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Archive for May, 2009

Beautiful Day

Today is simply a beautiful day.  After three or so days of rain, a sunny and warm day was a nice change.  I spent most of it with friends having lunch, lounging around in the park and later we’re going for Bulgarian food.

Spring in Sofia

Spring in Sofia

This is really the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Lucky me.

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Yeah O.K. Taxi!

Great news! That I should have announced weeks ago.  O.K. Taxi now speaks English as well as Bulgarian! Um, wow. This is just one more reason to love O.K. Taxi!!

O.K. Taxi was already by far the best taxi company in Sofia.  They are honest and this I’ve learned is something that’s kind of a rarity. For O.K. Taxi, the base rate is something like .59 leva and then .59 (during the day) and .70 (after 10pm) leva per kilometer.  They have meters and use them without question.

The real O.K. Taxi is a yellow taxi with lettering on the door that is white and says: OK.  But it’s really important to make sure that the dots between the O and K are red.  This way you know that you are taking an official O.K. Taxi.

There are lots of impostors in the city.  Some of these taxis say C.K. with the red dots and white lettering where the C nearly touches the K making it look oh so similar to the legitimate O.K. Taxi.  Others read OK but without the signature red dots.  These impostor taxis want to make you think that you are climbing into the real thing only their base rates and their rates by the kilometer are much, much higher.  (more…)

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Cute Garden Figure!

Cute Garden Figure!

I’ve been thinking about this question for some time now.  I feel like I never know what to do–to hug, to kiss, to hand-shake?

Here in Bulgaria the two (or sometimes three) cheek-kiss is king. I find that my Bulgarian friends always do it when parting and more often than not also cheek-kiss when they meet/greet each other as well.  My American friends are a completely different story.  Some are trying to adapt, some are not and this usually results in a weirdly placed and unexpected kiss or an awkward hello-handshake-wave-high-five of some sort.

Then there are the expats of all stripes who are living here.  I never know what they are going to do to me or how they are going to greet me whether it will be kisses (how many?), hand-shakes or hellos in a number of different languages.  Mostly though, I think it’s great fun.

And I can’t help but wonder how did we, as Americans, get stuck with the hand-shake? It must have to do with a desire to never, ever intrude in someone’s personal space.  But as a result, we have the most impersonal greeting of all.  Sure a hand-shake has it’s place in a business meeting but with friends? Really–a hand-shake!?!

On some level it’s hard to believe that we’ve stuck with the friend-hand-shake as long as we have.  Why is this hard to believe? Well for starters there’s something so European about friends kissing hello and for a country that loves all things foreign (french fries, Belgian waffles, Italian food, Swiss watches and fake designer bags to name a few) why don’t we kiss like Europeans? (more…)

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I had an opportunity this week to see a performance of Romeo and Juliet in English put on by the by The Drama Buffs Club at Sofia’s School of Mathematics. It was an absolute treat–albeit an unexpected treat. What made the performance especially noteworthy is that the students were putting on the event in order to raise enough funds to buy a new piano for the school.

At only 1 leva a ticket, I hope that they raised enough money for the piano because they certainly deserve it.  I gave a extra when I purchased my ticket by refusing any change but in doing so I also revealed that I was a native English speaker.  As a result the teacher-director who was selling me my ticket demanded (in a very nice way) that I move to sit in the front row where I would be better able to hear and see the production.

I was hesitant to do so because there’s a part of me that is shy about receiving special treatment simply because I am a native English speaker.  But I have to say that sitting right up in front was really exciting and a lot of fun.  Towards the end of the play when fighting erupts once again between the Capulets and Montagues I ended up with a sword landing at my feet and that was nothing if not exciting!!

The funny thing is that originally when I agreed to attend the play with one of the teachers from the First English Language High School, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The play is over-done in the States and has the reputation of being the arch-typical high school drama club play.  I mean this is for good reason, who doesn’t love two angst riddled and love lorn teenagers and who can’t related to the feeling of being torn apart by the effects of lust and love? This said, I wasn’t sure whether the production would be enjoyable, painful or laughable. (more…)

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Ug, is how I feel

I feel ug today.  And I am sorry for that because I’ve been meaning to post for days.  Today when I have the time, I just  happen to feel ug.

The worst part is that I don’t know if it’s allergies or if it’s a cold.  A cold at the end of May just seems totally and competely unfair.  But I guess that’s just how life works some times.

So check back tomorrow, I’ve got a post in me–I am just not writing it tonight.

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Grocery store music.  This week I was shopping for a few things in the market close to my house.  I needed to pick up some bananas, toilet paper, bread and cheese. Not such a long list.  No problem I do this all the time.

Well on this trip I was assaulted with bad–really bad American hip-hop music.  Usually the shop plays questionable 80’s music but whoever picked the hip-hop and pop station on this day must not speak English.  It was bad.  This says a lot coming from me, because I have a soft spot in my heart for this kind of music.

There’s something so funny about going to pick up a few things at the store and hearing everyone around you speaking Bulgarian and knowing that they have no idea the lyrics of the songs being played around them.  I thought: these cute old ladies have no idea what’s going on.

It gave me the giggles. (more…)

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Thanks, Thanks

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes that I received over the last few days.  It really means a lot to me.  I had a super birthday. Thanks again for everything–your wishes, your friendship, your comments on my blog and every other little thing that you do for me!!  Sometimes I wonder what I did to get to lucky to have such great people in my life.  (Okay, sorry this is much sappier than normal!)

Me and my Birthday Friends

Me and my Birthday Friends

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