Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘The Characters’ Category

Yes, I had a lot to do after Kerrie left but that didn’t stop me from taking time to enjoy what the village had to offer.

Unfortunately for Kerrie, she left just before a couple of wonderful folklore days. It was Easter you see, so there was a day in Miladinovtsi and another day in General Insovo.  Hristina had told me ages ago that there was something on at the local community centre and was I going to go along ?.  Of course I was…one thing I’ve learnt is that when I get invited to things, there’s often a very pleasant surprise waiting for me when I get wherever it is I’m invited, so I rarely refuse any invites.

The Mila do was on Friday the 15th of April and she also mentioned that there was something on in General Insovo on the Sunday. Now, I’ve been to the Insovo do in previous years. This is the inter village competition for dancing and singing. It had been wonderful the other times I’d been, so I was definitely up for another visit this year.

On the Friday Hristina and I headed up to the community centre about 9.30am and everyone was there !

There was flowers

There was singing

There was dancing

and a whole table of food, most of it the traditional easter breads and cakes

Which I discovered was all cooked by the local ladies and was to be judged later on by the Mayor and a couple of the village men.

I’d not seen the traditional breads and cakes before and some looked (and tasted) delicious.

The centre piece on the table was a very decorative Easter cake (I think it’s a cake)

it was a fantastic piece and made by one of the older women in the village

and though she may not show it, she was very proud of her creation and pleased when I asked for a picture.

So, after the singing and dancing finished the Mayor and two offsiders started to sample the food and score it. The tension in the room was palpable…trust me

And after the judging was finished and prizes awarded, that lovely table of food was demolished

The men drank Rakia

Everyone ate to their hearts content

And this is all that was left at the end.  It looked like a plague of locusts had been through.

The lovely centre piece, however, was whisked off the table and showed up again in Insovo two days later….but that’s another story.

The only reason I’m getting so much of this done is because the weather has turned to poo…as soon as Mr Sun appears I’m off to the garden !!

There’s still birthday gatherings, Easter, guests and some ‘triffic pictures to go, so if the rain persists, I might just get it all done…



Read Full Post »

As I gazed out the window this morning – I’m snowed in, so doing quite a bit of that – I couldn’t help but notice a vehicle that was sliding it’s way up the road.  Actually, it wasn’t the masses of snow or the sliding car that  caught my attention, it was the sheer numbers of people in it. !

The car itself was absolutely packed to the gunnels and to top it off, there were four people sitting in the boot, crammed in like sardines, lid up, legs hanging over the back and all of them having a merry old time.  Let’s not forget that the road is so dangerously slippery just now and it was also snowing quite heavily as, with engine roaring, they slid off up the road. Heaven help them if someone had come around the corner in the opposite direction.

And I know I shouldn’t say it, but it was hilarious to see. They just didn’t have a care in the world and were as happy as anyone could be.

I was relating the story to Mitko later on and he told me they were on their way to the cemetery because it’s one year since their mother died. I commented that perhaps they all had a wish to join her…  🙂

I desperately wanted a pic, but couldn’t lay my hands on my long range lens…by the time I found it, they had slid around the corner…damn and blast.  I must start leaving the camera and all its bits on the kitchen table. I often look out and see bizarre things happening in the streets below me and as they can’t see me, it really is a chance for good shots. I just need to get more organised.

This isn’t the first time the guys that own and drive this particular car have stopped me in my tracks. They obviously have a gas conversion on the vehicle and  a couple of weeks ago, I was walking up to the village centre when I came across one of them doing some repairs to it.  He’d pulled the tank out of the car and was sitting on the ground doing said ‘repairs’ ….mainly with a hammer !!

They just make the best of what they have I think and do the best they can with what they have and all the time they appear to be pretty happy and relaxed about it all.

And what else am I doing to amuse myself while the snow falls ?  Besides making the living room and kitchen lovely and warm for myself and Gina, I’m having my first ever go at making my own yoghurt.  I never realised how easy it is. Well, in saying that, the technicalities appear simple but I won’t know for another 6-7 hours if it’s actually working.  I may just end up with a large dish of sour milk, which Gina will love…so nothing wasted.

