Bulgaria: The Rose Of Europe
When someone from Europe comes to visit Bulgaria, three are the things to make first impression: beautiful nature, holes on the roads and hospitable people.
There are many archaeological and natural sites in Bulgaria that become more and more visited by local people and guests from all around the world. The unique view from the mountain Rila, the diversity of Rodopy region, the sunny Black sea ? those are just a few hallmarks of our nature. It is not coincidence that the symbol of Bulgaria is the rose. Vast rose valleys produce the best perfumery oil.
Everywhere one senses the spirit of traditions. The local folklore is as diverse as the landscape. Even in the outer space one Bulgarian traditional song is recorded on a satellite ? “Izlel e Deljo Haidutin” by Valia Balkanska.
The membership in the European Union is a certificate for quality in the minds of the tourists. Although, there are some responsibilities to be carried out. The holes in the roads are still there and can create obstacles when someone tries to get to some place in Bulgaria ? even to the capital city: Sofia.
In the area I live ? the Rodopy region (South East Bulgaria), the vastness of the mountain makes the hearts of the residents warm and hospitable. A guest will be welcomed with the best wine, banitsa (traditional cheese cake) and a sincere conversation. One strange thing for the guest will be the language of the nodding head ? it is opposite to the European custom. The nodding for “yes” (downward) in Bulgaria means “no” and the nodding for “no” (sideward) in Bulgaria means “yes”. This creates a lot of funny misunderstandings.
I am 27 years old, single and ambitious to sustain my own business. I am working in an accounting firm where I give consultations and services to private companies. This year many of the legislative documents have had to be rewritten, including the laws in the accounting field. Wow, that was messy! In my opinion, the system that had to synchronize both Bulgarian and EU legal systems failed to make the process smooth. There are misunderstandings in the new law that create confusion in certain cases, responsibilities from the government bodies still need to be met in order to adopt the best EU practices in the terms of the BG specific realities, big expectations from the Bulgarian membership in EU also mean relevant responsibilities by government, private sector and NGOs.
I have a very good experience in the NGO field for the past three years. I am a member of a network that promotes intercultural exchanges, voluntary work and peace. For the past three years I was a leader in intercultural exchanges of disadvantaged young people in the countries ? Italy, Slovenia and France. Those experiences were supported from EU youth programs and indeed broadened my horizon ? I discovered the unique culture, language and people mentality.
My first impression of all the three countries was very good ? a powerful and simple example: cars stopped at zebra crossing! This is one rule that is not respected in my country.
During my voluntary work I realised how much responsibilities and standards we still need to meet in Bulgaria and one of my wishes for the future is to start with the simple things ? to have the European mentality for our everyday life.
One great benefit of the membership in EU was driven into action from the very beginning of the year 2007 ? most of my co-citizens went on vacation to our neighbour Greece just with a “lichna karta”(identification card). That was really a step in making easy travel abroad and many people made it. The bureaucracy was a true obstacle in traveling before and now it is so much easier.
There is the responsive effect too ? more and more Europeans know exactly where our country is. Bulgaria got the attention in January 2007 when most of the main newspapers relied the big news.
Bulgaria is famous for its yogurts and can be considered as the homeland of the product. The bacillus that makes the density and the taste of the yoghurt is unique for Bolgaria is “Lactum bacillicum Bulgaricum”. The European taste knows this quality product and enjoys it. Indeed, there are brands of yoghurt made all around Europe but only here ? in Bulgaria ? it is the real thing thanks to the bacillicus.
The Cyrillic alphabet is another “invention” of two Bulgarian brothers: now the saints Cyril and Methodius. This is celebrated here every year on 24th of May and all schools are closed on this day around the country thanks to teachers, writers and librarians. I am proud to celebrate the day too, because I have two poetry books and I still write and present my inspirations. Meeting places and people all around Europe gave me the inspiration to write in English and my next poetry book will have both Cyrillic and Latin- lettered poems.
For the next 10 years I plan to stay in my country and to work for making things better. I know that changes take time and difficulties are common when new things begin, therefore, I cherish all the elements of the specific Bulgarian culture and I will try to meet all the common European standards ? from laws to mentality - to create the precious puzzle of a better and more colorful Europe.
Stanislava Hristova Tasheva, 27
Images: Roses, Holes in the road
Phothographs by Stanislava: Bulgarian countryside
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