Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter Vacation!

Hey everyone,

Tomorrow begins the Easter/Spring Break. Now due to security measures put down by the Peace Corps I cannot tell you what I'll be doing but it's super exciting and there will be pictures. You probably won't miss me, but in case you might be wondering, I'm going to be pretty busy.

This is the Peace Corps and I'll be --------- in ------- with ----- ------.


Monday, March 15, 2010


Zdraveytey everyone!

So I've got a small confession to make. I wrote the following post a couple weeks ago but kept putting it off because I was waiting for a stork. You'll here about it in a minute. But I'm super sorry about that. So here's the post.


Zdraveytey everybody!

My apologies for the very late post. I was trying to wait for the storks to arrive carrying spring with them, or something like that. As it turns out, Baba Marta had other plans. The snow is back, and the storks will probably be waiting for a couple more weeks. But I suppose I should be explaining myself. Well here it goes.

Baba Marta, or Martinitsa, is one of the most charming and likeable holidays on the Bulgarian calendar. The idea of the vacation is that on the 1st of March the entire country waits for spring to begin. On this day, and for a few days after, they exchange small red and white trinkets to wear. From what I gathered, the red represents the passion for life, while the white represents… something else? Maybe the snow…?

The martinitsas (as the trinkets are called) have two main forms. The first is a pin that may have small people on them made of red and white string. They are supposed to represent a boy and a girl, named Pijou and Penda respectively:

The more common form of martinitsa is that of the white and red string bracelet. These can come in many forms and may or may not have decorative beads:

When the 1st is approaching everyone and their cousins begin selling these all over the place. You can find them in any store on the street but you don’t need to buy those because there are dozens of vendors scattered around the towns.

After the 1st everyone waits for one of two things: the first buds on the trees, or the first storks to nest. These mean that spring is approaching. When either of these are found, then the martinitsas are all tied on trees throught the towns.

As for who wears them, everyone wears these. From the youngest child:

To the oldest grandparent:

They are worn until spring starts. Even I have some:

They also put them on pets. This is a picture taken by my language trainer’s husband, who happens to be a veterinarian.

They are almost never taken off. They are to be worn until it’s time to hang them up. I’ve heard stories where the spring took it’s time and by then the strings had turned from white to brown to black with grime. I don’t have a picture of that but I figure that’s for the best.

Sadly, this year Baba Marta was a bitch. Instead of spring, the spiteful whore conjured up countrywide snow fall. I’m looking out my window at some 5-6 inches of the crap. I want to believe that she’s like a groundhog as well. She looks at her incredibly charming, and deceptively expensive holiday and if she doesn’t see the shadow from the money pile that comes from all the children buying her trinkets, then she’ll grant another month of winter.

This is Bulgaria and everyday is a holiday here. No joke.



So yeah. Still waiting for that stork. It's a lot warmer now though. Lots less snow and I usually don't need the radiator on. Again sorry about the huge delay. For fun, I'll also put up a few of the pictures that didn't make it through the original document.

This is the Peace Corps and sometimes if you wait hard enough stuff can happen.

-Zack (again)