Mixed or Intermixed
The author of this article for the "International Survey: Bulgaria-Italy" of Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) requested to remain anonymous.
These lines are written by a Bulgarian woman who wants to share her experience from her first confrontation with Italian people in general and their irresistible charm resulting from the way they convey their national identity to other people.
Italians are usually proud of their origin and with that same pride they convey the peculiarities of their culture and scale of values to the nationals of other countries the moment they find themselves there.
This is their natural behavior, without a hidden agenda and goals set to achieve, a natural process of magic dazzling and affiliation, which happens always where Italians are. I had the opportunity to see for myself what I am writing about thanks to my lucky star that shined above my life in 1997 when I met 'my' Italian - not in terms of a personal belonging but in terms of my marriage partner.
Today, he is 42 years old and is still cheerful, smiling, energetic, emotional, and full of hope and many ideas, like when we met 14 years ago. Namely this charm fascinated me. We met on a nice April day, soon after Easter and several months later, this same Italian completely melted into the Bulgarian reality.
I could say that this is a common quality of the Italians – to feel good everywhere – thanks to their enthusiasm and positive charge, they change the reality and the people they meet.
They are never indifferent to the existence and the fate of others, and are always open to the world around them. Thus, my better half and soul mate made the difficult decision to come and live in Bulgaria. Commendable, especially when the gesture was made by someone who was leaving a beautiful, sunny, spacious and impregnated with ancient culture land like Sardinia.
The comparison with the then dark, dirty and sad Sofia surprised not only the people who knew him but could amaze also the majority of the Bulgarian people who at that time were striving to emigrate and find a better life in West European countries like Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
He certainly wasn't the only one who believed in my country and decided to build a career here, but he is one of the few who persistently and patiently are pursuing their dreams. Yes, this is true Italians are dreamers exactly like how the world imagines them. Inspired by their dreams they achieve and conquer, step by step, day after day.
My general impression of Italians is that they are open-minded, with free attitude, good hearted, sociable and very optimistic. And maybe this is the reason why Italians are approvingly looked on in Bulgaria.
And the most important for me representative of the Italian charm says: 'the name of the game is never to give in' and so far he has not.
Our story began with three-year-long correspondence. My Italian language teacher happened to give me seven letters of Italians who wished to correspond with people in Bulgaria. My future husband's letter did not necessarily aim at writing with a girl.
The only request to the correspondent – be it a man, woman, girl, boy or some senior citizen – was to send phone cards from Bulgaria! He collected them at that time, while I had no idea what that was. Or more precisely, those phones which worked with phone cards were found only at certain places in Sofia, like the airport, some hotels and the Telephone Palace.
Nevertheless, the connection was established and we started exchanging letters. He didn't get any phone cards and I didn't imagine that I have chosen my future husband's letter. We met in person in 1997 exactly because of this three-year-long unprofitable and untargeted communication. A year later he moved to Sofia and enrolled in the Institute of Foreign Students.
He showed an unusual perseverance in mastering, I would say, a very difficult language like the Bulgarian, because he knew that to become part of the daily life of a country, could happen only if one understood and spoke the language of the people living there. In the following year we married and had both civic and church wedding, and studied at Sofia University.
He started his own business, which allowed him to have a career and since two years and a half we have been happy to be parents. During all these years, he accepted with patience the right-minded way of thinking and attitude of his wife. He faced the Bulgarian suspicion, impatience and intolerance that prevailed during those years of transition our country was experiencing. He was amazed at seeing the average Bulgarians driving their cars and breaking the traffic rules, the insolent passes, sudden turns and crossing streets at forbidden places.
He was amazed also at many other things that are already in the past, as Bulgaria has improved significantly since then. People started opening their minds and souls to the world. Some of them returned from abroad, transferring the experience accumulated in the advanced countries.
And my experience from the contact with the 'different' that I gained in a mixed family environment, following a man who had never been brainwashed by a destructive ideology, which left to the individual few options of expression and most importantly – where the concept of the spiritual did not exist.
He came from Italy – patient, responsive, kind, with respect for other people. He was always trying to help because he knew and knows the meaning of the word 'fellow-man'. He taught me that too. Bulgaria gained another national and resident and the Catholic church – another lay brother. So, that is how our story of the mixed and intermixed began ... in our world intertwined the straightforward and varied the atheistic and the religious.
That was the Italian charm I wanted to tell you about.
P.S. I forgot to share with the reader also the disappointments: 'my' Italian doesn't drink coffee and rarely eats pasta Italiana. Maybe this is the reason why he feels so well in Bulgara. He eats Bulgarian fruits and vegetables, but sometimes he misses the sea and sea-food.
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