And Gina is still insisting on her daily walk.  We’ve just got back and again the snow was falling and the air was bracing, but I actually love it.  I feel great when I get home. There’s been a very nasty flu doing the rounds of the village and one of the women reckons I haven’t got it because I go for a walk in the freezing cold every day. I doubt that’s a correct medical opinion, but I’ve certainly managed to avoid it…so far.

Slightly worrying occurrence last night…Hristina’s sister Donna has been here many times and yesterday she popped in to see if I wanted to buy some Martinitsa’s…they’re the red and white wristlets that people here give on March first. You wear them and when you see your first stork, you hang them on a tree or place them under a stone. In winter when there’s no leaves on the trees, you can see loads of them from previous years hanging on the branches.  Anyway, Donna came up the stairs and Gina and I were waiting for her at the top.  As she walked past Gina, madam took a sly little nip at her backside !!  Fortunately, she only made contact with Donna’s very thick coat, but I was stunned & Donna was frightened because she thought ( and possibly, rightly so) that Gina was going to bite her. I called out ‘Gina !!!’ and she immediately let go and sat there looking deeply ashamed, but none the less, this is not something I want to see happening.   I’m worried that it might be a possession thing with me…she doesn’t want anyone coming here…but I have guests coming and if needs be, she will be banished to the dog house whenever I have people here.  She’s strong and has very big teeth…I don’t want any problems.

And yet, as I look at her here, fast asleep on her luxurious bed with her best ‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth’ face, it seems hard to believe that she would do such a thing.

I wont lie, she has bitten someone.  When she was having her pups one of them died and she was distraught.  I very carefully took the dead puppy away, but she was not happy about it and she even growled at me.  I had people staying downstairs at that stage and I told them that under no circumstance were they to go into the garage because Gina was beside herself and I couldn’t guarantee how she would react to people going in there.  Unfortunately, the woman who used to breed dogs, thought she knew best and went into the garage as soon as I turned my back.  I was at the front of the house burying the puppy when I heard a god awful scream and a terrible commotion ….Sure enough, Gina had sunk her large teeth into the woman’s calf.  I felt terrible that it had happened, but I had been very clear with my instructions.  I always advise people to approach her gently and not to suddenly lunge at her…she doesn’t like that at all.  A hangover from her beatings, I’m sure, so she does need a little understanding, but she’s been so good since I came back that she really caught me off guard yesterday….something to watch for I guess. And she was fantastic with the guests I had last year, so maybe she was just having a bad day.

She’s still my girl and I love her.

Read Full Post »

So much for getting my blog up to date before the New Year clicked over.!! Join me now as I step into my time machine and go back to 2010 and finish up a couple of bits and pieces I’ve been trying to do since before Mia became so ill.

Ah yes indeed…..even before the first snows started to fall this winter, the pig killings got underway.

I had noted a few happening around the place when I was walking to dogs….and that’s something I’ll mention in passing.  Never take two large, strong dogs past a place of much blood !!  Bloody hell, I literally have to drag them away and that’s no mean feat.  They go a little nuts when they see all that meat and blood and none of it appears to be coming their way.

Anyway, it was with great pleasure that I accepted an invitation to Hristina and Volchos for their first big kill last Sunday.

When I first went to a pig kill I was too squeamish to go early for the actual killing and cutting up. I did get a little braver and started attending a little earlier and saw bits and pieces of what  transpired. I’m not saying I’m brave enough even now for the actual killing, but I did get myself over there to catch the process of what happens after the death blow.

When I got over the road the pig was dead and the head removed and the hair removed from the skin. The process had reached this stage…..prepare yourself if you’re a little squeamish


While this guy took care of the cutting up of the torso, the innards were being cut up into small pieces by two other men for ‘Barhoor’, a sausage made mainly from offal

and here’s Ivan cleaning out the entrails for the Barhoor

They wash them out thoroughly and after the bits are all chopped up the process of making the barhoor begins.

What do you think this might be ? and no, it’s not a torpedo launcher…

Well, it’s this, the sausage maker, made by Volcho probably or maybe one of the other men there

The bits are all mixed together and the Barhoor making begins

Keep in mind, this is all being done in freezing temperatures…

And while the men are kept out of mischief making Barhoor, the women have plenty to do as well.

Hristina and her sister, Donna were meanwhile cooking up what has become my favourite winter dish. It’s pork with sour cabbage. It’s delicious and warming and perfect on a cold winters day.

