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.
Spring in Shenzhen
four seasons here in southern China, but they are rather different to the ones
you get in Europe. Most new expats, especially teachers like me, arrive at the end of the
summer. It is hot and wet. Either it will be raining or else it is about to
rain or actually it does not matter whether it is raining or not because you are already
sweating so much that you’re soaked anyway. Then, sometime around the beginning
of October, it stops raining and the weather is pleasantly warm and dry. This
continues right on into December, but in January you will get a few cold weeks.
No snow or frost or anything like that, but it will be a lot colder, especially if your apartment only has single glazing and the windows do not fit properly. Then,
around the beginning of March, it warms up and you get some pleasant and fairly
dry weather through to the middle of May, when the rain seriously begins and
Shenzhen becomes one big sauna.
believe that I have written so much about the weather! (Blooming boring Brits,
always going on and on about the weather. Well, it makes a change from Brexit
and house prices.)
we had a visit from our dear Chinese friends, Bill and Julia, plus Diudiu, the
naughtiest dog in China.
went for a walk in Central Park. It was so beautiful! This park is like a
botanical garden, as there are so many different kinds of bushes and trees, all
arranged so neatly and thoughtfully. Hammocks, tents, people playing musical
instruments and singing: it all happens in a Chinese park. Sometimes there is
slow-motion, ballet-like Taichi. You can take part in it too, if you want to, and join
the inaction. It is great to live in the Bank of China Towers because we have
the huge Lianhuacun Park on the opposite side of the road and there is Central Park
another five minutes’ walk away from us.
we were in church (yours truly was preaching) and then we came home on the MTR
and NOT the bus, for once. Oh yes, and here is yet another picture of Diudiu, the naughtiest dog in China.
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…
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 …