The wonders of Bulgaria -Lydia

Zdrasti priateli!
For this week, I thought of something else to post. The weekend began and while I’m sitting behind my laptop, writing, I suddenly knew what I would tell you guys about. As you might know, I am from the Netherlands, located in Western Europe, thousands of kilometres away from everything I’m used to. While I’m beginning to call Bulgaria more and more like a temporary home, getting used to all of its wonders, customs and funny things, I still come across special things in Bulgaria on a daily basis. For this blog, I will write some of your customs and funny cultural related stuff down below. This is written with a smile and a wink, so please, do take no offense ;-).

1. Paper, anyone?
The first thing I came across while settling in Bulgaria was the toilet paper, which is basically missing everywhere (except for homes and good hotels, of course). If you are out of paper towels yourself, or if you happen to forget them at home and you need to go the toilet somewhere, you are, well, screwed.
2. Do you even lift, bro?
Bulgaria is a country of sports. You always see people on their way to their swimming, basketball, yoga or fitness class; that is the conclusion I draw because everyone is always wearing sweatpants. On the street, while shopping, in a restaurant, in schools… I think the Netherlands should take note of this, because MAN, people apparently like to move it here.
3. Flower princesses and fairy boys
I love Bulgaria because of its lovely way of celebrating. The country has many little traditions and festive days on which everyone is free and gives each other things, for example bracelets (Baba Martha) or flower crowns (Palm Day). I haven’t seen this in any other country and actually, I think it’s very cute.
4. Ice-skating party on the street!
As much as people love to sport, they also, apparently, love ice-skating very much. When I was in Sofia on my day of arrival and during the first weeks in Stara Zagora, the streets were covered in ice- and nobody cleared it up. You would slip and fell (and laugh loudly each time you do) all the time. I’m certain that they throw secret ice-skating parties at midnight, and that they love the ice so much they just grow fond of it.
5. Dinner’s ready
In every bigger-than-average supermarket, like Kaufland, Lidl or Billa, there’s instant food you can buy. They cook and prepare it for you just like that- I believe many Bulgarians rather do that, or sit down in a nice restaurant, instead of cooking (which I really understand sometimes!).
6. ‘The name’s Petkovolina Koleva- call me Peti.’
In Bulgaria (and I believe many different other Balkan countries), people like to always use a nickname for themselves- even on Facebook. Boshidara becomes Boshi, Krasimere becomes Krasi, Adriani becomes Adi and so on. In the Netherlands, only good friends or family give you a nickname- it would be strange if everyone did. On the other hand, it sounds sweet in Bulgaria, and cute, all those nicknames. It’s nice. So I’m pleased to meet you: my name is Lydia, but you can call me Lyd from now on ;-). Have a nice weekend guys!

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