Waking to the sounds of the trams outside our apartment window, we ate a delicious breakfast of waffles and nutella whilst we excitedly discussed the day ahead.
The first challenge of the day was to somehow drag our suitcases brimming with glitter glue and pipe cleaners, down the steep spiral staircase with the temperature already over thirty degrees. We were bundled into taxis, who took us to the coach station, where we began a three-hour journey to Stara zagora.
When we arrived at our hotel, we wee pleasantly surprised to find there was a lift-no more stair workouts for us!! Our rooms were also lovely and spacious and we spent the afternoon finalizing our lesson plans and preparing resources.
For dinner, we found a restaurant where we could sit outside and watch the activity on the street, including a march with fire sticks, and join in with the locals shouting at the football on the tv screen.
After the long day of travelling, we were happy to have some time to think about the day ahead.
Theo and Lucy X
We had an incredibly early start after a long day of travelling the previous day (not many smiles around we were pretty shattered). We were all up by 7am ready for breakfast at 7:30am. We were not used to the breakfast we were served as we arrived to a plate of feta, tomatoes and toast which wasn’t fab for Immie the vegan!
We had left the hotel by 8:15 and packed all our supplies that were in various bags into the boot of a taxi. We did not expect to be sweating from 8am onwards so the air conditioning in the taxi was much appreciated.
After a short drive we arrived at the centre, which had been newly renovated for our benefit. We were greeted by the Vice Mayor of Stara Zagora and a large number of youth workers who were able to translate. We had a few welcoming speeches including one from Gancho who is our Bulgarian contact who helped organize the project.
The children were split into 4 groups based on age and difficulty of lessons, and we began our lessons (rather nervously!). As the temperature has been predicted to reach the 40’s some days, outdoor activities had to be finished by 10:30am. This meant that all the groups started with a few icebreaker activities, then went outside to play various games including Frisbee, duck duck goose and volleyball.
When everyone was tired and even more sweaty, we came back into our classrooms and started our lessons, some included colouring of animals, arts and crafts and even in one group, break dancing lead by the translator which all the group got involved in!
There were a few difficulties as we did not expect the children to have such a wide range of English and academic skills therefore this caused us to rethink a few of our plans and adapt them to the certain age groups that we were given.
Once we had sorted this, the lessons ran smoothly and the day was full of fun and laughter.
Various groups even taught us simple Bulgarian language as we thought it would be good for them to be in our shoes and for us to also pick up some of the culture. We learnt how to say hello (“Zdrasti!”) and we were learning their alphabet.
We felt as if the children were excited to come and spend the day with us and this was emphasized by the smiles. Savi, aged 11 said “I’ve been waiting for you to visit us for ages, you girls are like celebrities to me.” This made us feel really special and as if what are doing is such a huge deal for them.
We are so happy that we are making a difference to them, and we are excited to continue the week.
The evening will consist of relaxation time, dinner at the hotel, a debrief and reflection of the day!
Hope you are all enjoying the weather back home (it’s hotter over here anyway!) and not missing our incredible selves too much (you deffo are lets not lie…)
Lily and Reianna x
NB dodgy internet - photos to follow!