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Bulgarians in this country and around the world speak about year we say goodbye to

A year full of challenges and unexpected twists is about to end. The pandemic has changed our daily lives and rearranged our priorities, while the election triptych in Bulgaria changed the political landscape in the country. Covid and elections were the two most significant words in Bulgaria for 2021.

What was 2021 like according to Bulgarians around the world and in this country and what their hopes for the coming of the new 2022 are. Here is what people told Radio Bulgaria.

Daniela Zekina: One cannot live only for themselves

Daniela Zekina is a Bulgarian artist from Montreal. Thousands of kilometers separate her from Bulgaria, but she still carries it in her heart and returns to her native Sofia every summer. However, the pandemic forced her to break this tradition. She says the trials and tribulations we have gone through have taught us to see the important and valuable things around us:

"The year was difficult not only for Bulgaria. It was difficult for the whole world. I think we have learned one basic thing this year - that one cannot live only for themselves as people are connected to each other. There must be greater solidarity, greater tolerance, greater understanding between us. Not only in Bulgaria, but also in the other countries around the world."

Rangel Vasev: I see myself as a citizen of Europe

Rangel Vasev lives in Berlin. He left his comfortable job in the Bundestag in order to turn his passion for vinyl records into a profession. He now successfully manufactures brushes for cleaning records. According to him, borders nowadays are a mere formality and says people should forget the stereotypes and divisions between Bulgarians in this country and those living abroad:

“I would like the opinion that young people leave Bulgaria and do not return home to change. My center of life is currently in Berlin because my family is here. But our contacts with Bulgaria are very close and we spend as much time as possible in the homeland."

Plamena Teneva-Mann: Bulgaria should have more influence in Europe

Plamena Teneva-Mann is a Bulgarian engineer in an international company. She has been living in Paris for over 20 years. She describes 2021 as difficult year, but also a year that led to the change in the country’s government, which was so desired by many Bulgarians:

"The Bulgarian people spent a whole year thinking about the multiple parliamentary votes. We have seen parties being born and new ones coming to power to help the state in crisis. I am happy that we already have a government in a coalition of four parties. Their task will not be easy, but it is a historic moment. Change is fragile, but it has finally come! Let's give a chance to the new cabinet in order to help our country rise on its feet and become what we have been dreaming of."

Plamena hopes that 2022 would bring stability to Bulgaria.

Ivana Kalvacheva: Things are simple - everyone should do their job

Ivana Kalvacheva also lives in the French capital city. Her camera is a constant companion and her lens capture everyday life in an unexpected humorous perspective. She describes 2021 as complex year, but adds that "there is light in the tunnel":

"After three parliamentary elections, I expect to finally have a well-functioning government and more responsible MPs. Things are simple - everyone should do their work conscientiously. I do not understand how a mayor who has allowed illegal construction sleeps peacefully, or how a journalist who published unverified information sleeps well.”

Jordan Radkev: We have started the construction of a Bulgarian church in South Africa

Йордан Радкев

Jordan Radkev emigrated with his family to Johannesburg in 1995. In Bulgaria he used to be a university lecturer. In South Africa he has successful career as a software engineer.

"Bulgaria looked quite confused from here. We are glad that we finally have a government and we hope it will be a good one and help the country prosper," Jordan says.

He says that despite the difficult situation during the pandemic, 2021 for the Bulgarian community in South Africa was marked with great success. Our compatriots have realized their old dream - they received permission to build a Bulgarian church and construction started in March.

Marin Hristov: A year like any other

Musician Marin Hristov - Hriste lives in Botevgrad. He came up with the idea of an initiative to promote the Bulgarian custom of survakane around the world. His opinion on the outgoing year is more philosophical:

“In every moment of existence one can see both positive and negative things. So, like any other year, the question is how we perceive the world around us.”

Dear friends, Radio Bulgaria wish you health in the coming 2022, strength to turn the negative into positive and enjoy life!

The article is based on interviews by: Gergana Mancheva, Desislava Ivanova, Yoan Kolev and Miglena Ivanova

Compiled by: Miglena Ivanova

English: Alexander Markov

Photos: private library
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