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!
now 45 days to go, to the end of my teaching career. Well, it has been quite
interesting: the UK for about twenty years, followed by my misadventures in
foreign parts: Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, Qatar, the UAE and now
China. On Thursday, 14th June, 2018, I shall be teaching my
last-ever lessons at Green Oasis School and then on Monday, 18th, we will be
flying to Bulgaria. As you may
have noticed, this blog is called “Bulgaria with Noodles” because Irena and I
are still in China, but in many ways our hearts are already in BG. But what
will we do, once we have settled down in Bulgaria? A lot of travelling is
fairly high on the list of priorities.
The truth is, we really do not know most of Bulgaria. Sofia, Kalotina and a Veliko Tarnovo: that is about all we are
familiar with. Whenever we come to Bulgaria for the summer, there is a long
list of things that need to be sorted out: the grass in the back garden is
about two metres high, the car will not start, the fridge i…
readers of my online ramblings will know that our apartment in Shenzhen is in
fact in Futian, opposite the huge and splendid Lianhuacun park. Another
advantage is that our apartment is located half-way between two MTR stations on
different lines, Children’s Palace and Lianhuacun. However, in this posting I
am going to take your, dear reader, into our apartment and show you round a
bit. This may perhaps be of some interest to anyone who is thinking of living
and working in China (and Shenzhen in particular). The
good news about our apartment is that it is cheap. All of the Bank of China
Towers blocks are clad in ghost-busting reddish-dark pinkish tiles. This is in
order to keep away the evil spirits of those who were executed nearby. (It
seems to work, as so far no spirits have appeared, although I do sometimes have
a glass or two of vodka when Irena makes some Russian-themed soup.) As a
result, a lot of Chinese people do not want to live in these blocks and so our
apartment is …
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 a b…