Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye and thank you, 2011!

Niskayuna Art Out 201114

It might sound strange but when I woke up today the first thing I wanted to do was check my social media accounts. No, I'm not that kind of person, who sleeps with her cell in hand, looking for updates on her FB throughout the night, but today is different. So, why the sudden curiosity, you'll ask. Well, it is quite obvious I think-  today is the last day of 2011 and people like to share with their friends what kind of year they had. I wanted to see how everyone felt about 2011 and what a better way to do that than to sneak a peek of their statuses and blog posts, tweets etc.

Usually, that's a very depressing thing to do, because people mostly complain what a horrible year they had, all the losses it brought them ( from love, to money, to keys and change), and overall it's a New year's cocktail as I call it. What's a New year's cocktail? Well, it's a large glass of misery, with a dash of hope, some dreams sprinkled on top and  then mixed with enthusiasm for the upcoming year. 

Today I saw quite a different picture and I must say this caught me by surprise. 
If you look at the world news, 2011 was a difficult year so I absolutely didn't expect the first thing that I read about sending this year off to be " I love you 2011" .  And this was just the beginning!  Everyone I know felt kind of the same way- grateful for what they got, with high expectations for 2012 and kind of sad 2011 is going. 

I am happy that even though I know everyone had less than a perfect year, these people found it in their hearts to be thankful for everything they got or didn't get. I have to admit, this is the first year in a long time I didn't hear anyone complaining and it is more than refreshing. 

What kind of year I had? 
I honestly feel that was the best year I had in a long, long time. It was a difficult and stressful one, yes,  but it was full....of LIFE. 
I finally felt like I was living to the fullest potential of "living" I can imagine. Maybe there is more, maybe I didn't get all I could get or didn't give all I could give, but that's not how I feel. I definitely got more than I expected and I gave away more than I ever imagined I could. I met so many new friends, I can hardly count them, I got so much love and appreciation
 that I feel blessed! Therefore for me 2011 was (finally) a year of balance and inner peace.  I don't feel as restless as I did and as corny as it might sound...I am happy, today, and yesterday, and the day before.

I don't wish for a perfect 2012, nor I wish for the same year as 2011, not at all. I don't wish YOU that too. I wish for a year of BALANCE, I want a year I will regret to see going, just like 2011.

Farewell, my friend , 2011! Although I don't wish we meet again, I know you won't be soon forgotten! 

To all of you - I thank you for the support and love you've given me! My family and I are wishing you a Happy New Year and may the next one be a year you will miss when it's gone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Simply Maria

It is more than a year, since Maria and I spoke about guest blogging. She wrote about me in the Summer this year, and I...with all my engagements and stuff, managed to translate and post her piece today, the first day ( and last as it turned out) of my winter break.
It might have taken me longer than I expected, but I am glad I can give this post as a Christmas gift to you, so you can get to know an amazing Bulgarian woman, which has often served as my inspiration, and to her, as amazing as she is with everything she does. I won't try to describe Maria for you. She is like Sofia( the way she sees her)- you have not only to see her, but to feel her, to breathe in her creative fragrance, to touch her work and overjoy looking at her images.

She cannot be simply categorized or defined.

She is unique, positive and dangerous creative power, you can only get to know by yourself.
She is simply Maria.

Here she is:

* I have tried to stay close the original text as much as I could, but I made minor adjustments in the text to express Maria's thoughts better in English.

".....Annie has invited me to be her guest blogger so long ago, that I feel uncomfortable even remembering, but I wanted to gather a collection of pictures, which will give a better understanding of how I see my favorite places in Sofia,their faces, colors, impressions, and memories.
I don’t believe I have succeeded of course, because in order to understand a city you have not only to see it, but to feel it, to smell it. I chose my pictures to show details of the city, because I believe this is how people who haven’t seen it will understand it better.

For these people, who have visited Sofia or live here, these pictures will remind them to look not only at their wrist watches, cell phone screens or the top or their shoes.
If you are sightseeing, remember- to see you always have to look up.Sofia is one of the cities you have to see.

In Bulgarian: Поканата на Ани да гостувам в блога й е от доста отдавна, чак ми е нудобно да спомена. Исках да събера снимков материал, който “говори” повече, мои любими места в София, образи, цветове и впечатления, спомени. Не успях да направя точно замисленото, но в крайна сметка, градът не може да се предаде напълно, трябва да се усети, помирише, види. Исках снимките да са детайли, мисля че така най-точно се възприема от хора, които не са го видяли. А на тези, които са го посещавали или живеят тук, им напомня да не гледат единствено в часовника на ръката си, дисплея на мобилния си телефон или върха на обувките си. Всеки град трябва да се обикаля с високо вдигнат поглед. София също.

My Sofia street curbs

Sofia is my city, without a doubt or a question. I have lived in the suburbs and abroad, but Sofia always calls me back. Sofia makes me breathe, in spite of the polluted air.
Sofia makes me smile, in spite that everyone around me is not smiling.Sofia makes me feel free, in spite of all the people and traffic.
I have dreamed of returning to Sofia much more than I have dreamed visiting any other place.In Sofia, the curbs of the streets are mine- I have been walking on them forever. They hold my memories, they remember my footsteps, they remember my heels breaking on them and my shoes been taken off, so my feet can feel the warmth of the street.
Sofia’s buildings know me. They have been witnesses of my life and everything that has happened to me, my happiness, my disappointment, my choices and tears.
Even if someone paints the whole city in gray, Sofia will always be full of color for me- a little indulging, in slow motion compared to the big cities, but nevertheless life in her will always flow faster than the smaller cities. In Sofia each street and place has their own smell. The smell of violets, of smoke, of grass, of ice cream, of banitsa, of hair spray, of paint, of gas.

