Sunday, 25 May 2014

European Elections

You could say that the European Elections don't have so much to do with our EVS project specifically, but EVS as an idea, a concept and as part of an allocation of funds is of course very much connected to the European Union and the direction it's headed towards. The Union, as well as plenty of its constituent states, is at a critical point, therefore this round of elections is equally significant as a result.

Here's hoping this time around more people will vote for the future of Europe than the last couple of times when abstention was very high across the board. Unfortunately the Shar Planina crew, apart from Vicente who's in Spain these days, will abstain by necessity, because we didn't make the necessary moves to be able to vote from our respective countries' embassies early enough. You of those who who can make it, vote in our stead today!

May 24th - Slavic Language and Culture Day

Do you know the two men pictured below?

They are Saints Cyril and Metodius, the 9th century Christian missionaries who introduced Orthodoxy to the Slavic countries of the Balkans, but are perhaps more famous for creating what would eventually become the Cyrillic alphabet, which was first used in the Bulgarian Empire and then spread to other Slavic countries.

More than 1100 years later, these same countries reserve a special day in their calendar for honouring these men that have been so important for their culture, and that day is the Slavic Language and Culture Day.

We volunteers received invitations to the ceremony which took place in front of the National Library, itself named after Cyril and Metodius. There were a lot of important people attending who gave speeches offered wreaths at the foot of the monument and there were children reciting poems about what it means to be a Bulgarian - at least, I understood as much.

In front of the National Library

After the ceremony was over, our supervisor Valya invited out for lunch, were some of us had our first experience of an earthquake ever. Because we care about our friends, relatives and readers, we made the following video to assure everybody that we were totally fine.

A lot of things happening these days in Sofia: this earthquake, Levski (the football club) celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding, today is the day of the European elections...

We'll sign off leaving you with a taste of Bulgarskata Azbuka!

АНИМИРАНА АЗБУКА от А до Я from FinFilm on Vimeo.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Spring in Bulgaria - Refugee Children Painting Exhibition

On Monday May 12th we had the honour to host a painting exhibition of refugee children and teens in the Children's Department of the library. The event was organised in association with CVS Bulgaria and Caritas Bulgaria. Let the pictures do the talking!


Friday, 16 May 2014

The Princess And Mr. Finney

Once upon a time not too long ago (last saturady to be more specifik) there were a real life princess, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, who visited the childrens department at Sofia City Library.
Not only is she the dutch princess but also the author of the childrens book "Mr. Finney - The world upside down" wich was the reason for this royal visit; it had been translated to bulgaian!
There were a lot of exited little boys and even more exited little girls waiting for the princess to come, at the library.
Imagen; they would get to meet a real princess!
Though, there were this one little girl, wearing pink and glitter from top to toe, who were a little more exited to meet the princess, than any of the other kids. Her biggest dream would soon come true, only 5 minutes to go.
And at last the princess finally arrived!
But the little girl who before had worn the bigest, most exited smile of them all, now barely smiled and what was left of it slowly faded and changed into a confused wrinkel in her forhead and a couple of eyes filled with wonder, before she asked:
"Why are you not wearing a dress and where is your crown? I thought you were the princess..?"
The princess looked surprised at the little girl, smiled and told her:
"Your right, I am the princess eventhough i donnot wear a dress but do you see my foot? I hurted it some days ago and now I have to wear bandages on it and that does not fit very well with any of my dresses but normaly I wear them all the time. Like a real princess. And my crown i forgot at home, I am terrible sorry about that but even princesses forget a thing now and then.. I hope you can forgive me?"
The little girl still looked a little confused at the princess, maybe because she in her oppinion more looked like a queen, but smiled and nodded slowly.
Who wouldn't forgive a princess with a foot in bandages and alzheimer's?
The disapointing outfit of the princess was though soon forgotten when all the kids was given a bulgarian example of her book "Mr. Finney - The world upside down" and got it personally signated by her.
The end.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Open doors day at the Sofia City Library

