Celebrate Our Differences

After a wonderful chat with my Bulgarian friends I somehow ended up thinking about similarities and differences between us, our countries. So, here they are – some of the things I came up with, comparing both countries and my experience, observations. Before continuing, I just wanted to say Bulgaria has become almost like the second home to me since I have spent quite some time there during the past 8 years.

You know you are in Bulgaria and not Latvia if:
– Meeting people not seen for a while they will hug and kiss you on both cheeks, even not being close friends
– Before crossing the road on pedestrian crossing, you need to really make sure (and I do mean – really!)  there’ re no cars, even if the green light is on
– The expression „The Big Bulgarian Family” has a very genuine note and meaning to it
– Being on time is a bit relative concept therefore being late is not neccessarily perceived as rudeness

BG_nature

LV_nature

– You can take a cab after partying out not being worried you will be overcharged
– You can be wild& loud till the sun comes up but to be noisy between 1 and 4 PM wouldn’ t be perceived as good manners
– People are more open and friendly generally – probably because there’ s much more sun constantly charging them positively
– You can buy home-made rakia/wine and it wouldn’ t be classified as a „crime of supporting illegal alcohol business”
– There still are quite a few small, family owned shops around, not only big supermarket chains

BG_banitsa

LV_buns

– The carpet blown off your terrace with some luck ends up being sold to your neighbours
– A policeman partying with his friends in a restaurant will freely ask for discount „just because”
– Passing the same people on stairs you greet each other since the very first day and not just after a couple of months
– There’ s a touch (or more) of olive(or sunflower) oil in almost every dish
– You can bargain the prices in a market and nobody will feel insulted about it
– Shaking head is a gesture of confirmation while nodding means negation (I wouldn’ t generalize this one since it’ s very Bulgarian).

BG_martenitsaOh, I almost forgot – there are mountains! And martenitsas (Bulgarian: Mартеница)…

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19 thoughts on “Celebrate Our Differences

  1. Interesting post!
    I’ve been in Sofia one time and [I am trying to keep an open mind] it was a near-death experience 🙂 🙂 … as a place full of contradictions everywhere. The best, part the bohemian glamour to the life and the ton of outdoor cafes with people smoking and drinking rakia. The worst, wild dogs everywhere, crying all night long. Probably is my fault. I think Bulgaria has many secrets, many layers, and the people do not give out information so easy. To understand Bulgaria, you must live there a long time, be intimate with people, live like a Bulgarian, and speak the language. Even then I don’t know how close you can be to real truth 🙂

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    1. 🙂 Your comment made me smile because my first time in Sofia and Bulgaria in general was a nightmare and a half, too. Not for the reasons you mentioned but some others, still…
      I agree that the country has many secrets and layers. I could share only a bit from my own perspective that has changed through the years, revealing more of what I hadn’ t noticed before. And there’ s still plenty to discover.

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  2. Very well written and some great capture too… 🙂

    The reason why I love traveling and enjoy visiting people at their home field is because they act “different” and act more naturally – I do know who I am and what I wish, but hopefully never be too old to learn new stuff… 🙂 🙂

    I never travel on package holidays where people act like tourists – and in fact just like business as usual at their home – and where the locals act “like the tourists want them to do” – I want to learn and see something new… 🙂

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    1. I really enjoy feeling the real life, people, the true “face” of the country when I travel – there is so much beauty in the places that are not included in the tourist booklets… Spending many hours in/at the pool is not my kind of entertainment, I get too bored. 🙂

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  3. This should inspire others to post something about where they live, what they find different when they are visitors in another city or town. I enjoyed this very much. I might one day try to explain the difference in the states but every locale is different. Maybe I can do it one state at a time. In time.

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    1. They are called martenitsas and are small pieces of adornment, made of white and red yarn and worn from March 1 until around the end of March (or the first time an individual sees a stork, swallow, or budding tree). The red and white woven threads symbolize the wish for good health. Most people in the end of March would tie their martenitsas on branches of a fruit trees, thus giving the tree health and luck.

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