Friday, June 21, 2013

Changes in Bulgaria

It has been about a year now since I left Bulgaria to study in Norway.  There have been many changes in Bulgaria in that year.  One of them is that the Bulgarian people are taking a stand against the corruption happening in their government.  In February this year (2013), the protests became so strong that the government resigned.  This meant new elections on May 12th for a new government. 

This article titled ‘What’s happening in Bulgaria’ gives you an idea of what’s going on in Bulgaria.  It was shared by some of my Bulgarian friends and Peace Corps volunteers on Facebook.

Sunday, September 16, 2012 case you're one of many asking me about living in Norway and attending the University of Tromsø (UiT) in the Arctic Circle for the next couple years, click here to go to my new blog - Peace Studies and Adventures in the Arctic.  You can also see new pictures from Norway, and my summer travels there.

Many thanks to all of you who have been reading and written comments to me.  If you want my new address, send me an e-mail..and, I apologize if I have not responded to comments, e-mails or FB is a little overwhelming getting adjusted to studying and meeting so many new people again.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today is my last day of service with Peace Corps in it makes sense that I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately. For instance, when 123 of us volunteers met for a U.S. orientation before leaving from Washington D.C. in May of 2009, and went through a 3-day orientation at Panagurishte (in Bulgaria), followed by 2 months of language, cultural, and safety training – we were taken care of most of the time. Either we had Peace Corps technical trainers or language trainers teaching us or giving us tasks, or my Bulgarian host family took care of me – meaning they cooked, cleaned and washed my was frowned upon by the Bulgarian family when I tried to help out. We were in close contact (daily) with the staff at Peace Corps..

And now, fast forwarded three years later, I see my dependence has significantly changed from the Peace Corps to my good Bulgarian friends. I know that if I have a question or problem, I can always count on one of them to help me, or find someone that can help answer my questions. 

So..through many chats I’ve had with friends here I have a list to write about..but I haven’t had the time to develop the ideas fully..but, here are the bits and pieces..and I still think they’re pretty interesting.

Here is the longest word in Bulgarian..on a hike earlier this year, Emo helped me learn it..and remember it :)

Neprotivokonstitucionstvovatelstvuvaite(Непротивоконституционствувателствувайте) and apparently means ‘not to take actions against the constitution of the country’

..and talking with Asen on the hike, here is a tongue twister

"Три вещици разглеждат три часовника "Суоч". Коя от вещиците кой часовник разглежда?"

А сега на английски!

Three witches watch three swatch watches. Which witch watches which swatch watch?

Втори урок, английски за напреднали:

"Три вещици-трансвеститки разглеждат три бутона на часовници "Суоч".

Коя от вещиците-трансвеститки кой бутон на часовниците "Суоч" разглежда?"

А сега на английски!

Three switched witches watch three Swatch watch switches. Which switched witch watches which Swatch watch switch?

Трети и последен урок, английски за абсолютни професионалисти:

"Три швейцарски вещици-кучки, които имат желание да си сменят пола, разглеждат три бутона на часовници "Суоч". Коя от швейцарските вещици-кучки, които имат желание да си сменят пола, кое бутонче на часовниците "Суоч" разглежда?"

А сега на английски!

Three swiss witch-bitches, which wished to be switched swiss witch-bitches, watch three swiss Swatch watch switches. Which swiss witch-bitch, which wishes to be a switched swiss witch-bitch, wishes to watch which swiss Swatch watch switch?

Oftentimes during conversations here, Bulgarians fall back on old proverbs or are a few of the many, many, many I have heard:

Рано пиле, рано пее – Literally translated, it means ‘The early chicken sings early’ – I relate it to our saying The early bird gets the worm

Стискъм палци – I cross my thumbs – Instead of crossing their fingers, Bulgarians cross their thumb ontop of their finger for good luck

Искаш ли красива бяла птица? Would you like a beautiful white swan?..One of the teacher’s use this with students..students are graded on a scale of 1-6 – with 1 meaning basically an F, and 6, an A. If you see how the teacher's elaborately drawn 2 easily resembles a swan, you'll understand :)

Аз ти показвам плевника, ти му търси вратата – I’ll show you the barn, but you find the door

When crossing paths with fellow hikers – Добра среща – meaning ‘Good meeting’

..and when you go to a café for coffee, they always give you a little rolled was one of mine..they are always difficult to translate:
Един Българин –жайдутин, двама Българии – сговорна дружина, трима българи – чета с предател
..hmm, I forgot the translation of this one

One of my hiking friends Bai-stan:

Един човeк пи от радост

Друг човек пи от мъкост?

И друг пи от сутринта...

Meaning – One person drinks out of joy

One person drinks from sorrow

..and yet, another person drinks from the morning..

In Bulgaria, the women’s traditional dress worn when dancing traditional Bulgarian dances is called a ‘no-siya’ (Носи)..and in every region, the no-si varies..I found the different styles of dresses almost as interesting as the different styles of traditional Bulgarian dance, depending on the region. Here is a map, showing the dresses by region:

..this map comes from

One of my many amazing hiking trips was to Hija Derminka with a large group of friends to celebrate Mira’s birthday. Mira in English, when translated, means Peace..and her aura and presence is always one of peace..Her birthday celebration was one that I will never forget.

We hiked through lots of snow..

we christened her with her hiking name,

we ate, we danced, and she performed beautifully a set of Bulgarian dances in Tradional Bulgarian Dress.

At one part in the evening, the whole group got up to sway to the music from this Bulgarian group ‘Shturtsite’ (meaning Crickets) – The song is translated as ‘The Oath’ is in Bulgarian, but the group based most their songs off the Beatles..and basically, the song is about friendship, and Bulgarians remember it from a Bulgarian movie titled was a very memorable weekend.

Update to Indian post from December 2010

In 2010, I posted how surprised I was at how many people in Europe know so much about the stories of Native American time passed, every once in a while the topic pops up again..and here is the trail of authors that have acquainted Bulgarians with our Wild West history:

Vinatu – the popular Indian movie based on the book by Karl May, that Bulgarians like to watch

James Fenimore Cooper (the popular American who writes about Native American Indians – he wrote the Last of the Mohicans) (1789 – 1851)

From there, we come to the German writer Karl May – a well-known German writer who wrote many popular books about the American wild west, amongst other writings (1842 – 1912)

Which leads us to the author Thomas Mayne Reid– An Irish-American novelist who wrote about the untamed Wild West (1818-1883)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sini Vir and Mt. Rui

Life just doesn’t get much better..2 awesome hikes 2 weekends in a row, hanging out with old friends in the evenings, dancing my final evenings of Bulgarian Traditional dancing, learning a new language all over again, and excited for all of the craziness ahead!

Climbing at Sini Vir in Velkio Turnovo
5 out of our group of 30+ made it to the summit of Mt. Rui that first day..oh, and then later on, Stancho and Penka decided to summit at midnight..crazy Stancho :)

This is part of our group that summitted Mt. Gotse Delchev..another fun, cold, rainy day..fortunately for us, there was a shelter halfway up, and Chomaka stayed behind to light the fire in the stove, so we could warm up again half-way down
So..I posted 3 new Bulgarian songs that a friend sent me that I really like.  You can listen to them (at the top of the page), labeled Bulgarian songs.

I’ve posted and labeled a lot more pictures – you can click here to see them, or scroll to the bottom of the page and click Tricia’s newest pics

I added more videos to the page Ludo Mlado, just click on the link at the top of the page.

I added another page ‘How-to’s in BG’, just click the link at the top of the page.