If you were wondering how to spent this lovely Saturday (10th of may 2014), I will recommend you to stop by the Sofia City Library and take a look inside at our open doors day!!
You might find a new interesting book to enjoy with a coffee in the park or have a little chit - chat with one (or more) of the very sweet and helpful librarians or us interesting, young EVS - volunteers from Latvia, Greece, Spain and Denmark, who will be around (I'll personally be at the Nordic reading room, 4th floor) from 11:00 am to 18:30 pm.
And if you should feel like it, you might even take the chance and participate in Zanda's "Native American Art" workshop in the American corner from 11:00 - 13:00
the "Creative English Magical Writing" from 13:00-14:00 also at the American corner by me (Maria)

Hope to see you there!

Friday, 2 May 2014

'Allo! 'Allo!

For today, here's an interesting little episode from our life in Sofia.

Before we begin, answer me this: are you Bulgarian?

If so, you can skip the next question. If you aren't, please continue reading.

Do you know of a Britsh TV series called "'Allo! 'Allo!"?


We didn't either. But apparently -and that's the reason I posed you the first question- if you are Bulgarian it's impossible to not know this series, it's like a natural constant or something.

Thus we were caught completely off-guard when, during the days the Sofia International Film Festival was taking place, Boryana called us and told us that we were invited that very afternoon, free tickets and all, to a screening of 'Allo! 'Allo with the presence of the series' cast - an event which had been organised as part of the film festival. "Okay", we said, running to catch the trolley bus.

The only thing we knew about the whole thing was that it was a British something-something... and that was about it. None of us knew more, but we each assumed the others did so we didn't ask. We were excited we'd be watching something in English. But no; what was screened was the final Reunion special, apparently shot years after the end of the series, showing what happened to each character... all dubbed in Bulgarian. We might have been disappointed with that, but apparently the dub itself was a big part of the series' success in the country and has been the reason most people love it.

We were invited at an event many Bulgarians would kill to have attended, and had known nothing about it. Even our mentor Boris told us that we can say that we saw the actors of 'Allo! 'Allo! as an easy way to make friends and impress people in Bulgaria. Of course, that wasn't before he cursed at us under his breath for failing to invite him to see his heroes from up close - for failing to know just how big a deal this was. "Okay", we said, experiencing a small dose of what survivor guilt must feel like.

To show that we are aware of our -unintended- insolence, we have made a deal to do an 'Allo! 'Allo! marathon together with Boris before our EVS is over. Maybe it could even be the Bulgrian dub...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Labour day / Ден на труда

National holiday; 6 days off from 1th to the 6th of may and time to visit friends in Primorsko! Not bad at all! 
But wait a second... Why did we get all these days off again you say..? 
- Ah yeah, Labour day!

In Bulgaria is the 1th of may, like in many other countries, the day that marks the struggle for dignified work and of curse the feeling of solidarity amongst laborers. 
Even the Roman Catholic Church has dedicated this day to St. Joseph the Worker.

In 1890 the Socialist International recognized May 1th as an international day to celebrate the struggle for workers' rights, which in around 30 years after, among other, was the struggle to get the right of eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.

In Denmark the day is used by the working unions and some of the the socialistic politicians, to gather all their supporters to celebrate and to share a day of common ideology and long speeches. 
But the 1th of may, in Denmark, isn't a national holiday and not everyone is having the day of; some only partly and others not at all, depending on the agreement the company has with the specific union.
The day is celebrated in most of Europe and also America but the way of celebration and traditions for the 1th of may is not the same in two countries and the variations are many.

The 6th of May is the Day of Saint George and the national holiday for celebration of the Bulgarian Army.

In Bulgaria St. George is the patron of spring verdure and fertility, and of shepherds and farmers. His Day, May 6, is believed to set in summer and the new farming cycle.
He is also among the few saints to be honered by both Christians and Muslims alike.

May 6 was officially pronounced as the Day of the Bulgarian Army on January 9, 1880, shortly after the establishment of the country's military.
Then in 1946 when the Communist regime came to power, the holiday was banned and first reinstated on January 27, 1993 and since 1998 been marked as a national holiday.