Conquering Countless Admirers, Having a Friend for 72 Years that You Never Met, Flying Solo to the USA at 86, and the Importance of Daily Routines: the Incredible Journey of 98-year-old Mara Bozhilova-Popova ’38
February 1, 2017 by American College of Sofia
…Why I wanted to get to Sofia so badly, I don’t recall anymore, but it wasn’t on one of the designated days when it was allowed, yet I was determined to go. At the College gate there was a guard in uniform, so I had to leave from somewhere else to avoid being caught; I had chosen the fence at the back. I had to do it outside lunch hours, too, so that most students would be in class. So I arranged with a friend of mine to skip foreign language class – she studied German and I French – and to meet at the chosen spot by the fence a little after 3 o’clock. How would I jump over the fence? She would help me up. I jumped over and picked up my bag.
December 21, 2016 by American College of Sofia
Nelly: I think that the one thing I truly dislike in the school system in general is that the focus has shifted from learning to memorizing, from creating something meaningful to writing just enough to get a 6. Our brains are filled with rubrics that we have to follow and the whole purpose of thinking is lost.
Nia: […]Happiness is when I do the things that I love and want to do. That’s my goal in life.
December 21, 2016 by American College of Sofia
While I was teaching at ACS I used my Trabant to explore all over the place, and even drove it out to the Black Sea a couple of times.
I haven’t been back in Bulgaria since 1999, so it’s been seeing 17 years of change all at once. The campus is the same, people are the same, but the world around us has changed…
The other day I walked about 25 kilometers all over Sofia, I just couldn’t stop. It has been fun taking the metro around, too. I can still remember how to get around, and I have been to Slaveykov Square, Vitosha Boulevard, different museums (that I rarely visited when I lived here), and the Zhenski Pazar.
September 28, 2016 by American College of Sofia
September 20, 2016 by American College of Sofia
After losing touch with each other during the war, best friends Hilda, Hristina, Veska and Ceca found one another again 50 years later, when Hilda’s blast-from-the-past phone call almost gave Hristina a heart attack. Those ladies have now known each other for nearly 70 years, and in Hilda and Hristina’s case – 76 years! It is kind of incredible that spending just a couple of years together, here at ACS, they managed to grow so fond of each other. Or as Hristina’s husband had jokingly put it: “This American College of yours! I really don’t understand how you can talk for more than 50 years about something that only lasted less than 5!”
September 9, 2016 by American College of Sofia
I recall how I once stood on Vasil Levski Blvd. chatting with my direct manager at the Labor-Union Council. A woman I was acquainted with passed by and the two of us greeted each other and exchanged a few sentences. When she went her way, my boss asked me: “How do you know her?” “From my days at the College,” I replied, and he exclaimed, “But why didn’t you mention the College in your application then?” “Well, I did write that I graduated from a Foreign Language High-School, which is what I did.” “How smart of you!” he said.
August 30, 2016 by American College of Sofia
There was a member of the Communist Party responsible for overseeing our neighborhood. His name was Mircho and he made sure I got expelled from the university in February 1949. Looking back, I see he was not all evil – for instance, he didn’t go all the way and kick us out of our home and city, which was our worst nightmare. It happened to relatives of ours.
As an expelled student, I was not allowed to stay unemployed, so I got a job as a construction worker at the high voltage plant site near Iliyantsi. I used to take the tram to a point and then walk to the construction site. On my way, I used to recite aloud two soliloquies: from Hamlet “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I…,” learned in rhetorics class with Dr. Floyd Black as coach, and from Le Cid by Corneille “Percé jusques le fond du coeur d’une atteinte imprévue…,” learned in Mr. Berlan’s French class.
August 2, 2016 by American College of Sofia
August 1, 2016 by American College of Sofia
By learning enough and diving deep enough, you can maintain your interest in any subject area and this is most easily inspired by people who share their knowledge and experience with enthusiasm and who are truly devoted to what they do. Almost always they have the clear sense that they are doing this in order to serve others and this is what makes their lives meaningful.