Mar 11th, 2013 by karolinka
It’s rainy this morning and for some reason I’ve been up since 5:45am. I woke and up and couldn’t go back to bed. So I’ve been up reading the internet, drinking coffee and puttering around my apartment.
Mladost in the the rainy early morning seems especially Eastern European–or at least what I imagine when I think of stereotypical Eastern Europe.
The buildings are grey, the light is grey, the clouds are grey, the pavement is a rain-soaked grey, the unpaved pieces are dirt brown and the roads are asphalt black. The puddles reflect all of this back.
I’m going to dig out a full-sized umbrella and my boots and call it a day.
Mar 10th, 2013 by karolinka
I just got back from a weekend full of wine, spa-ing by soaking in a tub of wine and buying too much Bulgarian pottery.
We left Sofia Saturday morning and drove to Breastovitsa. It was and easy drive from Sofia. Maybe an hour and a half. Not more. In town though we got a little lost and drove through town. I had to ask for directions in Bulgarian a couple of times but luckily everyone was very nice and helpful. The thing is the hotel shouldn’t have actually been that hard to find as it has a huge sign on top of it.
But after a couple of u-turns we ended up right at Todoroff Winery and Spa.
The hotel was wonderful. We engaged in spa treatments and later went on a wine tour and tasting. This was great fun. I also learned a lot. Then I bought not one but three bottles of wine!!
Now I’m off to bed but I promise to write more tomorrow.
Mar 9th, 2013 by karolinka
Yesterday as many of you will know was International Women’s Day–those of you State side probably do not know this seeing as we celebrate Mother’s Day in May instead (oh and we also celebrate Father’s Day in June). The tradition in Bulgaria seems to be that men give the women in their lives flowers and then they make take that special someone out to dinner (so she don’t have to cook her Mr. dinner on International Women’s Day and then clean up afterwards).
At school, students wish each other: Happy Holiday! Or Happy 8th of March! Aside from purchasing flowers it doesn’t seem to be a very commercial holiday. I’ve never seen greeting cards for the holiday nor are their large displays at the grocery store set up to encourage spending on this holiday.
Yesterday one of my students came with pink carnations for all of his classmates and teachers. He elicited huge smiles from the girls in his section. He gave one to me and we exchanged some pleasantries. It was about all I could do not to tell him my favorite 2nd grade joke about carnations but I didn’t because I thought it would detract from the thoughtful act of bring flowers. Continue Reading »
Mar 6th, 2013 by karolinka
Two weeks ago–give or take–I applied for a new passport at the US Embassy in Sofia.
Don’t worry nothing bad happened–my passport was neither lost nor stolen (thought this is one of my worst nightmares). Nope, the most boring and mundane thing possible happened–my passport was merely in the process of expiring.
So I printed out the application for a new passport, I got American sized passport photos (turns out Americans want a 5×5 square while Bulgarians want a 5x something rectangle–I learned that the hard way) and I rounded up a enough leva to pay for my new passport. Turns out they aren’t cheep at $110.
Then 10 days later I went back at the embassy to pick up my new passport. Old passport meet new passport.
For the most part things at the embassy were pretty uneventful. I guess this is really all you can ever hope for. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t painless or stupidly easy but it wasn’t horrible either. Continue Reading »
Mar 5th, 2013 by karolinka
I’ve been pretty MIA on this blog recently. It’s not for any good reason. Nope. In fact it’s a string of boring and rather mundane reasons.
I had to make a new passport application. We had a book club meeting (Buddha in the Attic). I went to Prague for a long weekend and then I needed a week to recover from my long weekend.
I’ve been re-reading both Pride and Prejudice and The Unbearable Lightness of Being for school and the combination of reading and teaching these two books at the same time makes me both happy and hopeful as well as a depressed and certain that life is meaningless.
So I decided that I should also start reading the novel Beautiful Ruins. I don’t think that I love it but I am only 47% of the way in and I’ve been reading it before I fall asleep at night which means I have to do plenty of re-reading as I can never remember what I read the night before.
I’ve been out to dinner (and drinks) with friends more than normal. This past weekend I had Indian food at Saffron in Studentskigrad, I went to Blender club for drinks, I played a few games of pool (and I was horrible at it–like usual) and I’ve eaten pizza out twice in the last week.
I’ve planned sprig break, a long holiday in May and most of my summer travel. There’s still a short weekend in May that I need to figure out but I figure that there’s time for that. Maybe I’ll go to Athens. Maybe not. I really want to go to Kiev but there aren’t any good flights.
So this is just to say, don’t worry about me. I am doing okay. My laundry is clean, my dishes are washed, I’ve got food in my fridge and I’m getting plenty of sleep. It just turns out that I done all of this at the expense of my blog recently. I guess these things happen.
I hope that everyone else is having a great week!!
Feb 22nd, 2013 by karolinka
We have a three day weekend as a part of the end of the first semester. Yeah.
I’m going to Prague with friends. Friday night in Prague sounds pretty great to me.
Sometimes I’m amazed by my life.
Hope you’re having a great weekend wherever you find yourself!!
Feb 19th, 2013 by karolinka
I had a great weekend. Friday night I went to Wok to Walk with two of my teacher friends A. and M. A. and I have have officially become regulars. That’s fun. We walked in the line was a mile long–okay 6 to 8 people deep–and we both got big hellos from the employees. We ordered in Bulgarian–they laughed. The line stood still for us and the joking around.
