Earlier in the month, HPR and I presented at Shmoo's pre-K class for Peace Corps week. Well, HPR did most of the presenting, since he is the one who owns a traditional Bulgarian costume and learned how to play the gaida.
[Not pictured: All of Shmoo's classmates covering their ears. The school has a rule preventing publication of photos of the students.]
I got to hold an abbreviated-napped Roo as I tried to teach the steps to the Bulgarian hora and braid martenitsi with the kids. We love Shmooie's classmates and teachers. Shmoo beamed in pride that his parents were in his class. Once da Roo abandoned her clinginess, she had fun playing with the big kids (photo below doesn't show faces, so it goes in. Also, note the martenitsi on the wrists!). It was a great day.
[The kid in yellow later asked me whether Shmoo's beat-up water bottle is "what Bulgarians use to drink out of."]
Later in the week, we learned that Shmoo's classmates who go to Head Start were telling their bus driver all about Bulgaria. "Their flag has red, green, and white stripes!" "Look, I have a martenitsa - you wear it in spring until you see a stork! Then you tie it on a fruit tree!" "Yogurt is from Bulgaria!"
Just after I heard this, the bus driver came into the classroom and introduced herself to me. She is from Bulgaria (the rose capital) and has lived in Frederick for ten years.
I can't help imagining it. Say you're a green-card immigrant from a country that most Americans know nothing about. You drive a bus full of rambunctious 4- and 5-year-olds. Then out of nowhere the kids start telling you details about your homeland's customs and heritage. Our years of service were worth it just to have the opportunity to give someone that kind of surprise.
Peace Corps turns 50 next year. We'll probably continue to do Bulgaria presentations until the kids beg us to stop. Which will probably be just a few short years from now. Embarrassing your kid: the easiest job you'll ever love.