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Balabanova All Over

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[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 23-24, 2017] I spent the last few days spending time with dear friends and family before I head back to Los Angeles. On Saturday, I spent the whole day at my friend Slaveya’s house. Another friend of hers visited, and we had 3 coffees and snacks over a six-hour period. 🙂 I always wonder why I can’t do that in the US. I cannot remember the last time I… Read More

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[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 22, 2017] We returned from Greece on Thursday, Sept 21. Our host Keti made us Greek coffee before we left. This was very similar to Turkish coffee, which is not surprising – both Bulgaria and Greece spent hundreds of years under Ottoman rule. Friday, Sept 22 was another official holiday in Bulgaria – the Day of Independence. I was not exactly sure how this day was different from our… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept 17, 2017] Today is another big holiday in Bulgaria. We celebrate St. Sophia, Vyara, Nadezhda and Ljubov. The last three names mean Faith, Hope and Love in Bulgarian, and Sophia means The Holy Wisdom of the Lord (from Greek, Agia Sophia).  Everyone who carries one of these four names celebrates what we call a name day. Since I carry the name Nadezhda, today was my name day. The city… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] I love my hometown in the summer. The weather is warm, the parks are green, and the streets are lined with outdoor cafes. Many people leave the city to go to beach resorts in the Eastern part of the country, along the Black sea, and the city is not as crowded as it normally is. There is nothing better than strolling through the city center, then sitting down for a… Read More

Day 1 of my 2-week visit to Bulgaria and Germany in August 2016.

[Sofia, Bulgaria] Once we returned from Kazanluk, my days in Sofia turned into a leisurely affair I could very easily get used to. My friends and family were all at work, so I’d sleep in, then have breakfast and coffee with mom and dad, then go run errands with mom – she’d always go out in the morning to pick up the newspaper and other odds and ends. I’d read the paper… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] Mom is always in-the-know of what is going on in the city from a cultural perspective, and she told me that the National Art Gallery is hosting a unique exhibit showcasing some of the most famous sculptures of Frenchman Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). In addition, just last week a new museum had been opened below the St. Sofia Basilica. Off we went on Tuesday to check out those two things. The… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] One “danger” of spending one’s time sweeping the streets of Sofia is over-caffeination. It’s really not that hard to do. You meet up with a friend. You sit at a cafe to catch up. It’s too early for alcohol, so you order a coffee. You run a few errands. You sit at a cafe to rest up. It’s probably still too early for a beer, so you order another coffee…. Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] My mom’s nickname for me is “The Broom”. She started calling me this in high school because in my free time, I was always all over town meeting with friends. When I left for the US, it was even worse when I’d come back home. I’d stagger dates with friends for a full day and when I’d come home, my mom would ask “Did you sweep up the town?” Over… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] It is almost 7 am on Saturday, 9/6 here in Sofia. I’ve been awake for a little while now, and I gave up on the notion of sleeping in as my mind had already started working. I knew it was time to get up when I started thinking about what I’d write in this entry while lying in bed! Before I left for this trip, I went back and forth… Read More

[Sofia, Bulgaria] Today I spent the day in Sofia mall hanging out with my friend Ina and her daughter Monika. The new shiny mall was the new way to shop. On the way back I strolled Vitosha boulevard, a pedestrian street lined with shops – the old way to shop.

[Sofia, Bulgaria] With my late arrival and running errands with my parents for a couple of days, it wasn’t until today that I got to finally venture out more and start visiting with all my friends. My first visit with my friend Slavy, whom I’ve known since 1998. Since I last saw her, she got married and had twins. I went to her house in the early afternoon and although we thought… Read More