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.

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