I am not going to bore you good readers with a tome on the snow. It seems to have stopped snowing, it hasn’t melted and it’s below freezing even during the day.
The S word I am referring to is Stats. When I first began the blog not everyone was aware that we were planning to leave the country. To emigrate, hand in hand to take on our dream challenge of sustaining ourselves and renovating a home we have both designed and would both work on. The blog was a way of documenting our journey and of inviting, initially, family to read. We then extended the invite to a few select friends. I was new to blogging and writing a blog and up and downloading images was the extent of my knowledge. It was Terry who was navigating the site on my machine when he said “have you seen this”? I walked over and there was a page full of Stats about my blog. It was a rather uncomfortable moment, almost as if I had caught someone rifling my underwear drawer. The cold hard digits recorded a day by day tally of visitors, posts read, and the home countries of the readers. I had no idea that anyone, outside the small circle of people we had invited, would ever find the blog. It is the reason the two words that name the blog are run together. It certainly isn’t a catchy little name!
For a whole month we watched the stats and then we forgot about them. We had a house to renovate and sell, we had jobs we knew we were leaving and we had family to assure and to ameliorate their anxieties with solid objective plans. Then we moved and we began our new life where every minute was and is packed with something to do. The blog then changed to keeping the family and friends in the loop and adding information we would have been interested to know before we arrived. Somewhere along the way family and friends gave the blog details to others. It was so surprising and refreshing to have an absolute plethora of people who were thinking of doing the same or would love to but hadn’t the courage. We began to have regular readers, then people commented, good positive comments. Fast forward to January 2017 and the Stats revealed some rather amazing numbers.
We have readers from the UK, Canada (1 of the first International readers and one of the longest standing) Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain, South Africa, America, Russia, Myanmar and Australia. So if you are reading this post we’d like to say an enormous and heartfelt thanks for taking the time to read. We hope you are in hot pursuit of your own dreams.
Sometime in the whiteout of the previous week, and in a moment of weakness or perhaps strength I agreed to attend the villages Baba Den celebration in the community centre. I’d be attending with Catherine, her daughter Kerry and our friend Angie. I may have mentioned that I am a happy introvert BUT I knew I had to invest in the community I was living in. So thereafter I was an anxious mess until I had actually left the house for the event. Then I relaxed somewhat. Up until that point I drove myself and Terry absolutely mad with what I should wear, how long would I have to stay and so on and so forth. On Saturday morning, in wellies, stripy leg warmers and an oversized dressing gown, carrying pig slop and dodging anything yellow or brown in the frozen wastelands I thought I’d better start getting ready. I shaved my legs (gone my wintery homespun leg warmers!). I used product on my hair and then in a moment of absolute madness I broke out a bag of velcro rollers and some weird long bendy tubes that can be used as a type of roller. They are the joint property of the girls of the family that I’d amalgamated into 1 bag. There were different colours and sizes and I had no idea why. I did what I thought was a pretty good job of coaxing my rebellious locks around these cylindrical horrors. I moisturised and pleased with my ministrations went downstairs to prep a spicy cheese salad for the celebration, to cut up some apples for the pigs and to make Terry some sandwiches. We were to pick up the girls at 12:15 and at 11:45 I went up to take out the rollers, get dressed and apply some slap. We made it on time but I now sport 5 areas where my hair is significantly shorter – bloody rollers.
The celebration was empowering. Baba Den refers to the grandmothers who delivered the babies in the village; the midwives. The celebration was for women only with the exception of the flute player and a young boy with his Baba. A local woman who practices as a doctor in Levski attended in full traditional dress and immediately began the dancing. The tables were set in a U formation and quickly filled with the women of the village, of all ages. The younger women especially came dressed to the hilt, as if off to a nightclub and they danced with all the generations joyfully. Lots of dancing, with a lead dancer winding and weaving her followers around the centre. Of course we were roped in. I was targeted by a woman about the same age as me who not only pulled me into the group dance but then bagged me for a slow one. It was innocent and charming and I wished young women everywhere could enjoy this age defying enjoyment and camaraderie with their own sex. There was a small demonstration of the procedure used, and little changed in the villages, for delivering a baby. Party games that would make the Chippendales shenanigans look tame! Food was served, a leg of chicken, a kebab and a meat patty with potatoes and salad. I stayed for 3 wonderful hours and then I made my apologies. I did learn that there are Bulgarian dancing lessons on a Tuesday evening at the same place. Interesting, very interesting; I love to dance.
Really excellent live music
Eventually only 5% of the room remained seated; the old, infirm and the ex-pats!
Eventually all four of us joined in – and thankfully avoided being in shot
Political Correctness does not exist here and it is joyous
Eating cake without hands
So I have been inducted into the womens circle in the village. I get more waves of recognition now. Perhaps my token effort had been expected and having delivered I am now accepted as part of the full time community. I also think that staying for the winter assured our neighbours that we are serious about living in their village. Which of course we are.