More About Bulgaria (Page 3 of 3)
Plenty of Celebrations in Bulgaria: Bulgarians seem to have a better balance between Work and Play than often people achieve in Britain. "Life is for living, not just for working." they keep saying to me. I am used to rushing around in Britain, trying to cram in too much work to one day, feeling guilty if I relax - not so in Bulgaria. Not one week goes by when they are not celebrating something! It seems to me they take any excuse for getting together with friends, neighbours and family for a meal and a chat. As well as celebrating Birthdays, they celebrate 'Name Days' - throughout the year different names are celebrated (so effectively that gives everyone two Birthdays in a year). There are numerous other celebration days. Whilst we in Britain might have a memorial day marked on our calendars - we do not usually have a party for all these days - but - the Bulgarians are pleased to have a party for all sorts of reasons. Since life is not a Rehearsal I guess the Bulgarians have got it right.
I love to see the Traditional Bulgarian Dancing, in Traditional Bulgarian Dress.
Mutual Unpaid Support: There seem to be informal arrangements where neighbours help each other. Money does not change hands. This is especially so amongst the lower income groups. Instead of paying each other for doing work, they often exchange their skills and offer mutual unpaid support.
Perhaps a little more Chauvanistic? Generally speaking I would say that perhaps Bulgarian Men are a little more chauvanistic than British Men, perhaps especially amongst the older generation and in the more Traditional Villages. I've never seen a man doing the Washing Up or hanging out the Washing!
Music: In Bulgaria, as in Britain, there is an array of different types of music. Bulgarians seem to very much like Western Music too. One of their favourite Bulgarian Singers is - Lilly Invanova.
Bulgaria has a fascinating History and Heritage. It has many interesting Archeological Sites, Monastaries and Places of Interest to visit. I found it interesting and suprising to find out that during the Second World War, the Bulgarians stood up to Hitler and refused to co-operate with transporting the Jews to the concentration camps. Well done Bulgaria!
Bulgaria at one time used to have a Royal Family, but not any more. I understand though that members of the Royal Family did have roles to play in Government.
The Landscape in Bulgaria varies according to which part of the country you are in. It has everything - beautiful Sea Coastlines, Ski-ing Resorts, Hills and Forests
Bureaucracy, Queues and Waiting: There is still quite a lot of Bureaucracy in Bulgaria - form filling, going to this office, that office to meet the bureaucratic requirements. The concept of 'Service' doesn't seem to have really sunk in. There is a much more laid back approach in Bulgaria. Being kept waiting in long queues is not unusual. In the Villages it is almost impossible to tie people down to a date and time. If they say 'Tomorrow' - don't be surprised if they turn up one or two days late. I've given up trying to organise a schedule in Bulgaria, nothing ever seems to go according to plan. A Builder explained their stance when he said "We don't do Calendars or Clocks in Bulgaria". The informality of it all took a while for me to adjust to. I have been so used to having to be punctual, having to know in advance what I was doing every hour of each and every day - my Calendar full of appointments and arrangements in Britain. In Bulgaria - I am just as busy, but it is rather like organised chaos.
A warm hearted Culture: Bulgaria, like any other country, is not perfect, but I like Bulgaria! Perhaps it is the warmth of the people I've met there - the feeling of knowing if I needed help they would be quick to offer help. Emergencies are the only thing they respond quickly and efficiently to! Once I had a fire at my house and it seemed like the entire village came running down to my house to help and I was inundated with offers of help. When I offered to pay them they refused to be paid and said - "That's what neighbours are for." They had made me feel so welcome. I really enjoy being with them. I sometimes feel we are perhaps a little too reserved in Britain and come across as being a little 'cold'.
What has struck me most about Bulgaria is the sharp contrast between life in the larger Towns and Cities in Bulgaria and life in the Villages in Bulgaria - it is like going into two completely different worlds. In the Villages it is like going back about 100 years to the way rural life used to be in Britain (which is what appeals to me most about Bulgaria): there are Horse/Donkey drawn Carts. It is a kind of 'Self Sufficiency' Lifestyle - working on the land and looking after Chickens, Pigs, Rabbits, Sheep, Goats, etc., doing Craftwork and other Home Making Skills. In complete contrast - the Towns and Cities in Bulgaria are similar to the Towns and Cities in Britain. The only real difference is that because of the better weather in Bulgaria - you will see a lot more people sitting outside the Restaurants rather than indoors.
In the Villages a lot of houses still have Outside Toilets. Indeed, some Bulgarians prefer to have Outside Toilets feeling that it is more hygienic than having toilet facilities indoors.
Modernisation and the need to protect Traditions and Individuality: In the last 7 years or so there have been significant changes in Bulgaria - even in the Villages - life is becoming more modernised (which I feel is a step in the wrong direction). In the Villages you will see a curious mix of e.g. Someone sat on their Cart being driven by a Donkey and on their mobile phone! I see Bulgaria making some of the same mistakes that Britain made. Some areas have been over-developed/over-commercialised (especially along parts of the Coastline) in the scramble to make money out of the new capitalistic politics and opportunities. Traditions have been bull-dozed away by the Large Developers. Gone are the beautiful individual Craft Shops, the Petite Family run Cafes, the quiet Bays and Beaches, the Small Guest Houses, to be replaced by Large Hotels and the usual Departmental Stores that one sees in every Large City. However, thankfully some areas have been preserved and retained their individuality. Whilst there is a need for some further 'modernisation' in Bulgaria (to e.g. improve public transport systems and public facilities) I do hope that that the Traditions of the rural areas are preserved and protected. Please don't allow the multi-nationals to dominate or else every Town/Place will end up looking exactly the same.