Another Accidental Offensive Bulgarian Misunderstanding

Before you read this I must point out that there is the use of a rude word, so if you feel you would be offended please stop here. (Done in all innocence I might add.)

Sometimes people say things here that shock you and in many cases I put down to maybe not understanding the gravity and intensity of the language. I must admit it also works the other way around and I say things that shock Bulgarians as sometimes I take a Bulgarian word literally and use it in completely the wrong context. This week is was the turn of Galia's Son Anton who came to visit us. Which was a prime example of  misunderstandings that in this case caused some stress on both sides of the contextual language barrier. Let me explain....

misunderstanding, Football, Arsenal, F.A.Cup, League Cup, Liverpool, Bulgarian, Bulgaria, Fuck Up, facup, humour, Now my favourite football team is Arsenal, I have been following them for over 50 years through good and bad times. Anton knows this full well and we often argue the case of who is best - his favourite English team Liverpool or my Arsenal. Well this evening it was a semi-final League Cup match between Arsenal and Chelsea which I planned to watch live on TV that evening. By the way, the Cup is not called the League Cup but is known by a sponsor's name, but I refer to the original Cup's name as a little protest in retaliation to business over tradition.
The subject of football inevitably came up with the match this evening and Anton went on to say it going to be a 'Fuck Up for Arsenal!' This shocked me for a few reasons. Having known Anton for over 11 years there has never been an occasion where this kind of language was used. On top of this he cannot speak hardly any English. I straight away said this is very bad language to use. I went on to explain why, he obviously didn't realise how bad that those words were that made me feel very uncomfortable. He replied saying there is nothing wrong in what he said again, 'Tonight is Fuck Up for Arsenal! What's wrong with that?' 
We begged to differ for a few hours on the phrase until the match was just about to begin. Anton them said again, 'Look Fuck Up for Arsenal soon!' This time I was quite angry and basically told him I didn't want to hear this again. The fact that I had a feeling Arsenal were going to win tonight fell into deep insignificance as a argument with Anton this evening after this. Anton too was getting irate with my complaints and stance on his words, he just couldn't for the life of him understand why I was so mad.
misunderstanding, Football, Arsenal, F.A.Cup, League Cup, Liverpool, Bulgarian, Bulgaria, Fuck Up, facup, humour,
The match prelude had begun as we both eyed up the team announcements. Art this point there was shown the list of players on screen under the title of the Cup. Anton chose this moment to point to the word Cup printed on the screen and said, 'Fuck Up!' The penny suddenly dropped in my head and I thought this was very funny and bust out laughing. Anton just didn't know what was going on Have you guessed the misunderstandings as this point?
Quite clearly Anton in all his innocence had misunderstood which Cup match was being played tonight, He thought it was the F.A. Cup not the League Cup (as explained earlier). The biggest misunderstanding however was his version of the Cup. to Anton the F.A.Cup was one word namely, 'Facup'. Phonically it sounded exactly the same as 'Fuck Up!'
Mistified why I was in tears laughing, Anton took some convincing that the F. A. Cup was not one word but three, (Football Association Cup). Also I explained the fact that is wasn't the F. A. Cup we were playing for tonight but another cup, which to me made it even funnier. When he finally did understand my explanations, he didn't think it was funny at all! Guess his Bulgarian mindset on this particular event which I thought would have been a universal accepted humoured tainted event just didn't turn on.
My guess now is that when we do mention the F. A. Cup, he will continue to use his one word version, not because he thinks it is funny, probably because still he thinks he is right!
Arsenal did win that evening and are now in the Final of the League Cup, but I will certainly look back on this match and clearly remember it for other reasons.

Christmas and New Year Celebrations in Bulgaria - Phew!

Christmas, New Year, Celebrations, Bulgaria, Yambol, Xmas, Rakia, Father Christmas, Guests, Party,
Guests Enter Here
It was a relative short lead up to Christmas  in Bulgaria which really started at the beginning of December. Albeit foreign and global based companies tried desperately to influence and gate crash with advertising in November. Bulgaria has ignored and fended them off for now, but for how long? So, it was quite refreshing to have a Christmas that was in your face so to speak at Christmas time.

Decorations went up in the first week of December, modest but make a statement of modern time Christmas spirit. Some people, myself included know that traditional Christmas's are a legacy from Victorian bygone age and the Father Christmas as we know him a Coca Cola designed invention as recent as 1931. Well far be it for me to dilute the celebratory atmosphere with facts of Christmas history, we proceed under the disguise of the media vision.

Christmas, New Year, Celebrations, Bulgaria, Yambol, Xmas, Rakia, Father Christmas, Guests, Party,
A Vegetarian Start to Christmas Eve
We were suddenly made aware that on Christmas Eve we were to be the hosts to Galia's son, his wife and child. With this it was three days of preparation of traditional food to be laid out on the table for that evening. In case you were not aware, Christmas Eve evening is the main time for gathering of families in Bulgaria to celebrate Christmas. The evening is spent wining and dining a non meat diet up until midnight when the meat is paraded in and tucked into. It is also at this time when presents are exchanged. When we celebrated Christmas in the village with neighbour we also had traditional party games such as the trying to bite hanging apple from the ceiling. Not this year though, just wine, dine, music and talk.

