This blog is supposed to be all about Bulgaria, but for five years we were in Shenzhen, in southern China. That is the reason for the weird title, "Bulgaria with Noodles". In June of 2018, Irena and I left China and retired to Bulgaria, to our villa 60km north of Sofia and to our apartment in Veliko Tarnovo. This blog is really all about some comparisons and contrasts between China and Bulgaria, two very different countries.
Lunch with Bill and Julia
We washed the chopsticks too.
Firstly, I was delighted to see that two of my favourite blogs, Peter and Minty's www.movetobulgaria.blogspot.com, and Claire's www.auntiebulgaria.blogspot.com, have new posts. Minty had not posted anything for ages, so we were wondering what had happened. Secondly, my own blog has now had more than 6,000 "hits". That is pretty good for a blog that has only been going for two months.
Julia are our dear friends. It would be difficult to imagine our years in China
without them. Even though Bill and Julia are younger than us, Irena and I
always enjoy their company. We are always laughing when we are together.
course, this is China and so one of the most important things the four of us do
is – yes, you guessed it – eating! Bill and Julia love Irena’s cooking, so they
often come to our apartment for a meal. We often go out to a restaurant
together and so that means leaving the ordering to Julia!
after church, we had yet another lunch with Bill and Julia. This time it was in
a big restaurant around the corner from our apartment. The first thing you do
in a real Chinese restaurant is to wash the crockery. Yes, it is true. Your
bowl, plate and spoon come packed in plastic wrapping, so you would think that
it would already clean, but no! You have to wash it in tea. Well, really it is
not “tea”, but something called “wheat tea”. It was a yellow colour and tasted
of wheat. In China, all kinds of things are used to make “tea” and the things
that are not used much are the clippings of the leaves from certain bushes.
Wheat tea and durian dim sum
dim sum were good; the durian ones were not so good. I liked the sweet and sour
pork and the rice soup was yummy.
ingredient to many meals with Bill and Julia is, of course, the naughtiest poodle
in all of the Middle Kingdom, Diudiu. “Loud”, “bossy”, “stubborn” and “greedy”:
those are the adjectives that come to mind when describing this doggie.
"Tea" - well, it was delicious
I have lost
count of the number of times we have had meals with Bill and Julia. We would
never have experienced the amazing variety of Chinese food without our dear
friends. So what is my next gastronomic ambition? To introduce Bill and Julia
to the joys of Bulgarian cuisine, in Bulgaria!
Okay, so it is 5.30am on a Monday morning. It is time to get up. Showering, getting dressed and having breakfast are usually slow-motion action replays, only not so fast. Then, after a twenty-five minute walk along the street and through the park, I arrive at Green Oasis School, also known as GOS. It's a good school in the centre of Futian, the posh central district of Shenzhen. I am now in my fifth and final year as a Year 5 teacher. Of course I cannot speak much Mandarin and I cannot read any at all, but fortunately I have the wonderful services of my assistant or "teaching partner", Miss Yanee.
Friday, 15th of June, 2018, will be my last day in the teaching profession and then my wife and I will be returning to Bulgaria for our retirement. We will be leaving just after my 59th birthday, so I will still be a whisker away from being an OAP.
Teaching Chinese students is a delight. The nine- and ten-year-olds in my class have Mandarin as their first language and that is …
You will, I am sure, be glad to know that I am
not an estate agent. Yes, I have done some silly things in my life, but I have
never worked for a real estate company and no, I am not sponsored by the
Veliko Tarnovo is more or less in the
centre of Bulgaria and it was the old capital, before Sofia became the capital.
Greece is just around the corner and there are overnight trains to Romania and to Turkey, so you can go to bed in Sofia and wake up in Bucharest or in Istanbul. In Bulgaria, the main language that
most people speak is – surprise, surprise – Bulgarian. This is a Slavic
language and there are many similarities between Bulgarian and Russian. Bulgarian
is also quite similar to Czech, Ukrainian and Serbo-Croat. The Cyrillic
alphabet is used throughout Bulgaria
and, for some people, this can be a bit strange and confusing at first.
Actually, learning Bulgarian is not quite as difficult as it looks, once you
get over the shock of learning a different alphabet…
Yesterday Irisha and I went to Lianhuacun Park, just opposite our apartment
in the Bank of China Towers. There are supposed to be 16 or maybe 18 million
people here in Shenzhen and most of them seemed to think that going to the park
would be a good idea. The temperature must have been in the high 20s and it was a pleasantly sunny day, maybe the
last day of the summer. Well, that was how it felt, even though it was
the middle of November. (Why do boring Brits always go on about the weather so much?)
After a walk up to the pagoda, we looked at some
special flower displays and then, like everyone else, we took lots of photos.
Irena was singing in the worship team on Sunday morning, so we had to get to church a bit earlier than usual. Our friends Bill and Julia arrived later. After church, we went back to Futian by bus (I hate the buses in Shenzhen, as all the drivers think they are at Silverstone) and then lunch, followed by writing this blog. Why is it so hard to add photos to a blog? I s…