Catch up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’m not doing a very good job with journaling. It’s getting harder and harder to motivate myself to do this everyday. But here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been up to:

I went na gosti, which is a type of party where you show up at someone’s house and drink and eat. I went to my tutor’s house to watch the Slavi Show (the Bulgarian Jay Leno). However I didn’t really watch the show but more talked about American and Bulgarian history. Her husband wanted to know more about Missouri so I told him about The Cardinals, Budweiser, the Arch and Mark Twain.

The following evening I went to a pub with my colleagues and some of their friends. There weren’t as many people as there has been, but it was good to get out of the apartment for a bit. While I was eating dinner, I talked with some of them about a charity football (soccer) tournament I want to put on this spring. I’ll get the ball rolling, so to speak, this upcoming week.

Yesterday, a PCV from Karlovo came to visit. I was waiting for her at the bus stop when a guy asked me when the bus to Stara Zagora was coming. I told him, in Bulgarian “I’m sorry, I don’t speak much Bulgarian.” He started to laugh “Seriously?” “Yes. I’m just here waiting for the bus from Plovdiv, which should be here at 8:30″. We struck up a conversation. He was very surprised that I was an American who was learning Bulgarian. So after, people walking by wanted to chat. I told them where in was from in the US, how long I’ve been studying Bulgarian, where I studied and how long I would be living in Chirpan. One lady told me that my colleagues spoke English well. I thought I misheard her because I never told her were I worked. After I told her, she simply replied, “Oh, I know”. I was a little surprised at her answer! As the bus pulled up, I said good bye to my new friends. One lady told me she was going to be interviewed for her green card. I don’t think she’ll get it as she was in her late 40s/ early 50s and her English was quite fractured. I’ve been told it costs a nonrefundable $100 to apply and can only apply once a year. Most people who do get it are younger, have a good grasp of English and are trained in high demand job.

I went to Stara Zagora to go shopping at Billa, a Bulgarian supermarket chain. Just walking through the doors can be overwhelming. I don’t know what to do with so much choice! I got a bag a 3-1 (a very addictive instant coffee) and jar of marmalade. That evening we went to the SZ PCV’s apartment and made hamburgers with some type of ground meat (I have no idea what it was, some sort of combination of beef, pork and/or veal). But it was tasty! We mixed garlic, onion, oregano and bread crumbs into the patties. We covered them with cheddar cheese! (very difficult to find) and Heinz ketchup (the ketchup in Bulgaria is much sweeter than the salty American stuff). When heading home, I struck up a conversation with a 14 year old girl. She was very surprised that I was a Bulgarian speaking American. She travels to Stara Zagora every day to study English and has been studying English for eight years! However, most of our conversation was in Bulgarian. She asked if people in America her age smoke, as she was pulling out a pack of cigarettes! I told her that they don’t and in fact, none of my friends in the US smoke. She was quite surprised. I’ve read somewhere that the average Bulgarian smokes an average of seven cigarettes a day! It doesn’t really surprise me, as everyone I know here (with the exception of maybe three people) smoke!

That’s or less it for now.


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