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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Bulgaria

I am in Bulgaria with Chutney and Her Cuteness visiting my parents. This visit was long overdue as my Dad had never met Chutney and was really looking forward to it. Our initial plan was to visit my parents on our way to India but Paul was asked to start his assignment in India about a month early, which meant we had to postpone the trip to Bulgaria because Nia had to be in school for another month and a half. Plus, we had the cats with us, which would have considerably complicated things. And since Paul was/is new at post, he couldn’t really join us any time soon, so we decided that I would come to Bulgaria with the kids as soon as Her Cuteness was done with school.

So in the wee hours of the day after school was over, the kids and I flew to Sofia, via Moscow. We flew Aeroflot Russian Airlines, which was a little concerning to me but everything went fine. We had only 55 minutes in Moscow, which was kinda tricky as it took us more than half that time to get Chutney’s gate-checked stroller from the first plane and then had to race through the checks to get to our second flight but thankfully, we made it just in time.

We’ve been here for 5 days now and it’s been nice. For starters, it’s substantially cooler here than in Delhi. The temperature in Delhi was 45-47 C /113 – 116 F!!! when we left compared to 25-27 C/77-80 F when we got here. So, it’s actually pleasant to be outside. Not exactly relaxing because I am now watching the kids in a much larger area that is not Chutney-proof but it’s worth it because there’s a lot of bonding with Dyado (Grandpa):

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And yes, those are scrapes on Chutney’s face. He found out the hard way that stairs can be all kinds of fun but they can also “bite if your mother/grandmother are not paying attention you don’t know what you’re doing. There are a lot of stairs at my parents’ place.

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My parents live in a village in the middle of northern Bulgaria, at the foot of the Balkan range. They didn’t always live there but when my father retired, he they decided that city living wasn’t for them, so they went to live in this village, which is about 5 miles from Veliko Turnovo, the city where I was born and grew up. We had some ancestral land in the village and a very old house, which my parents knocked down and built (are still finishing) a new house in its place. It’s country living, which is not my cup of tea but my parents say they love it and who am I to tell them what to do. Plus, the kids are enjoying it too. Her Cuteness has been there several times and always has a blast. This is Chutney’s first time and he can’t get enough of the yard. There’s just so much new and interesting stuff for a one-year-old to explore…

There’s an outdoor cat to chase:

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Bunnies to pet!

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Awesome rocks to play with or eat, as the case may be…

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Even an inflatable pool to splash in:

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Then there are the crops, as Her Cuteness calls them. First are the cherries, one of the main reasons we are here now. I love cherries and my parents have several cherry trees in their yard. Cherry season is my favorite time of the year. As a child, I used to come here as often as I could during cherry season, climb up the cherry trees and eat until my tummy hurt.

Unfortunately, this year has not been good for cherries in Bulgaria. There were non-stop torrential rains for about 4 weeks before we got there and most of the cherries rotted on the trees. There are still enough good ones for us to eat:

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But mostly, they look like this, which breaks my heart.

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There’s a sour cherry tree though, which is doing quite well, despite the heavy rains, so we have been enjoying sour cherries:

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The strawberries were also affected by the rains and some rotted as well but not nearly as bad, so we have been eating those fresh and in smoothies:

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The raspberries are almost in season too and I can’t wait for more of them to ripen:

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But this post is getting quite long, so I am going to stop now. I will be back soon with more pictures from my parents’ garden.

5 comments:

  1. Awww...such awesome bonding time with grandparents! Your pictures of the ripening fruit have me drooling.

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  2. thank you for the beautiful pics and stories of Bulgaria. I spent two years there as a Peace Corps volunteer and also miss the cherries! I arrived in country in June and my first memory of Bulgaria is being handed a bag of delicious cherries!

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    1. Hi Anonymous, thanks for stopping by. When and where did you serve in Bulgaria? My husband was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria (1995-1997 in Dobrich and Kyustendil). That's actually how we met - I am a Peace Corps bride;-)! Needless to say, we love the Peace Corps.

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  3. I agree with your parents...the country life is for me too! I can hardly wait to see the garden! Looking at your beautiful fruit pictures makes me reminisce about my childhood fruit feasts! Although, like Chutney, I am sure that as a child I had my share of 'rock' candy...I would have to pass on that one for now. ;)

    Which part of U.S. would Bulgaria be most like?

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  4. I too love cherries! The cherries in Oregon are wonderful this time of year and when we were in the states last year this time I ate until my tummy hurt too. My grandparents have a huge old cherry tree I used to climb. What a lovely bit of land you've been able to enjoy through life. How wonderful your parents are living there now. I love country life but need modern conveniences close by (like a mall, Target, grocery store, and maybe a good pizza joint). I love the photos!

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