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How to become culturally bulgarian in 20 steps

1. Complain about the little things

“My teeth hurt from this sticky halva” or “Uff, I’m stuck in traffic at Aleksandar Nevsky again,” or “Alena lied about my horoscope this morning on BTV!” Let it off your chest; any complaints are welcome.

2. Wear the latest fashion to school

Why else bother waking up at 7am to board the crammed school bus from Sinite Plichki to Pravets, if not to show off your D & G sequin top?

3. Drive off to college with a trunk full of mom’s homemade goodies

She’s stuffing honey, lokum, banitsa, walnuts, kachamak, and turshiya, as you desperately try to drive off to Studentski Grad.

4. Frequent the Sofia malls

You take it as a personal task to feed the economy, which is why you spend your hard-earned leva at the mall on Boulevard Stamboliyski.

5. Spend your summer in Zlatni Pyasats

..or Cacao Beach, or Albena, or any other Black Sea resort with a cold beer and sizzling skara.

6. Brag about your country’s history…even if you don’t have all the facts down

There definitely was a mighty Bulgarian Empire bordering 4 seas! (Just don’t ask me what year that was.)

7. Be multilingual

You speak English of course, since it’s a mandatory subject, but you are most likely fluent in at least one more language, be it Spanish, German of French, since you’re definitely aiming to work in Western Europe.

8. Ditch class with your friends

Let’s be real, class attendance was never your highest priority. You’d rather sip Nescafé Frappé than sit in class, listening to the sad story of Vasil Levski.

9. Develop a crush on Berbatov

Seriously, what woman would not swoon before the sight of Dimitar’s mighty calves, chiseled abs, and brilliant smile?

10. Absorb foreign culture like a sponge

You grew up watching Marissa and Ryan’s struggles in The OC, Peggy’s ginger main in Married with Children and Sally Spectra’s dominance in The Bold & the Beautiful. Your Facebook name reads “Jane” instead of Yana.

11. Visit Turkey and Greece at least once

Because vacation packages go for as low as 180 leva (120 USD) and it’s only a 6-hour bus ride from Sofia — no excuses.

12. Explain to the ignorant that Bulgarian women are the most beautiful in the world

And how could they not be? They are a mix of Russian, Greek, Turkish, and Roman!

13.Enlighten your foreign friends that the first computer was created by a Bulgarian.

Hello, everyone knows John Atanasov!

14. Be a master of the Cyrillic alphabet and convert it to Latin

You know how to make your здрасти into zdrasti like a true hieroglyph wizard.

15. Suffer from major wanderlust

Chances are you can’t afford to leave Sofia’s Vrazhdebna airport, so instead spend hours googling images of the Eiffel tower, Ko Phi Phi, NYC, and the Easter Islands.

16. Dread the Sofia metro

Partly because of the angry conductor yelling “Biletcheta!” when in fact you, just like everyone else, did not purchase a ticket.

17. Have your grandma thoroughly research the guy who asked you out

You let it slip that a boy asked you on a date and 5 minutes later, your grandma — the detective — has already asked the entire mahala about his parent’s occupation, reputation, and annual income.

18. Spend your Sunday’s na selo

There’s nothing better than waking up to the scent of fresh mekitsi and ayran for breakfast, breathing the fresh scent of bor in the air.

19. Defend Bulgaria’s rights over Greek yogurt

Haven’t you heard that the vital yogurt bacteria is named lactobacillus bulgaricus?! It was our invention, so give us the credit we deserve.

20. Be a feta cheese monster

Enhance every meal with the divine, spongy substance. Put it on luchnik, pirojki, kachamak, french fries, tomatoes and even pupej.


Profile photo of Dayana Aleksandrova

I moved across the ocean from Bulgaria to the US at age 16, alone, in pursuit of my studies. Since then, I have graduated from college in Connecticut, lived in Spain, traveled across Europe, met some extraordinary individuals, redefining the conventional understanding of "family," and learned how to live more meaningfully. A passionate student of Plato and Heidegger, I see travel as the ultimate guide to self-knowledge and reflection upon one's purpose. I strive to immerse myself deeply into foreign environments and hopefully learn how to cook a few local delicacies. A thrill-seeker of what Immanuel Kant calls the "sublime," namely breathtaking natural landscapes, I try to immortalize them with my little Cannon camera. The pursuit of philosophical epiphanies and gastronomical indulgence is deeply embedded in my adventures.I just lost my crazy, overwhelming corporate job and am job hunting and diving into my writing. Here or abroad - bring it on!

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