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Passing on the richness of the mother tongue

The story of Tsveti Apostolova and her daughter Melody

Photo: Joyful Lotus Yoga

Today we celebrate International Women's Day in recognition of the economic, political and social achievements of women around the world. And although we live in a society where gender equality is not a problem, but a condition and a democratic value, women will always have one task more - that of giving new life. We have already told you the story of the Bulgarian Gabriela Peloui and her experience of being a mother in Romania. And now we introduce to you Tsvetanka Apostolov who is one of the thousands of Bulgarian women who have chosen to build their lives in the UK. 

She made this decision 20 years ago when she left her hometown of Stamboliyski and her job as a journalist for a better future for herself. Tsveti has a Master's degree in Bulgarian language and history from Plovdiv University and is now a teaching assistant in the UK. Every Saturday she teaches Bulgarian to the children at "Khan Asparuh" Bulgarian school in Brighton, and in her spare time she teaches yoga at her studio.Yoga is a passion, a philosophy, a mission, a path and a way of life for the Bulgarian. Yoga is what brought her to Brighton. The city is known as a centre of this ancient practice in the UK. She has taught yoga all over the world - from Bali, India, to Europe and America. Today, however, one of the most important missions in Tsveti's life is to be a mother and to teach her almost six-year-old daughter Melody to speak immaculate Bulgarian and to love Bulgaria."My daughter came into the world very late in my life when I wasn't expecting her. For me she was a true miracle and a gift from God. And right then I said to myself - I will raise this child in the best possible way, I will do my best to pass on my values to her, which will become hers, and I will pass on my love for Bulgaria to her," says Mrs. Apostolov.And she did. While still pregnant, she began speaking and singing to her baby in Bulgarian. She planned frequent trips to Bulgaria with her toddler. Every summer Melody spends at least a month in Bulgaria, her Bulgarian is fluent and she has many friends in Stamboliyski.

This is our special language," says Tsvetti to her daughter. This is the legacy she is passing on to her. Through them both, Melody's father also learned many Bulgarian words and expressions. And the love and interest for Bulgaria in their family grew.

"My connection to Bulgaria through my child is for me putting down roots, a connection to tradition, a treasure. I can't deprive my child of that because Bulgaria has never done me any harm. The very fact that I was born and raised here, that I have such lasting friendships in this place, are things that will bind me to this country for the rest of my life. Besides, Bulgaria is a paradise for me, with very kind and conscientious people, amazing nature and history. I have been to other places in the world, but here is special. Bulgaria is my home and one day I would come back to live here," says Tsveti without hesitation.

Her homecoming is always about connecting with friends and engaging with Bulgarian nature and ecology. "Because every time I come home, it's like a thorn in my side to see all this trash all over the place," says Tsveti. And she reveals that she has already given serious thought to several projects suitable for educating the younger generation in Bulgaria about recycling and ecology. This is the cause that will bring her back home one day. Until then, by her personal example, she is teaching little Melody the importance of protecting the environment, cherishing her roots and embracing them as an asset on the path of dreams in the big world. With the hope that the richness called mother tongue will be passed on to the next generations.

Compiled by Vesela Krasteva /based on an interview by Ina Nikolova for BNR-Stara Zagora/
English version: Elizabeth Radkova

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