O, those songs, that smiling face. Whose voice will call and sing of me? My...– Excerpt from To My First Love by Hristo Botev
Weekend on the Black Sea
I finally went to the Black Sea coast this past weekend, and it was quite an experience. I ate bad seafood, had my first European beach experience (even old grandmas were topless), and dressed up in a Bulgarian peasant costume. Varna did not have much to do besides the beach and some cool Roman ruins, but it was just what I needed.
A fortress surrenders from within.– Bulgarian Proverb
Another Thursday in Vidrare
Last Thursday, we spent the day in the orphanage for disabled children in Vidrare as usual. We wish we could go there more often, but it is quite far from our house, and getting there every day would be a challenge. I’d say working in Vidrare is just as difficult, if not more, than working at Razliv. Here, it is easier to control the kids and take care of them, but it is emotionally draining...
Bulgarian Culture Night in Razliv
About a week or two ago, our tiny little village hosted a Bulgarian culture night to commemorate the 75th anniversary of their library (I think), and we got to see some folk dancing and singing, which was pretty cool. There were about 100 people there, aka the whole town, and the performances were great. Three of the kids from the orphanage performed a song, and it was nice to see them getting...
Taking care of kids is hard work. Now that the kids at the orphanage feel more comfortable with us, they have no problem throwing fits and making almost everything impossible. We’ve gotten kicked, bitten, peed on, spit at, our clothes pulled, and nearly thrown up on. But that’s not even the hardest part of the work we’re doing. The most difficult part for me is seeing the...
I needed a can opener to open a can of corn...
and my host mother came in, took a butcher knife and opened the can faster than I or any man I know could have opened it with a can opener. It was pure skill, and I felt like I needed to share that.
The City of Tsars
Some pictures from our day trip to Veliko Tarnovo. We visited the Tsarevets castle, walked through Arbanassi (a tourist village), and got pulled over for speeding on our way there (nice cop = no bribe necessary!). It was a successful trip overall. I tried rakia for the first time, and let’s just say that my souvenir rakia jug will not be used for rakia.
Elena: So customs has your package with your glasses and medicine. But they...– The things you have to do to have stuff shipped to Bulgaria…
In sorrow youth passes, in sorrows and pains, Angrily boils the blood in the...– Excerpt from The Struggle by Hristo Botev
Head Shakes, Name Days, and Other Crazy Things
Some things about Bulgarian culture that are way different from what I’m used to: * Bulgarians shake their head for yes and nod for no. Even if you’ve been here for a while, it’s tricky. When I ask a taxi to give me a ride and the driver shakes his head, I always start walking away. * Beer costs the same as bottled water. *I feel like I’ve stepped back in time about 20...
The Roma Slums
Elena is friends with a Romani family in Sofia, so we went to visit them before coming to Razliv. Unfortunately they weren’t home, but I kind of got an idea of how they live.
Russian Red Army Monument Vandalized in Sofia and... →
The monument celebrated the Russian “liberation” of Bulgaria after WWII, and the caption graffitied below the vandalized monument reads, “Moving with the times.”
If you can’t be good, be careful.– Bulgarian Proverb
My First Hostel Nightmare
I’ve only written about how beautiful Plovdiv was, but I have not really gone into what happened during our first night there. Until I went to Plovdiv, my hostel stays while traveling had always been pleasant. I meet tons of interesting people and I usually had no problems where I stayed. But not this time. First, after a flat tire while getting to Razliv a few days ago, our bus overheated...
Playing musical chairs at the orphanage.
This past weekend we left Razliv and headed down to Plovdiv, one of Bulgaria’s many ancient cities. For the first time since I’ve been here, I actually felt like I was in Europe. The main square was very European and reminded me of Karlsplatz in Vienna. I know some people might think that’s a bit of a stretch, but I was really impressed by how well-kept this city was. People...
Duck, Duck, Goose Bulgarian-style, featuring Stoyan and Georgi.
First Day at the Razliv Orphanage
Today we had our first day of work at the Razliv orphanage, which is a close walk from our house. We start our day there in the afternoon after the kids have come home from school. It was fun but extremely exhausting. It is our job to plan activities for the kids for the next month, and we are basically in charge of about 20 kids between the ages of 6-13. Not so easy for three girls, two of which...
Gorgeous Scenery in Razliv
A tree falls the way it leans.– Bulgarian Proverb
Vodka and Rakia: Bulgaria's Way of Preventing E.... →
A sweet word can open even the iron gate.– Bulgarian Proverb