Friday, May 27, 2011

The trip to Bulgaria

When I was on the trip to Bulgaria April 8-13th, I had one of the best times ever. It is a memory for life, and I will always remember the good persons a got to know when I was there. All the people from Ireland, Spain and Bulgaria were really nice, and I have good memories from them all.
The first day most of us were nervous, and we were shy to talk to the people from the other countries. But it did not take so long before we got to know them, and then it was easy to talk with them. All of the social time we had together down there was really fun! Many things were very different in Bulgaria from what I was used to in Norway, but I liked it. The trip was a nice experience for me, in many different ways. The food was different, the climate, the school, really everything.
To be allowed to stay with an unknown Bulgarian family was incredibly exciting. I must admit I was a bit skeptical initially. But after I had come home to them, I was very happy, they were very nice people. They welcomed me with open arms. There was only the small problem that none of them spoke English so well. Yet it went well, and we started to communicate in our own way.
The boys in Bulgaria were very nice; they opened the doors for us girls and bought things for us, even if we said no. Slightly different from the Norwegian boys! ha –ha-ha.

Most likely we will not meet again. It is sad to think about since it was such a great bunch of people. One can hope that you will suddenly meet again; I heard some rumors that some students would study in Norway. That would be fun. Maybe we will meet again, who knows?  The world is not so big after all. Luckily I took lots of pictures on the trip that I can look back on when I get old and gray. Then I will think back on this trip with a smile around the mouth. I feel lucky to have been allowed to participate.
Hugs from the Norwegian girl, Maren

A great bunch of people


Luben and Me 

The trip to Bulgaria

When I went to Bulgaria in April this year, I had some great days, even though the trip took many hours. The place and the people we met were fantastic. We did something every day, and we didn`t have time to miss Norway and the people back home. And to all of you people from Bulgaria, you have a great country and you must be proud to come from such a lovely place.
Sofia was a huge city, and we learned a lot of old history when we went around the city with our guide. Everything, every place, the food and all the people we met were perfect. This was a fantastic trip, and I am so glad that I got this chance to visit Bulgaria.
Hugs from Christine.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Bulgaria, a great experience

My name is Júlia and I'm a participant of the Spanish comenius group. I'm 16 years old and I'm from Vilassar de Mar, a town near Barcelona.

On 8th of April I went to Bulgaria with other students to work about the comenius preoject. The plane left at 19:00, so we had to be at the airport at 18:00 more or less.

We arrived at Sofia at 23:00 and we were received by three bulgarian students (Kris, Rali and Rosen).

Then, we went to the hotel and the next day we visited Sofia. It was very beautiful because it was very different from Spain and, in the same square (for example) there were buildings of all the bulgarian ages.

On Sunday we visited a touristic town called Veliko tarnovo where there was a very famous castle.

On the afternoon we visited a museum with the typical bulgarian houses and where some people sold handcraft objects.

On the evening we arrived at Kazanlak and we were received by our families. They were very nice and I felt very comfortable with them.

The next day, on monday we went to the first class (which was German) and I didn't understand anything but it was funny to see how were the classes in Bulgaria and the teachers, too. After that, we went to the meeting room with the other comenius students and we did the presentations. I was very nervous when I had to show my part of the presentation because we had to talk with a microphone and I wasn't used to do it.

On Tuesday, we went to the first class another time (english class) and I was very surprised when I saw a poster on the wall which said: "Work while you work, play while you play. This is the way to be happy and gay" because one of my teachers said it; and I asked Ralitsa to do a photo of that poster. When we went to the meeting room we did the "situations" and we danced the typical bulgarian dance.

On Wednesday we said goodbye to the families and we left Bulgaria. I was very sad because it was one of the best experiences I've ever lived and I have a lot of friends there.

The things that I like most are the people, the folklore show, the museum of hand-crafting, the visit around Sofia...

