This blog is supposed to be all about Bulgaria, but at the moment we are still in Shenzhen, in southern China. That is the reason for the weird title, "Bulgaria with Noodles". In June of 2018, Irena and I will be leaving China and retiring 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, 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 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.
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…
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 …
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…