Monday, January 17, 2011


Hahaha..I have to share this. There are many times when talking in Bulgarian with Bulgarians, there are miscommunications..due to the grammar, and the sentence structures, and the many words I don’t know; and every once in a while I misunderstand what someone is asking or telling me (especially Bulgarian proverbs and jokes).

moje6 li da mi napi6e6 na agliiski.......pla4a za teb......
Tricia Terrones: kato tova?
napi6i na angliiski izre4enieto
pla4a za teb
Tricia Terrones: you want me to write a sentence in English?
Tricia Terrones: Is that good?
Tricia Terrones: or do you want me to write more in English? :)
Is that good......kak se prevejda tova
Tricia Terrones: това добре, ли е?
az ne razbrah....molq otnovo....
pla4a za teb
Tricia Terrones: I like ice cream and popcorn
Tricia Terrones: Харесвам сладолед и поканки
abe...seriozna sam
napi6i mi.............pla4a za teb

Tricia Terrones: но..не разбирам..какво ме искаш да пиша на английски?
Tri6a.....napi6i mi na angliiski izre4enieto.................Az pla4a za teb.............
razbra li me
Tricia Terrones: My name is Tricia
Tricia Terrones: I am from Boston
Tricia Terrones: I like Bulgaria
Tricia Terrones: ti razbiram
az pla4a za teb........tova e izre4enieto.........napi6i mi go na angliiski
Tricia Terrones: this is a sentence
Tricia Terrones: sentence
this is a sentence------tova se pla4a za teb.....taka li
Tricia Terrones: da

Basically, what this text says, is she’s asking me to write in English..

I think she means to write in Latin characters, but still Bulgarian (because she only knows a few words in English)

Nope..she asks again..I’m begging you..can you write a sentence in English

So I make up a few questions.
..and she asks me for the translation
Nope..still not what she’s looking for, it continues on like this for a good 10 minutes, and I’m starting someone pulling a gag on me..what am I not understanding?

Oooh..she was asking me to write ‘sentence’ in English..i still wonder if she’s for real..i’ll have to ask her on Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mt Botev, and conversation

This weekend was my favorite hike yet..a little adrenaline rushing, a little challenging..but so worth it.

First off, I have to thank so many BG hikers for making it possible. I borrowed a trekking pole from Stela (later to be traded for 2 trekking poles from Bai-Stan), sunglasses from Zarya, gaiters from Reneta, crampons from Stancho (for the ice).

When I decided to go on this hike, I never expected it to have such varying scenery. This 10 hour hike started from a small village, Vidima, and passed through the forest like most others..with snow and ice mixed in. Valentin patiently explained how to use the trekking poles in coordination with my steps when climbing steep icy patches. Later, after passing through the forest, we got to the first of the deeper snow. Sometimes we were walking on top of bushes, and sometimes a foot would slip further into the snow up to the knees..or sometimes, the trekking pole would get tangled in the bushes. And the mountain just continued looming ahead. From the parking lot the summit really didn’t seem that high. But every time I looked up, it was still no closer. When we finally made it to the ridge, it’s super sunny out (I don’t know if you can tell in the pics, but Stancho always strips down on hikes..and even on this one he went shirtless most of the time (until that wind hit us at the summit)..and I was so excited, because we were really close to the summit..just continue along the ridge ½ hour more, and surely we’ll be there

Darn..I didn’t see that valley that we have to go all the way down first, and then back up. My legs started to feel a little tight from going uphill for 5 hours straight now, in the snow. We stopped in at the hut at the bottom of the valley to eat a little, and leave our packs with our 4th person (Netka), so that we can summit the mountain quicker. The hike up was as expected..long and snowy..but the jog / skid back down the mountain was so much fun! I learned from Valentin – take bigger steps, but with your weight set back, and arms out front, so when you do fall, you don’t hurt yourself; but most of the time you’re pretty much skidding on your heels (until your shin hits a patch of ice..and that kinda hurt). By the time we get back to the hut, I’m starting to wonder how late it’s gonna be when we finally reach our final destination, Hija Pleven..this is where the remainder of our group went directly to, instead of summitting Botev with us. I mean, it was already 5 pm when we left the valley below Mt. Botev, and Stancho’s guesstimation was 3.5 more hours to the hut

By the time we reached the next peak (we’re now wearing crampons, because the melting snow has quickly turned hard and icy) we’re just in time to see a really beautiful sunset over all the different mountains in the distance..ok, but this also means that the next 3 hours are pretty much in the dark with our headlamps to guide us.

But it felt like we were maintaining a decent pace..when all of a sudden Valentin calls for me to stop so that the 4 of us can group up, and dress for the upcoming winds we will meet when descending the rocky ridge on the other side of the mountain. I’m bad can it be. Hmmm..clearly, I had no clue. These were more like ice and snow covered boulders..and he was right, there was a pretty strong wind blowing as we started our descent. Some parts had a cable you could hang on to. Some parts, I would have one hand on the cable, and balance my steps with the pole in the other hand..and then sometimes, the rock were so steep and slick, you just had to hang on with both hands and do your best to maintain your footing..yet other times there would be no cable, or the boulder would be too big to acramble over, and that was the scariest, because even though it was dark out, I could still see the dropoff if I slipped or made a wrong step. (The guys later told me it’s even scarier during the day, when you can actually see where you’re descending). It really amazed me that no matter how tired I felt during parts of this hike, energy kept coming..I’d say during this rocky part, it might have been more adrenaline than energy. I tell you, I learned quickly many new Bulgarian words on this hike..many out of necessity during the descent.