When Luis told me that I would go to Bulgaria I couldn't imagine how was it like, I didn't know enough information about that country but when I went there, I fell in love with the town, the people... It was amazing and I miss them (country and people) so much!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Log from the Comenius visit. (Norway)

During the first Comenius visit, which started November 11 and ended November 16, 2010, I was a host for two of the students from Ireland, Eoin ó Murchadha and Jamie More. On the first day I went with the other hosts to Tromsø to bring the students from Spain, Ireland and Bulgaria to Nordreisa. That day we didn’t really do much, since it was about midnight when we arrived home. On Friday we went to our school and the students got a tour of it. Later we had the students in our classes, and they got to see what our school system is like.

On Saturday we went back to Nordreisa and the students got to see reindeer. Some of us went back home, while others hung out with each other and got acquainted. Eli, another host, had two of the Irish students staying with her, so we decided to go to her house and get to know each other. Later we taught them a card game called “en, to, tre “or as it would have been in English “one, two, three“. After a while we went back to the meeting at our school, and the students got to eat Norwegian food. On Sunday I stayed home, while the other students went to Manndalen.
On Monday we had a normal school day, and the students left. It was very sad to see them leave, but we are still trying to keep the contact between us through internet and mail.

- Maria Seppälä

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Unforgettable experience!!!

So this is it 8th of April... I woke up really early and I was tired from last night... I was playing on my computer... but never mind that :D
My baggage was set and I went to the meeting place. We waited a few minutes for the bus and they we set off. Rali wasn't feeling good so she was sleeping most of the time, but me and Rosen were listening to music and laughing. After a few hours we went to Sofia, where we settled in the hotel. We had some free time before the meeting in the airport so we all took a shower /not together xD/ and then we went to the airport along with Mrs. Damyanova and Mrs. Stankova.
Some time passed, but finally Mrs. Damyanova recognized the Irish teacher and we went to greet them. On the way to the hotel we passed through a gypsy area of Sofia and Rosen was quick to tell the Irish that these buildings and people weren't Bulgarian. When we got back we had more free time to relax and stuff, before dinner.
When we went to the restaurant we didn't talk a lot because we were still very shy, but as time went we came to know each other.
Then later at around 22:30 we went to Terminal 2 to leave Rosen and Rali waiting for the Spanish group and me, Mrs. Damyanova and Mrs. Stankova, along with the Irish group waited for the Norwegians. Apparently their flight was delayed with half an hour or more and we waited a lot, BUT we had fun during that time. Finally when they arrived we went to greet them too and hurried to the bus, to get the other group because the poor guys were waiting for more than an hour :D
In the bus i was really, really, really nervous and I annoyed Rosen because I talked during the whole time, from stress. But we didn't talk with the others because we were all too shy, and really tired so we went to the hotel, and probably everyone went to their beds quickly.
The second day I woke up Rosen really cruel :D Because he didn't want to get up so I turned on the music and opened the window. After we were ready, we went to have breakfast. Later we went around Sofia and we met our tour guide Kris /Yeah.. Like me :D/ and Krasi, they were volunteers to show the tourists the best places in Sofia and to tell our great /at times not that great/ history. But time was pressing hard and we had to skip some of the last sightseeings. Then we went to the bus to set off for Veliko Turnovo /Mighty Turnovo/. When we got there we found out that the bus can't stop anywhere near the hotel but I already opened the luggage-rack and "saved" a few baggage's. After a while the bus found a place to park and me and few other guys went to get the others' stuff. We had a little free time and then went to dinner.
After that we went to the castle "Tzarevec" and we had huge luck to show up just for the light show, it was really beautiful, and I think everyone enjoyed it. Later we traveled around the city and got back in the hotel. But because I stayed till really late, talking with Rali and the receptionist girl I went to my room but it was locked, and I didn't want to wake up Marc and Sergi so I slept in the lobby /but it was really comfortable :D/

In the morning we had breakfast and a few hours free time so we went to the castle again me, Rali, Rosen and Michaela but this time inside. Later we saw the spanish group along with Olav to come too. At lunch-time we got on the bus and headed to Etara where we saw the traditional craft-making, but the weather was really chilly so we didn't like it a lot. And then we went for the Shipka Monastery but I don't think it was interesting anymore because everyone was tired, and needed rest.

