A Classic Bulgarian Misunderstanding

A Classic Bulgarian MisunderstandingCases of classic misunderstandings Bulgarians has caused all sorts of problems over the years and it still happens. There was one prime classic misunderstanding that wasn't realised until this week and reminded me that these misunderstandings will probably never end here in Bulgaria.

Just to give some background here, the previous owners of Skalitsa farmhouse and smallholding off where an elderly couple called Marina and Mitko. They moved in with their son to the town of Stara Zagora. Marina couldn’t wait for town life, but Mitko didn’t want to move, he loved village life and was in tears when we signed the contract. This is the case for many couple here, women want the town and the men want the country life.

Last year we were at the Skalitsa Farmhouse sitting out in the garden. We heard the iron garden gate creak as it always does to warn us of visitors. We waited a moment for the visitors to walk a short distance and peer around the corner as we all watched. It turned out that the visitors was Marina, the woman who used to live here with here son. They were in Skalitsa and though they’d pay us a visit out of courtesy as they were here.

And so the talking started. I wondered where Mitko her husband was and naturally asked. The answer given was that, ‘He is above us’ with a finger pointing to the sky. I was quite shocked with the though that he had passed away and gave my condolences.

The message that Mitko had died so much was passed on to my nearest neighbour the next day with mention that it must have been the heartbreak of having to move away from the village life he loved. No more was thought about it at the time.

A Classic Bulgarian MisunderstandingA year on and my neighbour Sacho told me that he was sure he had seen a ghost a couple of days before. It was evening and he was putting his goats in for the night and he saw Mitko wondering around his old home. There are many ghost stories in the village and this was another one that he though he saw. He told his wife Rosa what he had seen and again, they put it down to Mitko paying a ghostly visit to his old loved smallholding.

Sacho went on to say that Rosa went to work in the school the next day and told others of the story of Mitko’s ghostly figure wandering around the previous evening. She was duly informed that there was no ghost of Mitko around, but Mitko in real life who had come this year to see old friends in the village and went to see his old home!

Sacho said that he spoke to Mitko yesterday and he was very much alive. He then asked me who said that he had died. I explained that his son said that he was above us and pointed his finger to the sky. Sacho then burst out laughing saying that Mitko was up above us in the apartment block he was living in Stara Zagora. He didn’t come to Skalitsa last year but stayed at home – That’s where he was!

Well the misunderstanding lasted a year and I’m glad Mitko is still alive and kicking albeit still not very happy with town life. As for ghosts, well no recent additions recently, but lot so stories from neighbours of existing ones to be told on a cold and still winter night – That’s a long way off right now.

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