дъх.

Въздишка, последвана от широка усмивка.

Въздишка, знак на замечтаност и неизречени чувства.

 

Замечтан тръгнах аз свободно да крача.

Бялото пространство обградило ме бе отвсякъде.

Накичен с китка свежа, тичах аз през пуха мек.

Крачка след крачка, облак след облак.

 

Високо бе ти този ден.

Разстоянието делеше ни един от друг.

Пътят широк разпрострял се бе пред мен.

Кръстопът напред. Врата. Накъде да тръгна, за да стигна аз до теб?