After that we went to our high school where the other students probably set some of the most interesting paintings,drawings, design assignments etc. I talked a little with my guest Helena and then we set for my house with my father. At first she was really shy but later she started talking more and I grew fond of her. For dinner me, Helena and my family went to a restaurant and after that, we met with Ilona and Sergi to play a little "hek". But it got late so we went home and went to beds. the next day was our second meeting on the project where every group showed the work they've done so far, it was really interesting and I really liked it. We went to lunch at Magnoliya restaurant and after that we finished the project meeting for the day and had free time till 7, during that time we went to one school to play football /I played basketball :D/ after that we went to Hollywood /the beloved place of us all/ and then went to Magnoliya again where we saw a traditional folklore program just for us.

The next day was pretty much the same, but we finished the project meeting and almost all of us danced a traditional dance /which i can't learn for 3 years now, and the others learnt for 2 days :D/after lunch we said our goodbyes to the Norwegian group and went to the Thracian tomb and we had more free time. So we were at Hollywood again for a few hours and then we went to a pizzeria and after that a Billiard pud. This was a really good day full of joy.

Unlike the next day when we traveled back to Sofia and said our goodbyes again for the other two groups. It was really sad... but the Spanish group broke the ice when the teachers started leaving the bus and the students were still on their seats saying "bye... bye..." :D
We hugged them all and went back to Kazanlak. It was kinda depressing because I may never see some of these people again, and we became friends for such small time. I'll always remember them, and I can't wait to go to Catalonia!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Bulgarian experience

On the 8th of April I got up early. I left home and went to the meeting place. Only a few of us, the Bulgarians, were going to Sofia to welcome the other participants in the project. We- Ralitsa, Kristian, Mrs Damyanova, Mrs Stankova and THE bus driver. Me and Kris were listening to some songs the whole trip and it was sooo funny. Rali wasn't feeling so well, so she didn't talk with us too much. We didn't use the main highway to Sofia, so the road was awful. But it was a shortcut.
We arrived in Sofia 3 hours later, had lunch and spend some time in our hotel room. We were eager to welcome the Irish group, which was to arrive first at the Airport's 1st Terminal. And. after a few hours, we set out for the airport.
After getting there, we walked around for some minutes, and then waited 10- 15 minutes till the Irish came. And... they finally came. Mrs Damyanova recognized their teachers and said "Here they are!" and all of us went to greet them. We introduced ourselves and went to the bus. I tried to talk with them, but I'm not so good at communicating with others, so I didn't talk with them much at first. Rali and Kris didn't say much either. We went back to the hotel, passing through one of the areas of Sofia, inhabited by gypsies. There were lots of awful houses, destroyed roofs and of the kind... One of the dirties places you can see in Sofia. I tried to explain the others that this is not the Bulgarian part of the city, because they seemed quite shocked. I didn't want the others to think that this is what Bulgarian cities look like. Then, we went back to the hotel and had some time to rest.
We had dinner at 18:00 and talked a little bit with each other. It was quite silent round me, but I just didn't know what to say, and it seemed the others didn't know too.
Around 22:00 we went to the airport again. They left me and Ralitsa at the 2nd Terminal to wait for the Spanish group, and the Irish students, Kris, Mrs Damyanova and Mrs Stankova went to greet the Norwegians.
We waited almost half an hour before the Spaniards came. We recognized them quite quickly and went to introduce ourselves. The Norwegians flight got delayed, so we had to wait an hour or so with the Spanish people till the others came to get us, so we had time to talk with them. They were quite friendly and we talked more than with the Irish when we met them earlier the same day. Then, the bus came and we all got in it and went straight back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. Almost none of the groups tried talking with each other, but it was to be expected, as it was past midnight and everyone seemed tired.