Sofia is not Paris, Rome, London or Barcelona. She doesn’t have to be. Sofia is her own unique city and for me it is like a harbor, in which the sea suddenly went dry. Sofia always calls me when I need it the most, especially when I don’t realize it.
Sometimes I want to go back just to touch something I love, to hear words, which I know, to run through a busy street that I know.There is a lot I don’t like about Sofia, but I don’t necessary feel the city has to change right away, because Sofia has its own pace, no matter how much people want to change that.
My favorite streets are so specifically chaotic for Sofia, that there is no way you can confuse them with any other city. Sometimes these streets are narrow and cluttered, but they are still beautiful to me, reminding me of a time I was in love, kissing on the curb, or when rain has been poring over me, while my umbrella was safely tucked at home, or when someone has called me to come back, and I couldn’t hear from the noise the cars made. In Sofia you can sit in a cafe and forget that the world turns. In Sofia you can make miracles happen- you can be invited, accepted, find a safe harbor, you can open your window in the morning and see the whole city from it. You can also go skiing after work, to celebrate until 8 am and have a breakfast at noon. You can smile to someone and they can ask you “Why are you smiling?” in return.

Sofia can also be strange, unwelcoming, sharp, gray, dark and shady, yet Sofia can also be full of sunlight, fragrant, open, friendly, pink.Don’t walk through Sofia’s streets with your head down, look at the buildings, look at people’s eyes, smile at the kids, sit on the benches on the street, turn your head after the beautiful ladies that walk by, drink your coffee slowly in a bohemian chair, feel the wonder of Sofia’s quirkiness and don’t look for logic in it- sometimes there simply isn’t any logic. Sofia has to be touched and felt, and her many faces sometimes can confuse you…

In Bulgarian: Моите тротоари
София е моят град. Без съмнение и въпросителни. Опитвала съм и провинцията, и чужбина. Но София винаги ме е привиквала обратно.
София ме кара да дишам дълбоко – въпреки мръсния въздух. София ме кара да се усмихвам – въпреки намръщените хора. София ме кара да съм свободна – въпреки пренаселеността и трафика.В София съм мечтала да се върна по-силно, отколкото съм мечтала за което и да било пътуване.В София тротоарите са мои – вече съм стъпвала на тях. Попили са спомените ми. Отеквали са моите токове. Чупили са се. Били са сваляни, за да усетят топлината на паважа.В София сградите ме познават. Ставали са свидетели на моя живот и на моите случки. На моите радости, разочарования, решения, сълзи.Дори някой утре да боядиса всичко в сиво, София за мен пак ще е цветна, леко декадентска, мудна в сравнение с големите мегаполиси и нервна в сравнение с малкия град. 

В София всяка улица и място имат своя аромат. На виолетки, на дим, на цигари, на трева, на сладолед, на банички, на лак за коса, на блажна боя, на бензин.София не е Париж, Рим, Линдон, Бареселона. Не е и нужно. Тя не подражава на никого.София за мен е пристанище, в което морето внезапно е пресъхнало. София ме вика винаги когато имам нужда от нея, но не го осъзнавам.Понякога искам да се прибера само, за да пипна нещо, което обичам. Да чуя думи, които са ми познати. Да пресека тичешком някой булевард с кратък светофар.Много неща в София не ми харесват. Но не държа да се променят бързо. Защото освен свои управници, градът има собствен ритъм, версия, тласъци. И те не зависят само от хората.

В София имам любими улици - толкова специфично и хаотично софийски, че просто не можеш да ги сбъркаш. Улици, които ще се пръснат от еклектика, теснотия и скупченост, но пак са привлекателни. На чиито бордюр си сядал когато си бил влюбен. Или те е валял дъжд когато чадърът ти си е почивал вкъщи. Или някой те е викал да се върнеш, а ти не си го чувал от шума на колите. В София можеш да седнеш в някое кафене и да забравиш, че светът бърза. Можеш да направиш дребни чудеса. Можеш да бъдеш приютен, приет, поканен. Можеш да отвориш сутрин прозореца и да видиш целия град. Можеш да отидеш на ски в края на работния ден. Можеш да празнуваш до 8 сутринта и да закусваш на обяд. Можеш да се усмихнеш на някой и да те попитат „Защо”.

София може да бъде и странна, и враждебна, и остра, и сива, и тъмна, и прихлупена. Може да бъде и слънчева, ароматна, отворена, приятелска, гостоприемна, розова.Недейте да се разхождате в София с наведена глава – разглеждайте сградите, срещайте погледите на хората, усмихвайте се на децата, сядайте на пейките, обръщайте се след красиви жени, пийте кафето си бавно в бохемско кресло, учудвайте се на странностите й и не търсете логика – понякога такава просто няма.София трябва да се пипне и усети, многото й лица понякога объркват... 

Sofia believes....

Sofia measures time passed....

Sofia grows old ....( *this is a picture of old street names and homes)

Sofia is vain.... ( street market for antiques)

Sofia has it's own tune...

Sofia flies...

Sofia is in bloom...

Sofia is in love...

Sofia reads... ( Tzar Shishman street)

Sofia is lonely...

...and not that much.

Sofia changes...

Sofia lives...

Sofia is full of symbols and memories, that sometimes take her breath away...

Sofia remembers...

Sofia has fun...

Sofia paints...

Thank you, Maria, for a wonderful day in Sofia!
* If you want to learn more about Maria, check out her blog: 

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