Saw a double rainbow in Bulgaria today. It was only there for a few minutes taunting me from our window but I ran to get my camera and managed to get a few shots before it disappeared. What does it mean? Wish I knew. Check out the photos.
Last night, at midnight, I went to a Bulgarian Orthodox Easter service in our city. Seems like everyone in Blagoevgrad was there to get a candle lit from the “holy flame.” The faithful wait patiently for a chance to get a light directly from the flame that has special powers. Some walk around the outside of the church for extra good luck from 3 to 7 times while shielding their candlewicks from the wind. Then they rush home–on feet, in cars- with the candle that will keep them blessed for the following year. The church and the city were glowing. Even though I am not a believer, I really enjoyed the experience. Beautiful stuff. Check out the photos.
Last weekend, when we were in Sofia with our daughter Jenna (who had surprised me for my birthday by coming all the way from Chicago for 4 days, which was the best birthday present ever–you can read more about it on Mark’s blog), we went to see an All-Star basketball game. The big draw was Dennis Rodman, who didn’t seem too interested in the proceedings and spent most of the time slumped in a leather recliner. Even the cheerleaders couldn’t get his attention. But he did manage to dye his hair and paint his eyebrows the colors of the Bulgarian flag. Check out the photos.
Today I finished editing a short documentary about a Bulgarian female singing group called Svetlina. These fourteen women from the school where I teach (www.aubg.bg) sing traditional female folk songs. Did I mention that they sing acapella and that the group was founded by an American student who is from the Midwest and has not even an ounce of Bulgarian blood in her? Check out the video here:
A few other things of interest that we’ve done since I last blogged (or before):
– We reconnected with our Bulgarian “daughter” Ekaterina Petrova (Kate) from Macalester in Sofia when Jenna was here. She’s been living in France for much of the past year, so it was good timing. What fun to see them together. They really are like sisters. And now Kate and I will be doing some work together on the Documentary Boot Camp Master Class that I’ll be teaching in Sofia next weekend (sponsored by the American Embassy).
– Went to Plovdiv, Bulgaria’s second largest city, and saw an old amphitheater from the, oh, 2nd century. We were alone there. Virtually no tourists. A guy asked us for 3 leva (about $1.50) to get in and we weren’t even sure he worked there. This is a special place. Forget Rome. Come to Plovdiv.
– I spoke to film students at “NATFIZ” (the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts) in Sofia a few weeks ago. The students were great and one of them took a picture of me while I was showing them some shooting techniques. I am pointing (see pic). I hope I didn’t scare them too much.
-Had a great screening of NUMB, the documentary I am executive producing, at the Sofia International Film Festival. (Read about it here ). I also taught a workshop on “backpack filmmaking.” Had a great time there. The Q and A was fantastic.
-Did I mention that we went to Zagreb for ZagrebDox film fest and then to Greece for spring break to the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival with AUBG Documentary Movie Club members? I brought 16 students there to see how the film festival world really works and we had an amazing time. Life-changing stuff, meeting with filmmakers and distributors, etc. Here is a nice story written by a freshman from Georgia (the country) who had her passport and wallet stolen on the first day but still loved the festival.
– For the honors ceremony last week, all faculty had to be present so Mark put on a cap and gown for the first time in, oh, 30 years. There is group picture of our journalism colleagues (hint: they have nicer regalia than us).
– We went to annual meeting of Blagoevgrad officials and AUBG faculty and administration. It was a very serious meeting with mostly men in suits that wrapped up fairly early. When it did, the guy who was in charge of the microphones all of a sudden threw off his blazer and morphed into a D.J. and started blasting traditional Bulgarian music. Barely a minute passed before the cafeteria and cleaning ladies all stopped what they were doing and started dancing along with the few people who were still there. Of course I had to jump in, but more interesting is that Mark did, too! There is a blurry pic for proof in the slide show. Now, whenever we see the cafeteria ladies, we have a special bond with them from this night.
Whew. So I started out this post only to talk about the double rainbow. Here it is a few hours later but now I realize that I have many adventures, stories and news to share! Every day it’s something new, but I don’t always think that it’s blog-worthy. But today I think it’s probably good to remember and reflect more often, at least when I have the time 🙂
There are just a few more weeks left of school. My students are working hard to finish the MISS AUBG documentary that I mentioned in the previous post. The top 3 short documentaries from that class will soon be broadcast on Bulgarian National Television. The last multimedia journalism blog posts are due in less than two weeks ( I will post links later so you can check out their blogs – many are very interesting!). The TV News class will soon have its last show of AUBG-TV. . After graduation, we will be back to the U.S. for the summer. It’s hard to believe that this school year, our first year in Bulgaria, is almost done. I’ve still got more videos to shoot and edit and more pictures to take, but I feel like I’m the luckiest girl in the world to see the things I’ve seen and do the things I’ve done. Lucille Ball once said, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than the things I haven’t done.” Agreed.