I am convinced that I caught my cough from Tante Eva or Oma in Germany; it had been getting progressively worse throughout the trip, and the second-hand smoke that is ubiquitous to Eastern Europe was not helping. After getting back home Monday morning I slept a solid 9 hours, then in went to bed again at seven in the evening for another 14+ hours! I guess my body was telling me to rest. Thankfully, Julia gave meds she had left over that fixed me right up.
Wednesday morning I woke to the ringing of my landline phone; no one ever calls me on that line except my landlady. When I answered, I was greeted by a cheery “Happy New Year” from Denitsa. She was back home for the holidays. We decided to meet for lunch with Vesela at—you guessed it—Baalbeck, which is what we did today.
Over the last two weeks, I have met a total of 7 former graduate school classmates (Andreas, Meike K., & Sven from QUT; Meike F., Justin, Vesela, and Denitsa from USC)
For the last couple of months, there has been talk of upcoming ремонт (remont) of the office—basically just busting out a wall to give the place a more open feel, and then repainting everything. I assumed this would be done in our absence during the Christmas holiday. However, when I returned to work on Tuesday, I found furniture and equipment piled up in the corners, plastic draped over everything, and the beginnings of demolition (pictured.) My Belgium coworker, Chris, says it looks artistic and calls it an ode to Sarajevo. Problem is, nothing has happened since; everyone continues to work—sharing computers and desk space, creating paths between piled up furniture, etc. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion this is going to take longer than the promised one day—in that Bulgaria is a lot like South Carolina.