September 27, 2002
Iím writing this from rainy Columbus, Ohio.† Itís been a steady rain since early last evening.† Everything has been soaked through and through.† Itís a good day to stay inside and write a journal entry.†
Readjustment to life back in America continues for us.† Our experience in Bulgaria is beginning to feel further and further away.† I imagine myself climbing the hill of the fort in Silistra in the fresh snow Ė the quiet snow of winter.† I sometimes find myself speaking Bulgarian to myself and am surprised how much just rolls off of my tongue.† I remember traveling around the Balkan region with a backpack and a guidebook Ė just showing up in a foreign city not knowing the language and whose history dwarfs my existence.† As much as we longed for home on those long weekends in winter with not much to do but keep warm I canít help but feel a sadness that that adventurous part of our lives is over.† Thereís a quiet mourning inside of me for our two years in PC and Iím trying hard not to romanticize it.† The pressures of life in PC are much different than the pressures back here.†
Iím hearing assumptions in American dialogue that I hadnít noticed earlier.† We make statements about personal rights that we assume are universal and relevant to every culture.† We assume that everyone in the world is concerned about his or her rights as an individual and that they have the power to change what lies before them.† I can remember going out of our block apartment on to a sheet of ice that covered all of the cityís sidewalks last winter.† It was incredibly dangerous.† Old women who were barely able to walk during the summers months, tried to navigate the rutty ice.† And if a person fell in front of someoneís home she didnít try to fix the blame on someone or a group of people, she went to the hospital and tried to heal as quickly as possible.† Things like that just happen.† Thatís life.† We make assumptions about the plenty of everything in America.† That was eye opening to me when we lived in Bulgaria.† When someone said, ďno moneyĒ he or she really meant it.† There were no resources to draw on to find money.† Even as a ďpoorĒ American college student, one can find student loan money and live a relatively luxurious life.† There are government programs, charitable organizations, and places to go to find help.† But I remember the feeling of realizing that for many there simply is no safety net in life.† The breeding ground of fatalism.†
I find myself talking to people and feel a red flag go up at times when I hear a statement with which I donít agree.† I know that somewhere within me an experience from Bulgaria has informed that feeling of disagreement, but I donít yet have the words to express what it is.† It bothers me and sometimes, later on, I remember why I disagreed or the right words come to me and I wish that I could go back and express my experience to balance out what I heard.† Or of course, on the other hand, someoneís opinion or statement could resonate within me and for some reason I know why it does much more quickly.† Iím unsure why but I can recall an experience that supports what I heard.†
I find myself getting immersed back into our lifestyles here.† Bulgaria is beginning to feel a world away.† But thereís a catch now.† My field of vision has increased to include a whole other culture.† Even more than before I think Kate and I want authenticity and genuineness to our lives and not live on a level that only satisfies our human need to fit in.
Copyright 2000/01/02, Josh and Kate Miller.