December 21, 2008

Deluged by Devin Difficulties: Part I
Devin, Bulgaria

In many ways the past week in sleepy little Devin has been one of our hardest weeks in recent memory. We've been struggling and fighting a draining uphill battle against a staggering number of external forces, which I'll "summarize" in five topics: Power, conversation, Christmas, relocation, and flights.

(Sorry for the long read on the subject. I write such things down to share, but more importantly, so that I'll never forget.)

Crippling Power Outages

Every day we've been here (except the weekend, yesterday and today), the power has been cut to the house. Sometimes it lasts for two hours. Sometimes it lasts from 10am-5pm. It always comes on by dusk, and almost always goes out before noon.

The problem is that everything in this home is electric, so when the power goes out, we're pretty much left in an absurdly crippled condition. We can't heat the room. We can't blend foods or cook a warm meal for ourselves or (more importantly) our son. We can't use our laptops for more than an hour or so without the batteries going dead. We've no reading material (save for my guidebook, of which I've grudgingly read uninteresting chapters for countries that I won't be visiting for years to come), and it's too bloody cold to go walking around outside, exploring a town that we've already seen and have little interest for.

We're basically in an annoying holding pattern when we've got a tremendous amount of work and research on our plates.

Thankfully, the water still runs without power, so that I can at least fill a glass to drink and take a shower (with a flashlight in the dark) from the powerless, yet still-warm, water heater reservoir.

Giving up on Georgi

As I might've mentioned before, we were actually looking forward to meeting Georgi quite a bit. Devin's moderate allure was only amplified by what we thought was going to be an interesting, outgoing and experienced CouchSurfing host.

Sadly, only two of those assumptions would turn out to be true.

Tatiana and I have decided that Georgi's what a person acts like when all the passion in their life has been completely drained—as if the detached man has literately had his spirit amputated.

We wanted so much to make a connection with our host (after the bad taste left in our mouths after our previous stint in Plovdiv) that we initially worked overtime trying to engage and interact with Georgi.

As we normally do, we tried to coordinate our dinners with our host's arrival from work so that they can come home to a good meal and warm conversation. But the power outages that sometimes stretched into the late afternoon kept us from doing this on several occasions. Even when we did have dinner waiting, it was hard to get any type of feedback—we really didn't even know if he even liked the stuff we were cooking.

I have enough life experience that I can generally find common conversational ground with most any one, but the passionless, taciturn Georgi would by and large only give closed, single-word responses to my open-ended questions (that should've required more than a 'yes' or a 'no' to respond to). He never took much of an interest in our stories, even though he said he was following us online as we slowly approached from the north.

Adding to all this, the power outages during the day ended up pushing the large majority of our daily tasks and projects into the evening, after our host had returned from work (as an engineer at a large dam being constructed nearby).

At some point I just gave up trying to talk with Georgi (hell, we couldn't even watch movies together on my laptop, because he simply doesn't like movies). I would physically remove myself from his presence so that I wouldn't have to sit there in silence with him. Tatiana kept trying for a few days, but eventually ended up just sitting in the bedroom with him and Aidric, each quietly working on their computers (with me doing the same the next room over).



The United States


March 18th, 2010

Maybe he had a personal problem and is one of those people who shuts down. Maybe his English wasn't good enough to communicate or maybe he is simply a quiet type? Wasn't there any Rakia or Vino to cheer him up?

Note: Comments are open to everyone. To reduce spam and reward regular contributors, only submissions from first-time commenters and/or those containing hyperlinks are moderated, and will appear after approval. Hateful or off-topic remarks are subject to pruning. Your e-mail address will never be publicly disclosed or abused.