Firstly the pork is fried up until it’s fairly crispy. The cabbage is bubbling away in another pot and when the pork is ready, the fat is drained off, a good scoop of paprika is added, along with the drained cabbage and then it’s all well combined.

When everything is cut up, sorted out, cleaned up and packed away it’s time to sit at the table and enjoy some of the fruits of their labour.

It’s the depths of winter, so no fresh salads. It’s time for potato salad and pickled vegetables, green tomatoes and carrots. And plates of ‘cherin drob’ are placed on the table for you to pick at. This is the liver. Now I’ve had some that have been bloody awful but Hristina cooks hers like mum used to make liver and bacon. It’s has a lovely rich gravy and tastes fantastic, and the locals will tell you it’s all part of keeping healthy over the cold winter months. Everything they eat seems to have a purpose and different things appear on the table at different times of the year. The other things that appears at this time of the year is minced garlic with oil and salt and in between picking at the veges and liver, the odd shovel of garlic is taken as well. It’s delicious. !! A small rakia or two is taken with this part of the meal.

Then comes the (usually) enormous plate of pork and cabbage. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I can’t believe how much the Bulgarians can eat while not getting fat. There’s a few plumpys, but you don’t see the enormous people that you see in the west.

So there I am with my plate of pork and cabbage, a few slices of nice fresh bread, a large glass of Volchos terrific red wine and great company in a really warm room…a perfect winters day.

Even the chickens get in on the act…

No wonder the eggs are so rich and wonderful 🙂

And there’s still one to go…this will be part of the family celebration at Christmas. Hristina and Volchos children live and work overseas so they don’t get together all that often. When they do, it’s reason for much joy and celebration, and as part of that this year, this fella will meet his maker…all 300 kilograms of him !!

And the main question I was asked during the day by different people: ‘Why don’t you do this in Australia ?’
Hard to explain that we’re not allowed to…I know it’s a tradition here and one that even the EU won’t knock on the head, but as the younger generation come through, I doubt they’ll want to do it. They’re all more than happy to come to their parents and grandparents in the villages now and leave with a car full of fresh meat, rakia, wine and other produce, but will they take up the traditions ?? I doubt it….far too busy buying shiny things and getting into debt. A shame really. One day Bulgaria and all the other eastern European countries will be just like everywhere else and I don’t think I want to be here when that happens.

On a lighter note…there was one very busy fella when the pig was being cut up…Volchos very fine looking rooster. And here he is…just because

Read Full Post »

Now, I’m sure you know me well enough by now to know that I’m not all about work…no matter how busy I am. So when Hristina came to me and asked if I wanted to go away on an overnight stay for another performance of folklore and folk dancing, of course I said yes.

I asked her where we were going and she replied ‘Черно море’ Cherno More…The Black Sea.  But where on the Black Sea were we going ? She just shrugged her shoulders, laughed and said ‘Черно море’. So, once again I was off on a magical, mystery tour with the people of my village.  I did run into the Mayor a few days later and he wanted to confirm that I was coming.  I asked him where we were going and found out it was a town called Primorsko, a place I had wanted to visit since Ivan told me about it years ago.  I was very excited about this trip indeed..

So very early on the morning of September 05th I joined Hristina and wandered up to the village centre to await the coach that would whisk us away to the seaside.

even the local dog was there to see us off

and everyone, young and old, was coming along

When the coach arrived there was a flurry of raised voices and waving arms.  I asked Hristina what was wrong and, apparently, everyone was very unhappy about the standard of coach that had come.  It just wasn’t good enough.  Now it looked OK to me, but there wasn’t a toilet or (I think) a movie and so folk weren’t happy. The mayor, who didn’t look too happy himself, eventually got us all onboard and away we went.

Got to Primorsko and there was another problem…something to do with the hotel.  Hey, my Bulgarian has improved exponentially, but I’m still no expert.  Next thing, we’re away to Kiten, 5 kilometres away and in no time at all, ensconced in a very “Russian’ style hotel.

But the rooms were clean and the beds comfy, so I was happy.  I got the share a room with Hristina and Gospodina, the wife of Ivan’s uncle.  It was interesting…I realised how much more Bulgarian I could speak and how much more I could understand, but I still couldn’t keep up when they started a full blown, rapid conversation.