Then we walked down the street for a couple of beers with colleagues at Murphy’s one of the Irish bars in town. It’s always nice catching up with people outside of work or somewhere other than the lunch table when everyone in stressed out and rushing around.
A. and I popped into the Vitosha Memento after Murphy’s because they have a great atmosphere and had a glass of wine before heading home. Once again, we said hello to the staff there. Oh and many of our hellos were to people who weren’t actively working there but hanging out at the cafe/bar that they also work at. I think it’s a good sign if the staff like the place enough to spend their free time there!!
Saturday morning I went to a yoga workshop at Yoga Mendala lead by Nanci Traynor. She was really great and the class was very inspiring. I spent most of Sunday sore–but the good kind of sore where you realize, you’d better get more serious about your yoga practice and that you weren’t at fit as you were once were. This said, I was equally proud of myself to be able to do two hours of flow yoga after breaking my hand two months ago.
Then I spend Saturday afternoon in a whirlwind of shopping and hanging out with friends. A. and I were clearly making shop owners’ afternoons, if not weekends. I found a couple of great new scarves, two new necklaces and some really wonderful handmade martenitsi. We then met up with two other friends and played Settlers.
Sunday I got up and cleaned my apartment. A girl’s got to do these things sometimes.
Sunday afternoon I met some friends at The Mall and we saw the movie Beautiful Creatures. It was amazingly awful but perfect for a movie at the mall at the end of the weekend.
I capped the whole thing off with a two hour skype call with my parents. Oh how I love skype.
Feb 15th, 2013 by karolinka
Upon noticing that you’ve gotten a haircut, Bulgarians like to wish you a Happy New Haircut!
It’s sort of like Happy Birthday for your hair. I think it’s a charming tradition. I also think it sounds unbelievably funny in English because it’s just not something we say to each other in the States. Just to be clear, I think it’s funny and wonderful. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
This said, today I’ve had a number of people both students and colleagues wish me a Happy New Haircut.
Here’s the thing, I didn’t get my haircut.
I just did my hair–like instead of putting back in a bun. Specifically a sock bun. I’m obsessed with the sock bun.
Anyhow, this morning I dried my hair with my hairdryer and then applied a little hairspray. Watch out world!
The first time it happened, I just said thanks but by the third Happy New Haircut, I said: thanks but I didn’t get it cut. I just did it.
Then I was embarrassed. A lot. Why would I say that?! What was I thinking?! I should clearly just keep saying thank-you and this should probably be a lesson for me to do my hair more often.
The problem is that it’s winter and my bed is so cozy in the mornings and sock buns are so easy that I feel no real compulsion to get out of bed. Maybe today was just what I needed.
Feb 14th, 2013 by karolinka
This week I started teaching both Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin and the Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera–a classic love story and a post-modern love story–if you can even call the Unbearable Lightness of Being this.
Anyhow, this is just to say there’s something odd about teaching these two books at the same time no matter what but then I tried to think about how I could link Valentine’s Day into the mix. Needless to say, everything that I came up with was too cliched or maybe too kitsch for words so I gave up.
Instead I started daydreaming of conversation candy hearts. What I wouldn’t give for some conversation hearts!!
This lead me to thinking about Bulgarian foods that would be even better in the shape of a heart:
- Slices of cucumber. Heart shaped cucumbers in a shopsa salad? Yes, please.
- A large heart shaped banitza. Why aren’t the babas all over this?
- Grilled kyufte in the shape of hearts? If that’s not perfect for meat-lover in your life, I don’t know what is.
- Baklava. Squares are so boring.
- Anything in a heart shaped bowl–yogurt, tiny meatball soup (soupa topcheta), or french fries with sirene cheese are just a few that come to mind that could be made even better in a heart shaped dish.
Just for the record, I think all of these food are wonderful without being heart shaped. I’d just squeal with delight if I could buy banitza in the shape of a heart.
Feb 13th, 2013 by karolinka
It’s been a crazy 2 1/2 days. Grades and student comments were due to day and I’ve been a busy cookie. The thing about the end of the first semester at school is that I always think I have more time than I do. Each year I think: no problem. Then it turns out that there is not enough time to do everything.
So I stop washing dishes. I keep cooking to a minimum. I don’t fold my laundry and generally I live in a state of chaos until I finish all of my work.
This year I tried to keep things classy–and maybe just maybe fool others int thinking that I have it all together–by wearing blazers, a fancy necklace, and a sock bun in my hair. I am not sure it worked and I think that there’s a sock bun intervention in my near future.
Then again, maybe it did work because today at the height of my craziness a student walked into my classroom and announced: Ms Emigh you look so pretty today! Me: Thanks! Student: No, no. I mean you look nice always you just look extra-pretty today. Um, little does this student know that this comment made my day. Made my day.
I worked right down to the wire this time. Full disclosure: often it’s close. But then again I’ve never put grades and comments in with a head-cold. Yesterday after school, as I put in grades and comments I had to do so with a kleenex stuck up my nose because I couldn’t tilt my head down without my nose running like crazy. I know that’s totally gross but a girl’s got to do these things sometimes. The grade due date really isn’t flexible.
Working with a cold is hard. I still have a cold but I seem to have moved on from the runny nose to the sneezing part and the best part my world seems much less cloud-like.
Anyhow, the last 2 1/2 days have passed in a blur and I couldn’t be happier to have all of my grades in.