So, we finally arrived one by one to the Pleven hut around 8:30pm. Everyone heads upstairs..except for me. I’d been waiting to have a beer since we reached the summit of Mt. Botev.

Our conversations that evening consisted of Tom & Jerry and the Pink Panther..they seemed to be pretty popular with this older generation. We also talked about Richard Glideman (or is it Glickman?). They also introduced me to their favorite Soviet-era cartoons (which after our discussions, I had to look up later to watch)..the three below I pulled from Youtube are pretty entertaining..

This one’s about a character Chebyrashka (чебурашка) – the monkey-like animal

This one is called Krokodilna Gena (крокодилна гена)
This is the translation someone posted of the song, since it’s not translated - Let pedestrians run clumsily through puddles And the water on the asphalt river It is not clear to passers-by in this day and bad weather Why am I so happy I play the harmonica at passers-by in sight Unfortunately birthday Only once a year Flies suddenly magician in the blue helicopter And free movie show Happy Birthday congratulate And probably leave me as a gift 500 Eskimo I play the harmonica at passers-by in sight Unfortunately birthday Only once a year

..and this one, absolutely everyone at the table seemed to like – N Y Pogodi (НУ Погоди)..there is no translation, but it’s not really needed. It kinda reminds me of the Wilde Coyote and the Road-runner..kinda

Stancho and I had a spirited debate about how much water the human body needs during a hike (I carry a 1.5 liter camelpack, and they carry a little 16 oz water bottle)..this was on after an earlier discussion on foods to eat during a hike – another topic where we think very differently; and finally Bai-stan assuring me that his calling me ‘monkey snot’ was meant as friendly banter. I love that this group strives to improve my Bulgarian with new words with every hike :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Баби Ден (Babi Den)

Баби Ден (Babi Den) - Grandmas day (when translated literally)

According to one of my colleagues, Babi Den will be celebrated on January 9th by many women, (historically midwives and grandmothers)..they gather, eat, drink, and gossip. Men are not allowed to participate during Babi a matter of fact, if a man shows up, the women may strip the man of all his clothes..interesting, right?

Oh..and on a sidenote, I know mentioned I was going to Dobrich this weekend to summit Mt. Botev, but when I was telling other members of the hiking group I belong to, they thought this was pretty funny because Dobrich and Mt. Botev are in opposite directions..apparently, I misheard my friend. So..a change of plans. Instead of Dobrich, I will go with another group of friends to Hija Pleven and summit the snowy Mt. Botev!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The holidays 2010 –sad, busy, fun

Yes, before Christmas came I was quite sad, and longing for home, friends, and family a bit..but quickly my days filled up with many banquets, school concerts, presentations and cultural center events. Unfortunately there are only a few pictures of all these I had no camera, and the new pictures (found under ‘Tricia’s new Pics’ link at the bottom of the page) are those that friends have sent.

So, when talking with a friend from the village one day, I asked ‘How was Christmas celebrated before, during Communism’..and I kinda had an idea that it wasn’t a big celebration here..but it was still a surprise to hear her say that it wasn’t celebrated at all (or had to be celebrated discretely in homes). Oftentimes I hear Bulgarians refer to Дядо Коледа (Father Christmas / Santa Claus) as Дядо Мраз (Father Frost / Cold). For Christmas, here, many villagers will buy a pig during the fall, and on Christmas Day, they will kill it, using all parts of the pig. It is killed on Christmas Day, and not Christmas Eve because they do not eat meat on Christmas Eve.

I had no plans for Christmas, as I only wanted to talk with my family. It was great that we were all able to gather on Skype and talk together. However, one of my favorite students, and good friend, Hrisa, invited me to her home Christmas morning. They were killing a pig..and then, using all the pieces. Some will be eaten soon, some will be preserved for the future, some will be frozen, the skin will be eaten, the fat is boiled down to lard, and the feet will be jellied.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t catch the early bus, and missed the actually killing of the pig. By the time I got there, the skin was off, the head was off, and the pig was in pieces on a sheet of plastic in the kitchen area. Later I went with Katia, another friend and learned how time consuming it is to make pitka (a type of bread roll eaten during holidays).

I was invited back to the village the next day by another friend, Snezha. That entire Christmas weekend I was a little tired and sick from lack of sleep during the busy week before..and these good friends took really good care of me. It was a very relaxing Christmas weekend

New Years in Uzana

I spent New Years with my favorite hiking group. We went to Uzana where I made many new friends from Varna and Dobrich (near the Black Sea) fact, I’ve been invited to visit Dobrich next weekend..we’ll be hiking Mount Botev (the highest of the peaks in the Stara Planina mountains.

I found the snow! That’s a part of what made it such a great New Years. I went on long hikes both can see the pictures at the link on the bottom of this page. For New Years Eve there was so much food..yummy food, lots of meat, lots to drink..dancing, of course, champagne, and sparklers..then outside for the fireworks..ours, and all of the other huts in the area..the sky was lit up for some time. One guy had a flare gun and the fired it off a few times.

The next day we hiked to the summit of Mt. Ispolin, and then I continued to explore more of the nearby peaks. It was a great New Years weekend..just hiking, sleeping, eating, drinking and dancing.