Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | September 22, 2012

Finding time …

It has been more challenging this year to find time to write, to bike, to take long walks with my favorite gal. Why? Oh, yeah, I’m teaching three classes this semester instead of the one I taught last fall.

I remember those heady days of September 2011. So much time, so many opportunities to ride. I was shedding kilos by the day (see, I talk Metric when I’m over here), thanks in part to all that bike riding. Also, thanks to some difficulty in adapting to either the food, the water or both.

But I was discovering things all the time about this place, about myself, about the ability of Melody and me to adapt to a new environment. This year, there have still been discoveries, but they’ve been more slow in coming and so my pace of posting to the blog has been slow so far, too.

Here are a few nuggets (I’ll have more when I get my hands on a video I took of a recent bike ride near the Macedonian border):

— Teaching three writing-intensive classes means lots of papers to read, lots of classes to organize, lots of students’ names (and faces) to learn and remember. It has also meant fewer opportunities for me to write.

— One of the benefits of a heavier teaching load? I feel more comfortable in the classroom this year. I showed up last fall with all the knowledge gained over a 28-year newspaper career, but I wasn’t always sure how best to deliver that information. I’m getting better at it this year. But preparation still matters — and that takes time. Um, meaning, fewer opportunities to write.

— We’ve got a new apartment this year (friend alert: We are ready for visitors whenever y’all want to come.) It has taken some time to get all the things in place that we needed and wanted to make our little house a home. That’s happening, slowly but surely.

— When I get a spare hour or two, I’m still trying to get out and ride. Did a 90-minute ride this morning, went for about the same time the other day. Trying to get out 3-4 times a week. But the weather has been worse for riding this year than last; we’ve lost several days to rain. The good part about that is that more rain means more time to, well, grade papers.

An old dwelling stuck into a hillside on the road heading east out of Blagoevgrad.

— We haven’t done too much traveling this fall, but we did get to Romania a couple of weeks ago to see our friend Adrian Danciu (see the red dot north of Drobeta-Turnu Severin). We went with Adi and some of his friends on a little cave explore and they took some awesome pictures. It was a long trip (10 hours, probably, from Blagoevgrad by car.) But it was worth it. Beautiful area and some spectacularly difficult driving on narrow rocky and rutted dirt roads deep into the hinterlands).

Here are a few shots from there (courtesy Cristian Tzecu,


Melody, Adrian Danciu and me.


Two for tea … and tea for two …

— Last weekend, we had the honor of attending our first Bulgarian wedding (this one was Bulgarian-Italian). What a blast, as two sweet friends of ours, Diego Lucci and his long-time fiancee Brani danced the night away to the traditional — and not-so-traditional — music of this place. Beautiful people, lovely couple and fun-loving guests. Not even a daylong rainstorm could dampen the festive mood.


Diego and Brani.

— And we found out this week that Melody is going to Russia to help recruit new students to AUBG. We tried to convince the school that we’d do double the recruiting if they brought me along. Turns out the school has a long-standing policy against sending two professors on the same recruiting trip. So … it looks like I’ll be staying home. That means more time to grade papers, prepare midterm exams and pedal into the hills around Blagoevgrad. Maybe I’ll even blog once or twice during my quiet evenings at home. 🙂



  1. I absolutely love how you and Tune have thrown yourselves into the experience. This year (wow, you’re in your SECOND year of this adventure), you sound so much more relaxed and comfortable with the situation and it is very apparent you two have built a life in Bulgaria–definitely not touristas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: