Friday, 6 January 2012

The Bulgarian Name Day

Saturday 7th January is my nameday, I share this day with Yovo, English equivalent John, & also my mum Joan. So if your name is John, Joan, Joanna, Joanne, Jonathan etc, you now know your day! My Bulgarian name is Yoana, Ioana or Ivanka. All the names sharing this day are; Ioan, Ioana, Yoan, Yoana, Ivan, Ivanka, Ivayla, Ivaylo, Ivet, Kaloian, Kaloyan, Vanya, Vanyo, Zhan, Zhana.
This is also the birthday of two of my friends & my daughter in law. I am a bit remiss, yet again, as I have dipped out again, I keep forgetting, but next year I will try to remember to organise something ahead of time. This year though I will have to settle for inviting Yovo around with his family & do the cooking, I will bake us a cake & break out the homemade cherry brandy, see what he thinks!
Anton, Me, Yovo, Pavlinka & Nigel
The Nameday
As well as a birthday Bulgarians also celebrate a nameday. They reason you are named at birth and that stays with you all your life. If you celebrate the day you were born, why not celebrate your name too?
The Bulgarian nameday recognises the meaning of your name. The name will come from the  name of a saint, from a long tradition, or from historical events. The nameday is either the birthday of the saint, or the time of the year connected to the meaning, or the name of the holiday the person is born on. It can be quite difficult to understand! My name means God is gracious, it appeared in the bible Luke 8:3 She was a disciple of Jesus & a friend of Mary Magdalene. I love that my name was one of a tiny number of women disciples that Jesus would have seen as special to him! There is also a type of butterfly called Joanna & off course the Joanna is slang for the piano, all good as far as I am concerned as I am from London so the slang is relevant, I love butterflies & find them a very feminine thing, again relevant & I love God, so I love the meaning & it makes my name, mine & special to me
In Bulgaria the name is thought the most important characteristic of a person. We have a saying "Clothes maketh the man", the Bulgarians say "ΠΆhe name makes the man".  
In the past people didn’t know the exact date of their birth, so they used the Orthodox calendar and the holidays on it. They would say they were born on Holy Virgin’s Day or St. Demetrius’ Day, before grape-picking  or around threshing time. According to legend each person has a guardian, a spirit guiding them in life, protecting them from evil, helping him to do good actions. After death the spirit accompanies the soul to the other world and presents it before God. During their lifetime the guardian-spirit sits on the right shoulder of the person. On the left side sits the devil’s messenger encouraging them to do evil things. If the guardian-spirit is weak, the person becomes bad or very ill. If the spirit is strong  the person is kind, healthy & good. The older  Bulgarian believes that on their nameday they must honor their guardian, as it was they, that told their parents what name to give them.
In Bulgarian tradition on your friends nameday you can pull their ears or pour cold water on their head. Bulgarians still practice this tradition!
As I mentioned earlier its Sue's birthday tomorrow & as we have a bad weather warning for snow arriving today & tomorrow we celebrated last night. We have found a nice local restaurant which is about the same distance for both of us. Its probably better during the day, due to different chef's we think, and not as good as the restaurant in Borovo, but it's fine for in the winter months & for lunch on market day.
We had a great evening & shared the place with a large table of British ex pats. The time flew by & we were there over 4 hours, perhaps we are becoming Bulgarian ;-D

Happy New Year, Chestita Nova Godina

Happy New Year to all my blog readers, I hope this is a really significant year for all of you, as well as for us!
My 2012 resolution is;
To see my family & friends in UK this year, it's been far too long without huggles
To pray more for others both friend & foe as well as to remember to pray for myself & Nigel
To ask daily for the help of the Holy Spirit, now I realise this will open the flood gates to even more attack from people, but it seems I get it anyway, so for those I will pray :-)))))
I will;
Love the friends that love me
I won't waste my time on those who don't, just pray for them
I will stop my giving to those, who do nothing but take, take, take without ever giving back
For those who ignore me, I will leave them be.
Life is far too short to be lived with people who think I don't matter, I DO!
I will live my life well.
I really feel a jump in my spirit when I think of the things I have learnt this past year. The troubles we have had & how we have held ourselves. I hope to find more of myself this year, the nice me that gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, & gives without equal. That used to be me but it has been warn away over the last few years. I can do better, but I do need to focus or I will be hurt & let down yet again.
A challenging year for me I think, add to that a need to lose this extra weight & get fit so I can live long & prosper (lol) Oh & the definite need to find an income & 2012 could be quite an exciting time, all we can do is wait & see what transpires!!!!
Well we had more snow on New Years Eve & then a week of glorious sunshine which melted some, but not too much, before the next lot is due tomorrow! This sounds like real winter is finally due to turn up, I look forward to it!!!! I may live to regret that phrase  ;-D
We were struck down with some weird virus/bug just after Christmas. No one else seems to have had it, all very strange, but it has left me with the vertigo thing again. Its not actually too bad at the moment so I can now go out, it was horrid & I was concerned it would be a repeat of last years problem that saw me under the Neurologist for months of treatment, but it seems to be getting better slowly, happy bunny.  I just need to get over the head thing & washed out ness, yet again! Typical blooming winter fighting these viruses, all gets a bit warring! Still, onwards & upwards. Enjoy the times we have with friends & planning future projects (even if they never happen), cooking & experimenting & focus on weight loss & fitness.
Needless to say our new Year party was cancelled :-( so there was Nigel & myself sitting watching TV at midnight Happy New Year! ;-D I have never managed to get the whole New Year thing, I have no idea why. I have had a couple of good ones but mainly they end up like a damp squid! Lots of people I know have had a great one here in Bulgaria, its celebrated more than Christmas here with fireworks being let off at midnight. Even the villagers who have no money manage to save up for New Year. We had a lovely display in our little village with big sky ones that I would never have dreamt we would see here! That was really nice, so even though we did not get to celebrate with our Bulgarian & Russian friends we still enjoyed the fireworks. The digs however were scared silly, With Reggie our horse sized dog trying to get up on our laps & Sophie hiding under my legs, great guard dogs they are ;-D
Whatever you want to do this year I hope you have fun doing it, Chestita Nova Godina xxx

