Tonight I went to my first Bulgarian parent teacher conference. A couple of things struck me. The first was that the teacher made sure to announce that there would be a prayer to Jesus Christ, and songs of a religious nature at the Christmas program. She explained that the spiritual nature of Christmas is part of the overall Bulgarian culture and it is tradition to sing spiritual songs at the Christmas presentation. However, if anyone had a problem they could talk to her and have their children excused from that part of the program. After the teacher explained all this, the woman next to me said, "Well, it's Jesus' birthday after all. Why shouldn't there be a spiritual nature to the program."
I can't imagine such a conversation at a public school in America.
The other thing that interested me was how much the teacher went into detail as to her personal theology. She said, that she teaches about everything being God. The sun, the trees, the children's parents. I almost felt like chiming in and saying, "I don't know about the rest of you, but I know I'm not God," but not being totally confident in my Bulgarian yet, and not wanting to make a fool of myself had I misunderstood, I remained silent. Another parent confirmed later that she did indeed say what I thought she said.
We also got some great news about Sophie. The teacher gave us a glowing report. She told us that our daughter is doing better in class than some of the kids who speak Bulgarian as a first language. She is understanding more and more. Though she still talks mostly in English with the teacher, she is interacting with her peers in Bulgarian. She seems to understand almost everything. The teacher said that she is very bright and very attentive.
Having received such a great report, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our good friends Charles and Shelly for the great tips they gave us in raising an American kid in a foreign school. Your advice has been very helpful to us and our little girl.