Cherries, Flags, and other July Bits

The long summer days are keeping us busy! Here are a few of our Bulgarian July weekends, just so I don’t forget.

The Kyustendil Cherry Festival, a yearly event when farmers fill the city to sell crafts, t-shirts, fresh cherry juice, and of course, cherries! Packed into plastic cups, in all colors, as you can see by the pictures here. Young people and old people are all together, dressed in traditional clothes, playing traditional music, and dancing. I have never seen so many happy smiling faces, proudly standing behind tables with displays of cherry artistry. What a wonderful festival!

July Fourth.

For our official U.S. Embassy party, Mike took pictures and I helped make an American Flag made of cupcakes. Best jobs ever! Mike also organized the American table for the school’s International Fair, and I went to King Charles’ birthday party at the British Embassy. Lots of Red, White, and Blue, fish and chips, and apple pie.

July Morning! This is a yearly tradition in Bulgaria that started in the 1980’s as a subtle protest against communism. Every year on July 1, people gather along the Black Sea Coast to watch the sunrise and welcome summer, while listening to a song by Uriah Heap called “July Morning.” Until 1989, Bulgaria was behind the Iron Curtain, so they didn’t have access to anything Western, including music. But somehow July Morning made it through, and it’s been a symbol of hope and freedom ever since.

In Sofia, hundreds of people hiked up Mt. Vitosha to watch the sunrise, including us! We left the house at 3:45 with our headlamps, and made it up there in time to see the golden sun peek over the horizon.

And then, the rest of this July means packing, the last day of school, and saying good-bye to friends. Dinners, barbecues, a jazz fest amd too many happy hours, trying to squeeze in as much as possible before the inevitable last day.

And once again Gus was always there, unfazed and ready to welcome us home, and remind us how to relax.