Saturday, May 26, 2007

Celebrating the Cyrillic Alphabet

This week was a wet one, with every day since last Friday pouring rain. Whereas in college I gave myself a day off school when it would rain (because after wading through the campus floodwaters, being doused head-to-toe with water from the splashes caused by a USC Tram my freshman year, or having a line of dirt stripe my clothes from the dirty water kicked up by my bike, I vowed never to endure LA rain), this is not an option here in Boboshevo – school and language class must go on. I will say that the 35 bucks I spent on the cute raincoat at H&M before I left was the best purchase I have made in a long time. Unfortunately, its bright blue color and scattered white raincoats pattern combined with my purple plaid umbrella receives stares. Every evening when I return home I have to hike past a magazine (store) that also acts as a cafe. There are always at least ten men drinking on its porch and as I make the trek up the hill, they stop all conversation and stare at me. It’s really uncomfortable. Daily I wrestle with whether to say dobur den (good afternoon) or continue walking as I pretend I never noticed them. Each time I pass I pull out an ipod earbud just in case one of them decides to speak or respond if I do decide to greet them. Despite switching up my communication strategies, they still have yet to speak to me – they just simply stare. I am not sure why I am so interesting. The raincoat days seem to be the worst.

Luckily the rain stopped for the 24th of May. This is a big holiday here in Bulgaria, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe and Russia – Kiril and Methodii Day. These two men are saints and apparently the creators of the Cyrillic alphabet. So OF COURSE they should be praised and honored for creating such an easily understood thing – right??? Sarcasm aside, everyone is off work and school (except us) and the kids at school practiced all week for a big celebration program. The entire town came parading through the center led by a marching band to attend the children’s program. I took an amazing video, which I will soon YouTube for all to see. All in all, it was adorable and being full of cuteness and hilarity, reminded me of a church primary program or the end-of-the-year elementary school music program. However, I couldn’t help but die laughing every once and a while as I was sitting through an event I didn’t understand in the slightest and realized there was an entire day and dramatic program dedicated to the alphabet creators. How did they get to be so huge? I feel bad for the other alphabet creators who totally got shafted. Anyway, I watched skits about the alphabet, some traditional pagan and horo dances, and then a few bits of modernity that were thrown in, such as dances to Sugababes and Shakira. I love the juxtaposition of old-world cultural tradition and modernity that I see everywhere in Bulgaria. Perhaps this is why I am so amused by donkey carts driving along modern vehicles in the street.

Lastly, I seem to have amassed a Bulgarian boyfriend without my knowing. Here in Bulgaria it seems that if you are near the age of someone of the opposite sex, all the adults push you together. I have a 19 year-old neighbor named Mario who every day this week has been sitting at the porch table with his mom, aunt and MamaVanya waiting for me to come home. He likes to take pictures of me with his camera phone, show me close to pornographic pictures of chalga (BG folk pop) singers he thinks I will be admirable of, bring me fruit, or even paint my nails. Everyday the four of them have a 20-minute discussion about my hair and whether they prefer it curly or straight (curly is a rarity in BG). I have noticed that conversation topics here are incredibly simple – often about how one’s vegetables are growing in the garden and apparently hair. Anyway, Mario doesn’t really speak to me in public (I think he is a bit intimidated when I am with the other girls), but he tries to impress us all by popping wheelies on his bike shirtless in the center. We can’t really communicate, but every once and a while he tries to speak to me through my dictionary. However, when he pointed out the words for birth canal and intention, I became slightly concerned. (*NOTE: for those I told the story to, this is the same guy who got into my text message and will most likely be the cause of my reputation’s ruin in Boboshevo). The other girls give me crap everyday about Mario, but they each have also seemed to have amassed their own boyfriends without their knowledge – Iron Maiden, Mr. Nice Guy or Foxy (we don’t know any of their actual names, but the names we gave them describe them well, especially IM – he wears an Iron Maiden shirt everyday). Sometimes it sucks being the clueless and uncommunicative Americans, other times it is incredibly amusing. Each day is a new adventure.


Anonymous said...

The Cyrillic Alphabet is a wonderful one that I enjoy very much, not only is it used by the best language available on the also has a great history behind it that the Bulgarian people really take pride in.

Uncle Tim said...

Hi Amy. Uncle Tim here. Thanks to your mother for reminding us each week to check your blog for the latest news of your incredible adventures in Bulgaria. Wow! We are so impressed with your courage and commitment. You write well. Thanks for sharing. Your stories remind me of my time in Central America so many years ago. Being an American in a foreign country brings a unique viewpoint to your life, doesn't it. Keep your sense of humor. We love you. - Tim, Carol and Mike

Anonymous said...

Amy, hi it's Cheryl N. Oh how Tom and I are enjoying your blog! You have a positive outlook and sense of humor that keeps us laughing. Thanks for sharing your adventures in Bulgaria. We have an opportunity to see another part of this world through your eyes. You have encouraged me to look at all of our conveniences we don't even give a second thought to here in America. In helping others, growth is knocking at your door. Sounds like they're keeping an "eye" on you! Ha! Stay safe! Cheryl N.

jen said...

are you trying to give dad a heart attack, in reference to 'intention' and 'birth canal'????!!!!

Anonymous said...

hahaha!!! i love it amy. its nice that he paints your nails and points at such appropriate words in the dictionary. i hope your goodbye doesnt break his heart -jana

Elyse said...

laughing hysterically at work about mario popping wheelies in the square shirtless.


xoxox, i miss you so much amy!