Bulgarian people are known to be very sociable, and certainly in villages where community spirit is to meet together at the local bar for coffee or maybe something stronger and chat. This relaxed and friendly culture is so different to the fast unsociable life of the west that we know.
Residing in a Bulgarian village you will almost certainly build up a friendship with your neighbours, even with a language difference. They will almost certainly be curious about the foreigners who live near to them.
We met our neighbour when we were struggling to chainsaw firewood during our first winter in Bulgaria. A knock at the door was all it took and gifts of homemade Rakia and local dried sausage to share with us. Then unsure how we were going to get by with speaking etc, he helped show us an easier way of cutting the wood. Afterwards we sat at our kitchen table with our first drink and “Nazdrave” (cheers) each other and equipped with a phrase book, hand signals and pointing did our best to communicate together.
From then onwards our friendship was sealed. Most weekends since that day we have met for a drink or two and tested his cooking, learnt Bulgarian traditions and helped each other with the language. I can honestly say it has been good fun with lots of laughter communicating amongst us.
Sometimes we have been too busy when he shouts his invitation in broken English “Beera ess?” across the fence. Bulgarians think it’s no problem there is always tomorrow to finish work. A culture that we find hard to accept especially when you are in the middle of staining a fence!
However most times we have gave in and joined him, because he lives alone with two grown sons who do their own thing and we have felt a little sorry for him.
We always enjoy the hospitality and homely atmosphere of joining him, especially during the cold winter. A Bulgarian’s home is always warm, as they hate the cold too. Along with a glass of Rakia served with salad, or a glass of beer served with cheese or sausage, (known as meze in Bulgaria) can be very enjoyable when amongst good company, and Bulgarian’s know how to make you feel welcome.