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As I walked on the uneven sidewalk back to my apartment, I saw an opportunity to practice the Bulgarian ways. I tried to say “Da” and shake my head for a Bulgarian “yes,” but my brain couldn’t handle doing both simultaneously. I attempted it the opposite way – nodding while saying “Ne” for “no” – but it was just as hard. Then I realized that I might look like a bona fide lunatic – shaking and nodding my head and talking to myself as I walked down this street in the center of Sofia.

I was going up the stairs to my third floor apartment when I realized I was whistling the intro to “Wind of Change.” I guess that’s what happens here in Bulgaria. Songs get stuck in your head that you haven’t heard for twenty years. They sounded cheesy twenty years ago and they sound even worse now. I could blame the radio DJs and the Cold War, but at least they’re playing familiar tunes. They’re in English. I can understand them. So, as much as I want to, I can’t really complain about Survivor or The Scorpions being overplayed.

As a monolingual, illiterate Americanski, I need to take what I can get in the land of Bulgarski – whether it’s off the Rocky IV soundtrack or cinnamon-flavored toilet paper.

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Dominic Carrillo Dec. 16, 2012 @ 8:26 a.m.

Also, I'm hosting an event for my debut novel (set in, and about, San Diego) at Gordon Biersch on December 23, from 4-7pm. All are welcome! http://www.tobefrankdiego.com/

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