Love Your Neighbour | ARTE

A Bulgarian by Sébastien the Belgian

And you, how do you picture a Bulgarian?

Jordi the Spaniard

I see a Bulgarian woman making dinner while she watches over her four kids. She wants everything to be ready for her husband’s return from his exhausting day of struggles at work. Her face is quiet and contented. She looks like some affectionate mother-hen with her chicks, letting her cock-husband provide for their family. Although I never was there, I imagine Bulgarian society as being closer to the 20th than the 21st century – more family-oriented, more leisurely, less conditioned by technology, speed and stress than our Western societies.

Collected in Barcelona

Sari the Finn

He is a middle-aged, rather heavyset Bulgarian. He wears a moustache and dark clothes. He has been living for generations in a stone house surrounded by cypresses and pines. He probably lives alone. He is riding across vineyards in a horsedrawn cart, going to check that his grapes are ripe and his wine is good. He has taken some bread, olive oil, cheese and a bottle of wine along with him. Bumping along the cobblestoned lane, he is smoking silently. The lanscape is greyish. There are no flowers. Only shades of brown, grey, and green.

Collected in Helsinki

Drago the Romanian

I see a Bulgarian man coming back from a day’s work of 9 or 10 hours in the fields. His face is burnt by the sun. He is sturdy but not necessarily muscular. I imagine him knocked out by harassing physical work. He sits down at the table under a vine-covered pergola waiting for his dinner to be served. His children are playing noisily around. His wife walks up to him with a salad of tomatoes and grated cheese. She pours him sweet grape liquor – tescovina. He drinks it up in one shot and starts eating.

Collected in Constanţa

Antonis the Greek

When I imagine a Bulgarian man, he is a naval architect in his forties. He inspects the unfolding of the works he supervises. He makes remarks and gives solutions. His style is tough, leaving no room for others to dispute what he says. His salary is satisfactory, but he has no time to be around his family. He is very unhappy with that, but what to do? The times are hard, just like in Greece, which is also  in the Balkans. If you don’t put your work first, you’re headed for financial and family problems.

Collected in Athens

 

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fresco - Love your neighbor

How do you picture your European neighbours?

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