Archive for December, 2010

Winter has come. This is how I prepare for a late-night trip to the office to call the states, “по”-Internet.


American Thanksgiving in Bulgaria!

A couple weeks prior to T-Day I had somewhat casually asked the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor how they felt about putting on something for our Thanksgiving. There is a “Day of Thanks” here in Bulgaria but it’s not a big deal, in fact when the topic came up, they had to think for a bit about when it was exactly.

That said, they were very excited by the idea of celebrating our Thanksgiving and promptly volunteered their wives to cook the food – comedy.

Did I mention things are a little different here? It’s just like division of labor in a company, only it’s your house…anyway that’s a discussion for another day.

We ended the discussion with them saying, “get the recipes, and a list of things we’ll need to buy, we’ll go into Plovdiv (the San Francisco-sized city with a store similar to Sam’s Club) and buy it, translate the recipes and the ladies will make the food.

Excellent! Sounds like a plan.

I got the recipes from some of the other volunteers and the Internet, of course, translated that action, did the shopping, and then the next day I handed the recipes, translated with mistakes and all to Fanka and the Dogs of War(Thanksgiving) were set in motion and could not be diverted from their work!

Fanka, the Mayor’s wife, saw the menu for the day and literally called her friend for backup, which promptly came. They didn’t have space in their oven for cooking the turkey so the Mayor and I did that at my place…

Success looks like this:


My God this Turkey was delicious. So delicious I capitalized it.

The bird and the gravy were ready and the rest of the dishes, cornbread, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes, were as well so we brought everything into the Mayor’s office – the only place with enough seating and space.

Fanka had never made any of the dishes before, except for mashed potatoes, and so she had no idea how they were supposed to turn out…and yet they turned out perfect – she’s that good. She also told me that the errors in my translations were funny but not a problem, we later read them aloud over dinner.

We busted out the finest in beverages: BG-grown Sauvignon Cabernet and Orange Drink:


There was also homemade brandy and locally produced bubbly water lurking about, but they didn’t make it into the shot.

The table was set and beautiful:


And the friends and family were there:

People 1


People 2

In the background of that first picture, in the left, you can just barely see a 2 liter coke bottle – that’s the homemade brandy. Bulgarians are really big on the “re-use” part of the Three R’s.

I gave thanks to my friends at the table, for the cooking, their hospitality and for generally being everything to me here, so far from home.

Velin gave thanks for the food, for life and for me coming to their village-it still makes me feel upside-down hearing such a thing, they don’t realize how much more amazing this is for me than I am for them.

Home*, I miss you.

*Home means you guys.