Kris' alarm went off and woke me up early in the morning. I pretended not to hear it and tried to sleep some more. But then Kris started poking me saying "Wake up! Wake up, Roska!". Aaaand... I woke up. >.< We then went down to have breakfast, but I wasn't so hungry and didn't eat almost anything. We packed our stuff and took our luggage to the bus. We left for the center of the city. But our bus couldn't stop where we had to meet our guides, so it left us quite far from the meeting point and we had to walk there. Atleast we didn't pass near the gipsy houses again, so the others didn't have to see that degenerated area again. I shall skip the part of getting to the meeting point as it would be boring for you to read how I ate my cheeseburgers from McDonald's. :D
And sooo... we met our guide Kris. Yeah, Kris! Kris & Kris! :D:D So, the guides split us in 2 groups, and we moved so that after our group (the 1st) finished at some place, the other came right after us. It's easier to explain things when there are less people after all. Kris was quite a good guide. We saw the main tourist attractions around the center of the city, and there's quite a lot of them. Alas, we had no time for all of them, so we kind of just skipped a few of them. We saw the National Art Gallery, The National Theater, The national Library(well...almost!), the mineral baths, some of the older layers of the city and a few more places. Kris introduced the non- Bulgarians to one of our traditions- wearing a Martenitza on your hand, and putting it on a blossoming tree after you'd seen a stork.
We met up with the other group and walked to the place where the bus was supposed to wait for us. WE waited for it some time, and got in. And we left for Veliko Turnovo(or Tarnovo maybe, w/e).
At first, I was supposed to stay in one room with Conor and Ian, but because of... "an accident" I had to leave the room. Who knew that trying to repair a broken bed with a couple of plastic bags wouldn't do the trick, eh? So, I shared a room with The bus driver. Kris was supposed to sleep in a room with Marc and Sergi, but due to some other unavoidable circumstances, he spend the night on the sofa near the reception. Way to go Kris!!! :D And, Ralitsa shared a room with two Norwegian girls, she didn't tell me who they were, though. We had dinner at 19:30 and then I thought that there might be a lightshow at the castle. Turnovo's keep is famous for its lightshow, but the real deal happens only once or twice a year. At first, I told my idea to Kris, but then, it spread and the others wanted to join us. Mrs Damyanova said " Rosen, there's no lightshow, what are you talking about?!". But still, we went to the castle, and waited a few minutes. And then... the lights started dancing infront of our eyes! There are 5 different colors, and each represents a different period of the Bulgarian history. The Norwegians didn't come with us, but all the others really enjoyed it. Or so I hope!
And then, we walked around the town for some time and headed back to the hotel. I went back to the hotel I was staying at, with the bus driver in the same room, and finally got some rest. ^_^.
The next morning, we had breakfast and some of us went to the church. I didn’t enter. Instead, I took some photos around the place while waiting for the others. Then- me, Kayla, Kris and Ralitsa went to see the castle. Rosen and Ralitsa, Kayla and Kris= R & R and K & K? :D I was kind of familiar with the place, as I’ve been there a few years ago. The weather was not the best, because the wind was too strong, but we had a lot of fun.
Then, we went back to the hotel, got our stuff and went to the bus. And… we set off for “Etara”. It was really cold and gloomy, so we didn’t stay there much. After the guide told everyone about “Etara”, we spend a little time there and got on the bus again. The new destination was the “Shipka Monastery”. The time spend there was really short, compared to all the other places. But… no wonder! Everyone was tired after all the travelling. And, spending less than an hour there, we set off straight for Kazanlak, more precisely, to our school, where everyone was supposed to be waiting for us. But, arriving half an hour or even more, earlier, we had to wait for the parents and the other students from our school to come and meet us.
We waited for 30 minutes and I told my teacher that we are going home, and, me, Ian, Conor and Hristo, along with my mother went home. We played a little bit on the PS 3 and went out around the city. After meeting up with the girls, we went to the Hollywood café and spent some time there. Then, we met up with Ilona and Sergi and went to the park to play some games. After it got dark, we went back home, had dinner and went to sleep.
The next morning, we got up at 7a.m., had breakfast and went to school. There, we had a sculpture class and a fast tour of the school after that. Then, the second work meeting of the Comenius project started. Every group introduced to the others their work up to now, and we got to know each others’ cultures some more. Then, the local media came to get interviews from 1 student of each participating country and 1 teacher. Alas, for some unknown reason, no students were interviewed from us, the Bulgarians. Me, Ralitsa and Kristiyan translated to the reporter and that was where our job ended. After that, all of us went for lunch at the “ Magnoliya” restaurant, and then, we went back to school, continuing the project activities. After we were done with the work for the day, at 3 pm, we went shopping for a while, and then, almost all of us played football and gaelic football. I, ofcourse, took a lot of photos! And after we were done with the sports, we went to Hollywood again, where we stayed for a few hours. And then, we went right for the “Magnoliya” restaurant again, to enjoy the great Bulgarian folklore program that was arranged especially for us!
The next day was pretty much the same at school- 1 class, then project activities. But, at the end, we ended the Second project meeting by giving away certificates and with a traditional Bulgarian dance. After the lunch at the restaurant, we all went to say goodbye to the Norwegians. Then, we went to the Thracian tomb and the Museum. And again, we spent a few hours in Hollywood. But this time, all of us went to have some pizza together and enjoy ourselves, as it was the last day we’d be together!
We made friends and great memories, though only for a little time spent together. We learned something of each others’ cultures as well! The next morning, all of the participants were gathered at school, where we said goodbye and took the last photos with most of us together. At the end, we waved goodbye at the bus, and that’s how the Bulgarian visit of the project ended for me!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My experience in Bulgaria

