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.
A Model Husband
honest, I did not think that my dear wife Irena would get some more modelling
work quite so soon. But I was wrong. As all of my regular readers will have
noted by now, it does not happen very often, my being wrong, but it does actually
Anyway, Irena’s Friday morning meant a train
journey to Guangzhou, surely one of the most impossibly-spelt words in that
non-existent language known as Pinyin, and then five hours in front of the
cameras. Just in case you are interested, “Guangzhou” is actually pronounced
“Gwanjo”, but then how should (and how would) you pronounce “Cholmondeley”?
It was all
in aid of a UK cosmetics company (I am not allowed to mention the name) and
Irena’s job was to tell everyone how this company has developed an exciting series
of skincare products and creams that use the power of Nature and plant
extracts. Irisha’s speech was in Chinglish, a language that really does seem to
exist and is in fact regularly used in China. She had to deliver the speech to
the camera, while at the same time looking very intelligent, professional and
convincing. The speech itself was garbage, as it was full of grammatical
mistakes, exaggerated claims and pseudo-scientific twaddle, all padded out with
the names of some faded celebrities who probably need to smear a lot of this expensive
gunk onto their wrinkled faces. On Thursday night, we went through the speech
together a couple of times and I must say her pronunciation was pretty good. (I
hope no one ever asks me to do a speech in Bulgarian or in Russian!)
I think that
the photos make Ira look about thirty years younger and very German. She looks
as though she is about to give a Nazi salute, eat some strudel and drive off in a Porsche. Well, the reality was not so
pleasant. She almost missed her train back to Shenzhen and it was nearly eleven
at night when she finally got home.
I am not, of
course, going to break my promise and circulate any of her modelling photos,
but fortunately some of these photos of Irena came from the agent’s WeChat “Moments”,
so really they have been circulated already. I did not even complain when she
woke me up because she had forgotten her keys. I reckon that all of this makes
me a model husband.
This is Irena's "model card" that she has sent to lots of agents.
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…