While we waited for our rooms to be made ready, everyone sat outside and those who had bought lunch with them, sat and nibbled. One of the village women who lives just up the road from me is Maria and she’s a very funny woman.  She arrived with her lunch, set herself up on a table, plonked a small vase of flowers, the ones that would later grace her hair when she was dancing, on the table, and proceeded to enjoy a good lunch in the sunshine.

Then it was up to our rooms and, while the ladies prepared themselves for an afternoon of impressing the judges, I wandered around taking sneaky pics with my new very large lens…it’s great because I can take pictures before anyone sees me.  If a Bulgarian sees a camera they will pose, and I want unposed, natural shots…and I got some beauties.

and some, not so sneaky…

No sooner had we arrived in Kiten and got settled, than we were hurried into the bus for the trip back to Primorsko for the competition.  I mentioned before that they take it all very seriously, and you can really feel the tension as they wait their turn…

This day, however, after watching the other competitors for some time, Vala, our local poshta (post office) lady must have decided to ease the tension by getting everyone to have a bit of a dance while waiting to go on.  I was wandering around (again) taking pics when I noticed her quietly dancing, waving a handkerchief…next thing, everyone had joined in and a lovely spontaneous thing happened under a huge shady tree on a beautiful summers day…

Sanka, the Mayors wife, is in charge of the whole troop. Normally she would be dancing as well, but as they had a loss in their family, I’ve been told that she and Dimitar won’t dance for a year. Look at her face while she watches her group on stage:

This is serious business…but all their hard work paid off, as there were many accolades at the end

and while I watched it all through my camera lens, I managed to capture a little of the beautiful colours and textures of the costumes and the fabulous footwear.

Once the competition was over, it was a quick walk around Primorsko and the things you see…

I was busy buying myself a set of garden chimes for my new patio area, when I noticed the Mayor at the booth next to me showing a great deal of interest in something.  I peeked over his shoulder and this is what greeted me:

Knives, guns, nan-chukkas anyone ????

The Mayor purchased one of the larger knives in the range and as we walked away I told him that in Australia, because of the high levels of violence, you would never be able to have a stall like that in a public place and you certainly would not be permitted to walk around the streets with such a dangerous weapon.  I told him the police would shut down the stall, seize all the weapons and probably put the stall holder in jail…and maybe the mayor as well for walking around with such a scary knife….his response ???  ” How else am I supposed to kill my pigs ” and off he walked, proudly showing his new purchase to his wife  🙂

and just in case all those knives and things weren’t enough for you, we could always pop in here for a drink???

Ah, Bulgaria…

Then it was back to the hotel for a big sleep after a busy day and next morning we all headed out and about in Kiten.

We had a beaut day. Most of the people on this trip work really hard and this was a nice couple of days for them away from it all.

The beach was lovely and almost deserted, which was nice, and there was this terrific little bar nestled amongst the rocks….definitely on my list of places to have lunch, or something, when I get back down there again.

and I managed to get my little walking group together for a quick pic.

We then we had a big walk all around the town and then found ourselves and pretty much all of the group down at another beachy/rocky bit.

I told them to gather together for a big group photo…bloody hell, it was like trying to herd cats,

but eventually I got a couple of them all

but all too soon it was time to go

we headed back to the hotel and the bus…now what was I saying about the things you see. I couldn’t resist this guy in his ‘safety gear’ strimming the grass.  Gotta keep the tan up you know…

We jumped back on the bus for a quick trip to Sozopol before returning to Miladinovtsi.

Sozopol was hot, but wonderfully quiet and it was all quiet walks and icecreams

well, except for the guy walking his…..lizard !!! ???

which I found slightly bizarre, but there ya go….Ah, Bulgaria.

It was a very tired old girl who returned to her home that night, but what a wonderful day I’d had…

Read Full Post »

God, I’m getting told off now for not keeping this up to date, but you have to be kind to me.  I have a lot to do and I’ve been doing it.

I’ve completely redone the third floor and it looks damned spectacular…even if I say so myself. And I’ve been out picked 5 kilograms of mulberries and turned them into jam,  mulberry syrup (which is bloody good on pancakes), stewed mulberries for a possible pie in the depths of winter, plus made a boatload of apricot jam. The kitchen has been running non stop for days.