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Bulgarian Music Next Year
Christmas, New Year, Celebrations, Bulgaria, Yambol, Xmas, Rakia, Father Christmas, Guests, Party,
Galia's Son, partner and Grandson
Table laid and family guests arrive, after a couple of hours, the cover was off the piano and an attempt to get everyone to singalong with Christmas carols failed totally. Apart from the melody from Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas tree, not of the carols were known. So I resorted to some Beatles hits such as 'Yesterday', 'Hey Jude' and 'Yellow Submarine', but everyone except me w were passively tongue tied with their lack of lyrical repertoire in English. BIG learning curve for next year where I will try and get Bulgarian Songs ready from performing with hopefully a more proactive audience.

Food gradually diminished as the evening progressed, then midnight struck and the rabbit made a grand entrance. a local village bred rabbit, a not a supermarket frozen job that could put you off for life. The meat was sweet and tender and well worth the trouble and wait, Stuffed with rice that had absorbed the rabbit's juices it was real Christmas treat. After small presents exchanged and a few more drink the guest left leaving Galia's Grandson with us, which meant I was sleeping in the living room by the Christmas Tree on the sofa this Christmas night.

All done and dusted for another year the next day was traditionally a day of rest and recovery from the night before. It was a trip to the City Park to see a fantastic display and sound of Bulgarian traditional dance an music respectively. Transfixed on the event for over two hours amongst literally thousands of locals. However there was a annoyance from locals I spoke to about Christmas and New Year celebrations. It was more than noticeable that Gypsies attended these Christmas celebrations in many areas of the town they far outnumbered the Bulgarian. They do not have Christmas in their religious calendar coming from their Islam faith so why do they all gather in a Christian celebrations. Well the answer I got in the main was for money. Asking and begging for money is more fruitful at Christmas with Christians being charitable. There is also a lot of pickpocketing and other sneaky criminal elements that are practiced to a mainly unsuspecting public. I was warned not to attend the New Year City Centre event as even more Gypsies were looking for opportunities to steal. I had other plans for New Year anyway, but took note on the advice seriously. All said and done, I loved the music and dance a true heart warming Bulgarian event.
In between Xmas and New Year we entertain a long term friend who used to be my good neighbour in Skalitsa. It's funny how many times coincidence hits home. She is now my neighbour in Yambol in fact living even closer to use than before unbeknown until we moved over here again. We entertained her playing board games and talking about old times in the village. 
A few days later we were at her apartment seeing her son who had now married with a son. I hadn't seen him for many years since he moved to Burgas many years ago. It was a wonderful treat to rekindle our friendship that was cemented in Skalitsa and now plan to see him in the Summer in Burgas.
So, just the New Year to get through now and the plan was made to play host our closest neighbours. We had recently been guests in their home so it was quite fitting to invite them. The food definitely wasn't vegetarian as I had barbecued kebapche, kufta, pork steaks and a few Bulgarian sausages beforehand.
All prepared and ready to receive our guests and they duly turned up and we had a ball with music and dance all evening. Some 5 year old homemade rakia was brought as a gift and naturally led to talk of rakia making with tips and wrinkles which went on for ages.

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New Year Guests
The evening went far too quickly with midnight rushing towards us. Our plan was to venture outside and celebrate the twelve chimes into the New Year with other locals. this didn't go to plan as directly the New Year arrived it was like Beirut outside with bombs being set of at random, being thrown out of tall apartment block buildings and rockets being fired sidewards in the street. It was darn dangerous out there so we watched and celebrated with some sparkling wine in the relatively safe confines of our balcony. I have to admit that this was the noisiest New Year celebration I have every experienced anywhere. Unforgettable in terms of inhibition of actions going against all advised regulations ensuring safety of fireworks. The local hospital must be on red alert on such occasions with casualties from burns.

The evening went on with more dancing, more food and drink and a special banitsa made with fortunes to be told in each piece taken. Mine was 'Marriage' and Galia's 'Good Health'. Of course I don't believe a word of it, but good fun.

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Yambol's Cemetery
The next day was a trip to the cemetery to pay our respects to Galia's mother who died on 1st January five years ago. So quite s sobering start to the New Year. I was a glorious sunny and warm day and refreshing to see so many shops closed as there is no such thing as New Year Sales in Yambol.

The party goes on with name day celebrations and party invites from other neighbours coming up the following weekend. As always in Bulgaria, any excuse to party and socialise. Since coming back home to Bulgaria it feels like I have been freed from what felt like a jail sentence in the UK with all work and no play.


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