Awesome site mate’s wedding!

My awesome site mate, who will be heading back to the US next week, got married last weekend. After the day camp in Plovdiv, I headed down to the village that she served in before Chirpan, called Slashten, with several other PCVs. The trip took us through the beautiful Rhodpie mountains to the city of Gotse Delchiv. There we met my site mate and her fiance. There, we went to a cafe to recharge from out five hour trip through the mountains. Our group split up and we took two taxis down further South to Slashten. We were stopped at the internal Bulgarian border since you can see into Greece from Slashten.

That night, we helped awesome site mate help her sisters decorate for the wedding reception. We then made it to a restaurant/cafe owned by her husband’s uncle. All of us were staying in the house of a family member. I stayed with her husband’s brother’s wife’s sister. Which would be sister-in-law, right? It was described to me in Bulgarian. Anyway, we headed to bed and in the morning, we prepared for the wedding. My host took us down the street until we heard music. There was a small Bulgarian band heading to the house where the bride and groom were preparing. While we waited outside the house, I met some ladies stringing tobacco and had a conversation with their boss about inflation and wages in the US. It was in Bulgarian, but it wasn’t a convo that would have wowed any of my college Econ professors.

When they were ready to come out of the house and to the city hall (most, if not all Bulgarian weddings are civil since the church was banned during Communism), an old lady threw water out before them. This is to hope that their life will be as smooth as running water. There was a long procession to the city hall, lead by the small band. We went to the top floor to an empty room. There, a city official presided over the wedding. Awesome site mate was given a hard time by several village grandmother when she said “Да!” “What are you doing!? You need to think about it first! Don’t just say yes!”. Everyone got a kick out of them. Her husband aslo said yes and then went to sign the paperwork on the alter (she was wearing a wedding gown and he a suit). As soon as he signed his name and exchanged rings, she stomped on his foot, drawing great laughter from the attendants. It was explained to me that the first person to step on the other’s foot wears the pants in the relationship.

From there, we went down stairs to the city center and danced the horo. We did two circles around then it was off to the school where the reception was held. There were already several people there. During village weddings, the entire village is invited. She estimated some 500 people would show up. Almost as soon as we sat down, the music started and there was horoing. In fact, I think there was at least five or six hours of solid dancing. Most of which, my site mate was up doing. My dance troupe was able to come and we did several of the horos we had preformed in concerts before. My site mate also preformed with us. It was a great time and people gave us a standing ovation.

We continued to eat and drink. My site mate and her husband, as well as the wedding party started to make rounds around the banquet. People toasted them and handed them money. The money was given to a girl with a plastic bag. Everyone gave some money to the new couple. I later found out that people were pitching in to help cover for the enormous banquet. After the wedding party had toasted everyone, it was time to cut the massive cake. The cake was almost as tall as my sitemate. It was really impressive. My sitemate and her husband cut the cake. She rubbed cake all over his face and we all had a good laugh. A lady came and started to cut the cake. As time wore on and she finished slicing up layer by layer, she started to disregard health precautions and just started to dump cake with her hands onto plates.

As the banquet wore on and people started to finish their cake, the attendance dropped. And dropped rather quickly. My sitemate told me later that the villagers just show up for the food and then leave. As people started to leave, so did some PCVs. I headed back to the house I was staying at and napped until dinner time. At dinner, we went back to the same diner as the night before and hung out with the PCVs and my sitemate’s new extended family.

Over all, it was a fantastic time and I’ve very glad I was able to go and support my sitemate.



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