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!
really enjoy going back to England any more. Last year it was RTD’s memorial
service and last month I went back to try to sort out what to do with my lump
sum from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
Well, why don’t I enjoy going back to my
own country? First of all, I think that it is because I just do not belong
there. Bulgaria is my home and therefore, more and more, I feel that my roots
are in my adopted country. Bulgaria is “home” now. Secondly, there are the
practical issues of going back, as I have no place of my own in the UK, no car,
no nothing. My old friend Peter Adams was very hospitable, as usual, and we
certainly enjoyed some splendid scoffing: lots of roast beef, roast potatoes,
Yorkshire pud and all the trimmings! This was then followed up with the
inevitable crumble and custard. Then we also had a good lunch with Peter’s mum
(fish and chips), followed by a delicious Chinese meal. But food leads on to my
next anti-British moan: the outrageous cost of just about every…
Even though we left Qatar more than five years ago, many teachers still contact me through the TES and ask me what it is like to teach there. Hi Hippo
I hope you don't mind me pre-emptively sending you a conversation about my job
GEMS Wellington Qatar have offered 13.5k which I think is reasonable for three
years' experience qualified (five including unqualified experience).
However, they are not offering medical insurance for my family nor are they
covering flights for them. At the interview, the Director intimated that my
family might even have to stay here in the UK while stuff like permits got
sorted out. My gut instinct tells me not to accept the offer as a result.
Also, I've heard Qataris can be quite racist towards non-white people. How true
is this? I've always fought against this sort of thing in the UK as an Asian
man and don't want any trouble when I go out to work.
Is the cost of living higher than Dubai or London? Obviously, I'd not have to
In many ways Veliko Tarnovo, also known as V.T., is a much nicer city than Sofia. It is smaller, less polluted and the traffic is nowhere near as bad as it is in the capital. Every year, we go and spend a week or so in our apartment in Veliko Tarnovo. For I don't know how long, Irena and I have been saying, "When you retire, we will move in V.T. and that is where we will spend the winter, as it won't be much fun spending the winter in Kalotina." The main problem with this plan is that we have not retired yet. Well, I was retired for six months, but then I started working again and now we have started to put down roots in Sofia, not in V.T. This trip to V.T. was rather different, as it was dominated by the presence of Tina. Yes, it was a lot of fun to have her delightful company, but she was also seriously ill. Several trips to the Vet were needed, along with quite a few injections and a course of antibiotics. First she was vomiting and had bad diarroheia, followed by …