My experience was very interesting and helped me learn about life in another country that is not as developed as ours. In Bulgaria you could see that the standard of living of most people was very low compared to our standard of living.

The first two days were used to adapt to time there. It is a cold country and the decoration of the facade of the buildings gave you the feeling of cold. When we visited Sofia, we could see the contrast between old and new buildings. We could also see that while not hear much about Bulgaria, it was a very important country in history. We visited the ruins there of old.

The site that I liked was Veliko Tarnovo. The first day in Veliko Tarnovo was a little short because we arrived in the afternoon and we couldn't do anything. At night we went for a walk and saw the light show that made in the fortress.
The next day we visited the fort and saw the church that had the top. The decoration of the church was awesome. It was full of paintings. The only thing I didn't like was that it was very windy.

After visiting the fortress back to the hotel to take the case and go to the coach, we arrived to Kazanlak and our host families were waiting there. The first day with the family was a bit strange because you didn't know what to say and had a lot of embarrassment but the other days was different because you had already used to being with them and communicate in English.

The next day we went to make the German class with students who welcomed us. It was a bit boring because we didn't know what they were saying in German. What struck me is that they have long breaks between classes. After doing the class with them, we had to make oral presentations on the work of minority languages. We did quite well and the video had been very good. The oral presentation was complicated because speaking English in front of people you just met always ashamed and get nervous. All participating countries have done well.

In the afternoon we went to a park where we played a football match and practice a sport that is played in Ireland. At night we went to dinner at a restaurant and then some dancers made ​​us a demonstration of the typical dances in Bulgaria. Then we all dance and it was fun.

On Tuesday we had to do a job: we had to translate a few phrases in Catalan and in Aranese. In the afternoon we went to buy souvenirs for our families, then went to a music bar called Hollywood and at night we all went to dinner at the same restaurant. On Wednesday was the last day we were in Bulgaria. In the morning we saw the act that was taken for completing the work in Bulgaria and we were given diplomas which said we had worked on the european program called Comenius.Then we went to visit a grave and then we had to go to the bus for the airport. This time was the most distressing because it was when you had to say goodbye to the people who had been there. The return trip was sad because we had become accustomed to life there and the people were very friendly and pleasant.

In general, this experience has been very good because I have practiced English, I have met new people, and especially to see how people live that is not under the same conditions that our country and the value they place on things. People are very friendly and nice, and the house where I was, I felt like in my own home.

I would like to repeat an experience like this again.