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Archive for September, 2010

The Economist has a catchy article on “The Marmite Effect” yep, that’s the Australian yeast-spread. Have you had the spread? It’s tangy. I think it kind of looks like peanut butter but it’s not. It’s also not my thing.

But that’s what the article is about. Kind of. It’s also about brand loyalty. Well mostly it’s about brand loyalty but the article opens with a couple of catchy expat-brand loyalty stories and it caught my eye.

The idea of nostalgia for brands of our youth rings very, very true to me.  Especially now that I am living abroad. I am really not a peanut butter kind of girl but this most recent trip, a small jar of peanut butter made it in my suitcase. As did marshmallows, chocolate chips, tobasco sauce, maple flavoring,  packets of taco mix and ranch dressing (please don’t judge me!). In fact, I was kind of embarrassed for myself when I was unpacking my suitcase. (more…)

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Mladost and the Metro

It was bound to happen. The metro is growing. There’s been a large hole by the Billa for months. But I never actually considered the road that I used everyday to get to school would close due to construction. Until Monday morning when there was more fencing up than ever before. Then Monday after school the road was closed.

The Fence around the Metro

The Hole through the Fence (N. This one is for you! This was the only place I could get my camera in through the green so it's not very nice. )

Humpf. My shortcut was gone. I had to walk back out to the main road and take a longer route home. I am a creature of habit. I don’t like surprises or changes like this. Irrational and unreasonable? Oh yes.

But at least I know this about myself.

Anyhow, these things happen. There are two giant holes down the street from me that at some point will be a metro. Maybe the road closure is progress. Maybe it’s just annoying.

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Something you may not know about me is that I love Ace of Base. In fact, one of my first cds was Ace of Base. I mean, what’s not to love? I am just really happy that I had good taste at age 11 when I was buying my first cd and even happier that I still love the group.

If these guys come on at a party? I am dancing.

Anyhow, this summer when the Lady Gaga song Alejandro came out, I spent the whole summer getting really pumped up only to realize that it was Lady Gaga and not Ace of Base. Lady Gaga is fine and everything but you can’t help but feel let down when it’s not actually Ace of Base.

Needless to say, I spend the whole month of July telling my friend R. who I was traveling through the Balkans with this: you know what would make this better? Ace of Base.

Why? well when you’re stuck in the backseat of an overly crowded, hot and smelly minibus blaring Albanian pop-folk and the man sitting next to your sweating all over your arm from Tirana to Ohrid you need something to look forward to and/or joke about. In my case, this was Ace of Base. It’s slightly absurd and slightly possible that you’d stumble across someone (who’d clearly be awesome) playing Ace of Base. Unfortunately, the whole I never heard any Ace of Base.

That is until I turned my tv on this afternoon after a long day at work. And there were men singing an Ace of Base cover!!  In Bulgarian. Wow. Wow. (more…)

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As I think you all know, I love coffee. Not a little bit. A lot.

A Sweet (and new to me) Shop

This is why I cannot imagine why it’s taken me two whole years to discover the sweet shop/coffee shop 100 Grams of Sweets or in Bulgarian: 100 грама сладки. It’s delicious.

First it’s so cute. (more…)

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Degas in Sofia

On Saturday, I checked the Degas exhibit at the National Art Gallery here in Sofia. It was totally worth going.

Degas is a really incredible sculptor.

Degas in Sofia!

I’m familiar with many of his impressionist paintings. The ballerina dancers–those girls in full skirts, point shoes and satin bows. Paintings in shades of white, green, yellow and blue. I knew the sculpture “La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans” (Little Dancer of Fourteen Years) but many of the other sculptures were new to me. (more…)

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Today I had my regular Sunday Bulgarian lesson with my tutor I. It was great.

The only problem was that I haven’t really studied Bulgarian for the better part of three months. And the only time I spoke Bulgarian this summer was when I was traveling in Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo (that last one was in a pinch).  Sure, since I’ve been back in Sofia, I’ve said my good morning, hellos, how are yous and order my coffees in Bulgarian but mostly I’ve been off in the English speaking bubble that is ACS.

Needless to say, my Bulgarian is rusty. And my grammar? Ug. Don’t even ask.

My tutor I. decided that today we would review nouns and articles, plurals, adjectives and articles, personal pronouns both the short and long forms and verbs. She had made a serious worksheet to do so.  Good thing. Because basically I stumbled through the whole thing. I think on a whole I answered probably 75% of her questions right. Sure that’s better than say 50% which would have been guessing but it’s not great.

Sure a Bulgarian would understand me if I made a masculine object plural using the feminine plural rather than the masculine but I used to know all of this stuff last year–and get it right. This year? Apparently, not.

What does this mean? I’ve got some serious work to do.

So you can look forward to a new composition from me in Bulgarian shortly. It will be titled: What I did this summer vacation.  Just give me a few days to work on it!

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Well, kind of. I checked out 5th Ave. Pizza this weekend with my American friend P. and some of his friends. It’s a new pizza place in Sofia that claims to be making American-style pizza. The street address? 174 Rakovski.

Pizza Restaurant 5th Avenue

Now I like pizza. I actually even like Bulgarian-influenced pizza with kashkaval cheese, an assortment of veggies including both pickles and corn (but generally I avoid having both on the same pizza), the occasional egg and hardly any sauce. It’s definitely not pizza as I knew it growing up in the States. But I am living in Bulgaria.  I knew what I was getting into.

So when my friend P. told me there was a new pizza place open in Sofia and it claimed to make American style pizza we had to go. It’s also pretty funny that P. and I became friends over pizza. Believe it or not, I wrote a post last fall on the best pizza in Sofia. My blog got plenty of comments about different options and the result? P. and I cemented our friendship over pizza.

But do they really make American-style pizza? Yes. And no. (more…)

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