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.
Boys, of all ages, love to play with trains.
This blog has become rather
negative. After two “Bad BG” posts, it is time for something positive.
is true that life here in Bulgaria has been very busy and rather stressful
since we came back from China, just over a week ago. There has been a great
deal of fuss about documents, copies and translations, plus lots of visits to
the office of the notarius (the Bulgarian equivalent of a solicitor) and
various dingy and run-down government offices. We need to do all of this
in order to get our Bulgarian Residency Cards (BRCs) and we need these silly
cards because we have to apply for Russian visas. Yes, I know it all
sounds a bit crazy and this Kafkaesque nonsense seems to have been going on for
cannot do much about official documents in Kalotina, so we have been traipsing
into Sofia I do not know how many times. Usually we drive to Dragoman and then
get the train into the city. Well, that is a round trip of about three hours! Yesterday,
I finally took my old Nissan X Trail to the dealers in Sofia. It looks as
though they are going to be working on it for at least a month. The thing that
really annoyed me was that they did not give me a courtesy car, like they did
last year. Well, perhaps they will have one for me next week. The other bad
car-related news is that I cannot find my small car registration document. (For
some strange reason, everything in Bulgaria has its duplicate, so you have two
driving licences, two registration documents and two BRCs.)
moan: the weather here in Bulgaria is absolutely horrible: cold, wet and grey!
some positive things. We saw these two splendid steam trains in the railway station in Sofia. As we had a few minutes before our train left for Dragoman, Irena said, "Let's take a few photos for your blog." So here they are!
The Microwave Woman said that our BRCs might be ready on
Friday (tomorrow), so we are going to telephone her this afternoon. AGS, the
shock therapy freight company, have finally accepted all of our documents and
so they have given the green light to their colleagues in China, so at last
they will be sending off our freight. Hooray! We were quite impressed with
Vladimir from “Eurotherm” and we are hoping that he will come to our villa in
Kalotina and do some measures, before giving us some advice about what sort of
central heating we should install and how much it is all going to cost.
positive: I find the big registration document, but I have given up hope of
finding its little twin brother. However, the Microwave Woman’s place is just
along from the office where you get the car registration documents, so we will
not have to make a separate trip. As I already have the big one, together with
the documents of the sale from the Nissan dealer, I am hoping that the car registration people will
not make too much fuss about giving me the little registration document as
well. The BIGGEST positive of the lot has to be the wireless Internet that is working really well, thanks to a magic box of tricks from Vivacom. Hooray!
but by no means least, the weather forecast for next week is much better, so we
should be able to get out into the garden and finish cutting, collecting and
burning the grass.
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…