New Year’s

I stayed in Chirpan for New Year’s while most of my fellow B-22’s where in Plovdiv (the second largest city in Bulgaria after the capital, Sofia). I met up with my friends and colleagues outside the Kramer Market at 20:30 and headed to the restaurant where I’ve spent many a Friday evening with them. My reservation there cost 27 Lv (about $20) and it included a three course meal, Champagne and a drink. We killed time before midnight by playing games. A basket was passed around with numbers in it. If your number was called, you had to play whatever game they had. I was a bit nervous because I drew number one. When my colleagues found this out, they started to laugh. One of the lawyers yelled “USA, numer edno!” and then chatted “USA!” Thankfully, for the sake of my dignity, my number was never called. I wouldn’t know what I’d do with a DVD player anyway, since I don’t own a TV or any DVDs for this region. The games they had were making a salad

Drag contest

and singing.

As midnight crept closer, the restaurant broke out the Champagne. We poured glasses, stood up and held them out for a toast. It was strange counting down in Bulgarian and I expected everyone to go crazy at the stroke of midnight. However, it grew quiet. I was a little un-nerved. What’s going on? Music struck up and everyone stood at attention, Champagne hoisted high. The Bulgarian national anthem started to play and everyone started to sing. I just stood there, unsure what was going on. It didn’t help that I didn’t know the lyrics. But it was so cool standing there, amongst my friends and colleagues as they passionately sang. It kinda felt like a blast from the past; this was totally a throw back from the Communism days. And as soon as the anthem was over, the real party began.

We started to do the horo, traditional Bulgarian folkdance around the restaurant. When it started to get too crowded, we took the dance outside. I saw fireworks and people lighting them and throwing them from their windows in the blocs. It had also started to snow. I couldn’t help but think, that a mere six months prior, I had been planting trees in the North field of my grandparents’ farm in rural Missouri. And there I was, dancing folkdances, in the snow, celebrating the New Year on the border of Europe.

I danced the horo for about 30 minutes straight before the song ended. I danced throughout the night. My colleagues had promised me that the party would last for 12 hours. However, they beat me. I couldn’t keep up with them and I clocked out around 3 am, exhausted.

More photos here.

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One Response to “New Year’s”

  1. Philip Says:

    Happy New Year Jimmy!

    It seems like you are really enjoying your time in Bulgaira. I think I had the most low key celebration ever…I was asleep by 12:05! Ha-ha.

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