19 March 2006

St. Patty in BG

Well, let’s see what happened this week. Tuesday was my next-to-the-last Bulgarian lesson. Then on Wednesday evening, I met Vesela and Stanimir, a Bulgaria guy who did the EMBA in Vienna, at the first annual MBA fair in Sofia. We were there to help Mu-Chyun (the new “Gundi”) represent WU-Wien. It was a good thing we were there, as about 1,200 prospective student flooded into the exhibition space (there were about 20 business schools represented) at 18:00. For at least the next 2 hours the four of us were talking non-stop with people (Mu-Chyun and I in English, Vesela and Stanimir in Bulgarian) answering questions about the program—mostly the requirements, cost, and scholarships. We quickly ran out of brochures, and were exhausted but satisfied when it ended at 21:00. Afterwards, we had a nice dinner at a traditional Bulgarian restaurant, which Mu-Chyun (a Chinese-born Viennese man) greatly enjoyed.

On Thursday night, Julia had a nice (early) St. Patrick’s Day party—always classy compared to “parties” we bachelors tend to throw. And on Friday—St. Patrick’s Day proper—the festivities continued: Ryan, Kat, and I met some embassy people at Flannagan’s (mildly Irish, I guess) and then on to The Irish Harp. The night ended much too late in Studentskigrad (the 5 Points of Sofia,) and I spent most of Saturday recovering instead of skiing—thanks Bryan and Lincoln! ;-)

Saturday night was probably my last date with the Bulgarian girl that I’ve been seeing, as she leaves for Germany next week to go to university. How do I always manage to pick girls that are moving away? Is it subconscious, or am I driving them away?

Today, I went to Divaka for lunch again. They were totally full, so the waitress seated me at a table with two older men. I quickly explain “ne razbiram bulgarski,” but one of them immediately asked “sprechen sie Deutsch?” Several hours of conversation ensued relating to Bulgaria, the EU, and all the troubles of the world over successive glasses of vodka, until—seriously—his German became incomprehensible. His friend, who only spoke French (and Bulgarian) tried to chime in as well; it’s amazing how much you can understand with just a few common words. Before he ordered another vodka (and started getting too anti-Semitic,) I managed to bid adieu—only after promising to meet them again next week. Actually, it was quite interesting to get the perspective of older Bulgarians—albeit unusually cosmopolitan ones.

BTW, I just discovered the blogs of 3 new MBAEC volunteers: Alexandra, Kirk, Jim, and his wife Grace (see links under “friends' blogs.”) In case you're wondering, SD stands for Sudan (not South Dakota) and AZ stands for Azerbaijan (not Arizona!)

[UPDATE] Thank you Simon for the comment—the first ever from a family member! And, of course, many thanks to the lovely Hungarian who I never actually met, Emese, for her many comments.
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