I later spent some time thinking about the whole situation. We’d spent the whole four hour trip wizzing by slower cars, passing them seemingly whenever we felt like it and then zipping back into our lane to avoid on coming traffic and now the son was shlepping my bags around. Cut to this week where I’ve found myself thinking about, reading about and discussing masculinity and femininity in Bulgaria once again. First, based on a novel we’ve been reading I asked my students to write recently on the question: What does it mean to be masculine in Bulgarian culture? Then for the last week (or so) I’ve been staring at this crazy billboard for Happy Restaurant as I wait to cross the street to go to school each day.
I was also taught: when in Rome, do as the Romans do (which is a pretty good rule of thumb when it comes to living abroad).
I have to admit, it was nice not to carry my bags but I felt a little bad about it.
Then I read a lot about how these ideas of masculinity and femininity appear in the lives of my students.
Boys included the need to be fit and to play sports as well as the need to occasionally physically defend the school’s name by throwing punches while girls discussed the difficulty of of balancing school and their parents expectations.
This past summer I was told by a black-Audi-driving dad that his son would carry my suitcase and bag.He followed this up with the quip: that’s what boys are for. You see in my family, I was taught not to pack more than you can carry.