Yesterday I helped clean up Mt. Vitosha. I picked up more than 100 cigarette butts! (That’s a personal record I’ll have you know.)
I also picked up plastic bags, beer bottle lids, bits and pieces of glass bottles, crumpled up aluminum foil, what had been at one point a sweatshirt and tons of unidentifiable pieces of paper.
Why would I spend my Saturday doing this? Well, I volunteered to be a chaperone so that ACS faculty and students could participate in a Bulgaria-wide volunteer day, sponsored in part by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (“AmCham”). The project we picked to participate in was cleaning-up Mt. Vitosha.
Basically, we chose to devote a Saturday to picking up other people’s garbage. To cleaning up the Nature.
Yep, you read that correctly: the Nature. I know, I know. Grammatically, it’s incorrect to say “the nature” you don’t need the article the because we always speak generally about nature in English. This said my students and widely speaking Bulgarians regularly make this mistake and add the to nature. Making it “the nature” that they are speaking about. This mistake makes the English teacher in me grimace but yesterday it really did feel like we were cleaning up the Nature. Vitosha was incredibly beautiful. (more…)
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What makes for the perfect Christmas window in a shop? In my mind, it’s a creative mix and riff of tradition and non-traditional holiday icons, images, colors and shapes. Standard and cliché in my mind is red and green, Santa and reindeer, stockings and a fire-place. Modern and non-traditional are mixing colors and green, sliver and blue or red, gold and brown–maybe there’s a tree but it’s not a fat over grown pine.
It’s a sense that the Christmas scene is fresh and clean–not necessarily sparse but it has a coherence and a simplicity while still being elegant and refined. It evokes a feeling of comfort and home, the spirit of the holiday but it’s sexier and more innovative than your Christmas decorations at home. It’s what you wish you could do if you weren’t obligated to put out all of the family Christmas treasures that have been accumulated over the years.
I realize this is a lot to ask for a single Christmas window or a shop’s Christmas display but in my mind this is what makes for curb-side appeal. So when I was on Vitosha last weekend shopping, snow falling I couldn’t help but think about the impending holiday. Most of the shops had some nod towards the holiday in their windows but none in my mind seemed to really get it. (And I get it, I probably have unreasonably high standards.)
This window however caught my attention: (more…)
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