It’s a damned miserable day here today, so I thought I’d sit down label all my preserves and if time permitted, get at least one entry done here…

So, let’s get started by casting our minds back to June 12th..that would be the day after my last entry, but what a day it was.  I had known for some weeks that I was off to Yambol with the villagers for a singing dancing competition.  No, I wasn’t doing either, but I was certainly taking pictures of them.

So, 8.30 on the morning of the 12th, I headed up to the village community centre and there they all were in their colourful splendour. And even better, while I’d been in Australia for the last two years, their numbers had grown. There were a few new faces plus three of the local men. I’ve been to a lot of these events over the years and Miladinovtsi has rarely had any men involved, so it was nice to see some there this time.

DSC01692 th DSC01699 th

We piled into the cars and arrived at the Yambol sporting complex, where I was greeted by the sight of even more colour and motion

DSC01711 th DSC01704 th

DSC01710 th

These events are something they clearly take seriously and while other villages were performing, I took a few shots of the Mila folk checking out the competition.  You can see the tension in their faces

DSC01733 th DSC01767 th

But once they took to the stage and got their event underway, they certainly did the village proud with the performance.

I’m not sure what story they were telling, but there was bread being broken, wool being spun, song, laughter and dance…

DSC01781 th DSC01750 th 1

DSC01749 th DSC01760 th

DSC01750 th DSC01765 th

DSC01768 th

Did they get through to the next stage ?? Buggered if I know,but I’ve no doubt that if they did, someone will turn up on my doorstep one day telling me to be somewhere on a particular day at a particular time and away we’ll go for another fabulous day of folklore. I love these days. !

As I write this, Mia is lying on the floor behind me, snoring …..like a man !!  Bloody hell !!  you have no idea how loud it is…Christ, I don’t need a husband, I’ve got two dogs doing a perfectly good job of deafening me with snoring….

and Yes, Mia’s finally made the journey to the inside of the house, but that’s another story that I promise to tell you soon….suffice to say, the weather is lousy and both mother and daughter are luxuriating in the comforts of the ‘inside world’

I’ll be back…

Read Full Post »

Phew !!  Nana’s been a wee bit sick.  Bloody hell, I can see why they call it ‘Grip’, it gets a hold of you and won’t let go for love nor money.   I’ve even had to take to my bed for extended periods during the day.  But like everything in life, one can usually find something amusing and even in my sweaty, feverish days (and nights) I’ve been amused by the sounds coming from my chest…thank God I don’t smoke anymore actually because I reckon I’d be dead if I’d combined smoking with whatever is in my chest.  Anyway, if you’ve ever picked up a squeezebox or a piano accordion in your life without knowing how to play it, you know the strange range of sounds that can come out of it…think of those sounds and you’ve got the noises coming from me just now.  I’ve been lying in bed  just breathing, as you do, and I’ve had noises both when inhaling and exhaling, so the opportunity has been there to see just how much I can vary the sounds…and I can.  🙂  I’ll be a lot happier when I can’t though. My cleaning regime has ground to a halt basically because I don’t have any energy. However, today, after 24 hours drinking a tea made with chunks of lemon, handfuls of mint, fresh garlic, cloves and large dollops of Miladinovtsi honey I’m feeling decidedly better and ready to tackle the house again.

And I haven’t been completely house bound.

It was my birthday on Wednesday..and no, the bottle of Verve I picked up in Dubai on the way over did not get opened.  I was too crook and couldn’t see any point in wasting it. Anyway, when I lived here before, the Mayor used to ring me every year to wish me Happy Birthday and even though I’ve been away for two years, he remembered. First thing Wednesday my phone rang and I was greeted with a great big ‘Chestita Roj Den Den’ (Happy birthday).  Now, a little aside here…while I was in Australia, Dimitor and Sanka, The Mayor and Mayoress, lost their only child, their daughter. I attended the christening of her first child in 2007, she was such a young woman and I was devastated when Ivan rang me to tell me the terrible news.  I guess I’d kinda been avoiding going up to say hello to them since my return.  In Some situations I’m not as courageous as people think I am, and facing them after their awful tragedy with my limited Bulgarian somehow seemed a little daunting. But when Dimitor rang me for my birthday, I realised that these are more than just some folk I know in a village, they are my friends, and friends are there for you when times are bad and good.  So I got myself dressed and headed up to see them, and it was as hard as I thought it would be, but not because of the language barrier.  Dimitor, as the Mayor, is the person that everyone looks up to, the person that everyone goes to when they have problems… Sanka, his wife also plays a strong role in the village. They are the strength of the village. As I walked up into the village centre, he was walking towards me.  We shook hands, did the cheek to cheek kissing and exchanged a few words. He then started to talk about his daughter and I could see him crumbling…he just looked defeated. I just wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was or whether there was some protocol I should follow, so I did the thing I seem to do best in times of peoples stress and distress…I gave him a great big Sue Mercer bear hug. I probably frightened the living bejezus out of him, but it just seemed the thing to do at the time.  I asked about Sanka, and she was walking through the park in the village centre so I headed over to see her as well. Sanka’s a woman of quiet strength but like Dimitor, she looked exhausted and a little defeated, so after a few tears (from both of us) I did the same to her as I had to her husband, just hugged her really hard and hoped that she could draw a little strength from me…I have plenty to give.