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Mixing It Up, Vesela Koleda 2011

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas time. We enjoyed it very much. The house was decorated to the hilt & looked like a fairy grotto with lights everywhere & the fibre optic tree was over decorated as was my want this year. We invited our Bulgarian family over for Christmas eve. Yovo likes to experience traditional English things. Last year it was Christmas dinner this year its the eve.
So Mulled wine, mince pies, sausage rolls, a chilli with rice & apple cake, all homemade, As its my tradition to cook something easy the day before which we can serve to anyone who pops in along with the traditional fare. In Bulgaria it is their tradition to eat only vegetarian & flat bread with a coin in so Pavlinka brought round a still warm bread & some stuffed cabbage leaves, along with Yovo's bottle of Rakia (if we ever needed even more booze). We added everything to the table & had a feast!
Pavlinka gave me a traditional Bulgarian runner & I gave her some Christmas napkins, ahh all very simple & really nice. Yovo still has trouble though, accepting hot spiced wine instead of hot Rakia, bless him.
The Bulgarians are so generous & you never know what they will turn up with.
Christmas day was great, we really had a fantastic day. I was panicked over driving in the snow & even took 2 beta blockers ;-) I needn't have worried as once out of the village the roads were clear & the views amazing, what a lovely day to be out, the sun was shinning the snow was glistening like someone had scattered trillions of diamonds across Bulgaria!

First stop was to see friends who had just had their furniture turn up from the UK, apart from a small op which means they have to be in UK for a few more days they are starting their new adventure just down the road from us, well 20 mins, but to us they are close neighbours! Can't wait to throw a big welcoming party for them, when they're back & forth trips are over!!! Dave & Irene were spending the Christmas period celebrating with us, Sue & Tid so we didn't dally long & made our way to Peychinovo. We had a fantastic day being spoilt by two great hosts & enjoyed every bit of it. We had a traditional Christmas with a twist this year & opted for beef instead of Turkey on Christmas day & we had Duck & Pork on Boxing day (no left overs). Sue made some gorgeous pastry tarts with a custard & fruit filling, lovely & for starters my fav prawn cocktail, I have not had this for years & its always been my favourite anything with prawns or shell fish is up at the top of the list for me!
You know that Christmas evening feeling when you just can't envisage eating another morsel well we were all in that zone but still managed just a little more hahaha, what are we like, is it just the British? So well stuffed & lubricated we had a great drive home, no ice on the roads brill, just to repeat it all again at our house the next day. Boy its hard work. I couldn't prepare most of it before hand just the sausage rolls, grape & apple cakes the rest had to be cooked on the day. I made two sauces to go with the duck one was the proverbial orange tangy sauce & the other a cherry sauce made with my own preserved cherries from over two years ago & yes they are still great & the juice is amazing yummy!!!!! The cherry was also good with the pork so I will definitely be making that again. I loved the fact I had made something for Christmas that we had grown & preserved almost 3 yrs previously. I also prepared a butternut squash we had grown from the seeds of last Boxing days butternut squash, that's what home produce is all about & I love it.
We had another great day & it was over all too soon!
I had been very homesick this last couple of months on the lead up to Christmas & I couldn't have had a better Christmas without my family than this it was just what my spirit needed & my family also had a great time in the UK.
I really hope you all had a fantastic time with your family & friends especially those of you who will be moving over to Bulgaria this coming year, Nastrave priateli, Chestita Nova Godina, sichko hobovo x Now the grammar will most definitely be wrong but its meant from the heart! I wish you all a very happy New Year in whatever you are doing my friends & may everything be good xxxx