Now, there’s more….me and my storks.  There are a couple of new kids on the block and they’ve moved in just up the road from my house.  I can see them from the window that I’m sitting in front of writing this.

DSC01143 th

and they’re building a new nest up there, which sees them wandering around on the ground collecting sticks and the like

DSC01085 th  DSC01087 th

But, there’s something going on with other storks around the village.  I think it’s possibly territorial and last night there was some dive bombing going on.

DSC01142 th  DSC01122 th

So the new kids were defending their nest last night, but all seems settled today and they’re back building again.

While I was out taking pics of the storks at war, the homing sheep came home

DSC01123 th DSC01130 th

and for a moment, I thought they were all going to come home with me.  They seemed a little surprised to find me standing in the middle of their road and proceeded to crowd around me, baa-ing loudly

DSC01138 th  DSC01140 th

and miles behind them, looking a tad weary, came the shepherd

DSC01146 th

Life in the village continues on:  Volcho’s donkey still gives a nightly performance when it’s time to come in and Volcho is forever patient, eventually getting her in the yard

DSC01115 th

and though Gorgi’s donkey may love to sleep on the road, she’s much better behaved when it comes to being put to bed at night

DSC01117 th

I have more to say, but I think this is a little long, so will leave it now and write a little more later….

Read Full Post »

Now, where was I ?..Ah, that’s right…in Bulgaria.

Once I had put all my reservations about returning the Bulgaria to bed, I just had a terrific time with my sister and everyone else that I had time to catch up with.

When I arrived back in the village, clearly the news of my return had spread. I was welcomed back by my neighbours, the Mayor, his wife and my Bulgarian friends. I felt like a long lost daughter….I was truly moved by the experience. I knew I had friends there but was concerned that my friendships were being damaged by malicious gossip. I was right that there had been plenty of gossip. This was bought to my attention by a friend who speaks english, but it hadn’t affected the real friendships I made in Miladinovtsi, the friendships that count.

Also, I was once very good friends with a woman called Stefka…we were great friends, but a couple of issues got in the way and we ended up estranged. When I knew I was going back, and after hearing that she had had a bad run with some of the people that adversly affected my life, I decided it was time to re-establish the friendship. I contacted her from here before I left and arranged to catch up once I got settled…..

I wanted to take Jillian to all the lovely places that I had been privileged to see in Bulgaria. I planned to head for Jeravna and Sozolpol for starters and as Stefka was also on holidays, I arranged for her to come with us.

We had a fabulous time and I even managed to drag my neighbour, Christina along for at least one day out….I figured she probably deserved a day off. We squeezed into my trusty car, and after dropping a couple of village ladies in Yambol, I picked up Stefka and we headed down to beautiful Sozopol. The weather was gorgeous…not to hot…and the old town, where we were, wasn’t too busy.
[photopress:DSC06566_th.jpg,full,pp_empty] [photopress:DSC06564_th.jpg,full,pp_empty] [photopress:DSC06562_th.jpg,full,pp_empty] [photopress:gdogs_BULG2008_028__4_.jpg,full,pp_empty]
[photopress:gdogs_BULG2008_028__10_.jpg,full,pp_empty]

We had a wonderful day…we did all the touristy things. We walked the length and breadth of the old town, we shopped, we lunched ( as ladies do), we ate icecream, we chatted …we just generally had a really nice day. And it was good to spend a little time with Christina when she wasn’t working, and it was great to get back to the good friendship that I had with Stefka.

I didn’t have nearly enough time back in BG and I knew that I wouldn’t have time to catch up with everyone I wanted to, even in the village, so I decided to throw a barbie..not the doll, the classic aussie summer feed…..

[photopress:DSC06568_th.jpg,full,pp_empty]

It was a cracking night !! I made the mistake though of thinking that if I invited 20 people, only ten would turn up…silly me. Everyone I asked arrived, both from within the village and from Yambol and Slavyantsi (sic) It was chaos……Jillian, Louisa, Anne, Jeremy and Gary spent half the night in the kitchen making more and more Shropska salad. I ran out of meat and had to borrow some…my poor pathetic little BBQ could hardly cope with the demand…. never worked so hard in its little life…
Thank god we didn’t run out of booze 🙂
Thank god the neighbours and various visitors from around the village had crammed my fridge full of fresh veges, cirene cheese and rakia….I had the capacity to feed the thousands…well, with veges, cirene and rakia anyway.

When we arrived in Miladinovtsi, we’d hardly had a chance to get settled before people started to arrive to welcome me back…all armed with food. As my huge fridge got more and more full, Jillian was saying ‘Susie, we’re only here for eight days..you have to tell them to stop bringing food..we’ll never get through it’ My response was that if she wanted to try and stop them, to go ahead…I wished her every success 🙂

Mind you, given the mob that turned up for the BBQ, it was a good thing that I had all that food……it certainly came in handy.

My time back in BG was starting to run out and the night after the BBQ, Christina invited Jillian and I over for an evening with her family. She had two of her sisters and her daughters there, with their partners.

[photopress:DSC06575_th.jpg,full,pp_empty] [photopress:DSC06579_th.jpg,full,pp_empty] [photopress:DSC06587_th.jpg,full,pp_empty]

Christina laid on the full feast of lamb, lamb drop sarma, shropska salad, rakia and wine….jesus, no wonder I put on weight while I was back in the country. We had a terrific night with them all. Christinas daughters live away, one in London and the other spends time working in Norway. When I left Bulgaria, both her daughters left around the same time and poor Christina was devastated that we were all disappearing at the same time to different corners of the world. It just happened that they were back in Bulgaria while I was there and it was very flattering to be included in their family gathering.

All too soon my time in Bulgaria was drawing to a close. I needed to spend time with Ivan, and in between him working with his sheep and house renovations and me running around catching up with everyone, we managed to get together…we also needed to sort a few things out because, again, wagging tongues had made difficulties between us….all sorted now though and our friendship is back where it belongs, on solid ground.

I wanted to spend time with his uncle Ivan and wife, Gospodina, which I did. I had a lovely few hours with them and though I’d only called in to say a proper goodbye, I ended up being fed and indulging in just the wee-ist of rakias. These are such good, welcoming people and I hated having to say goodbye to them again. In fact, I hated saying goodbye to any of them….I so wanted to stay there and get on with my life surrounded by these beaut folk……

Possibly the hardest goodbye was yet to come though, and that was saying goodbye to my dogs….again.

Jillian returned to Turkey on the Tuesday, as she was on her way to France to visit our friend Deb Westerberg and then onto Italy to spend time with our sister Helen. This gave me a day to tidy up some loose ends. I organised friends to mothball the house and car for me, but this doesn’t mean the house isn’t available if someone wants to rent it for a holiday. Just email me: aussiebulg@gmail.com if you think you might like a holiday in a very nice little corner of Bulgaria in a particularly special house.

Then it was time to say bye bye to my dogs. Jesus, I was a miserable cow…pretty sad old time for my last day in the country…..I did spend some very nice, though fairly miserable, time with my Gina in the house with me, and then it was time to return them all to the kennels for a few more months until they move to Bourgas. I think I actually heard and felt my heart break as I drove away, leaving them again.

And then it was time to say bye bye to Bulgaria. I’m so glad I went back, albeit for far too little time. I came away feeling exonerated, comfortable in the knowledge that I’m not the problem, it’s certain individuals around me. I’ve sorted out so much ‘stuff’ and restored very important friendships and seen the important people in my Bulgarian life.

So, with very mixed emotions I returned to Australia to start another life with the ABC in Geraldton…..and that’s turning into a whole other story…..

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »