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Collecting The Post

Every week I visit the village post office to check for mail from various sources. Most times I am lucky to go within the opening hours and collect various packages, but today I timed it wrong and went during a lunch break.


There was however, a man and woman waiting there so I thought that maybe it would be opening again soon.

So practising my language skills I asked them when it was likely to open again, but instead they were both curious and preferred to bombard me with questions, in particular the woman. I vaguely knew her because my neighbour had pointed her out a few times in reference to her being the old owner of my house, but lived in another part of the village now. Her questions were nonstop, and many I struggled to understand, but some I grasped - my age, how long I had lived here and where in England I was from. Then, I believe she told me stories about her own family, basically anything other than that of the whereabouts of the post office lady.

The man in the meantime began to hand out chocolates to us, informing us that today was his birthday and he was 82 years old. Gratefully I thanked him and wished him ‘Happy Birthday' or (Chastite Roshdenden), and thought how nice it was that people you don't know too well can be very giving. The tradition here is for those who have a birthday to give out chocolates to family and friends to celebrate. Then the man left us to it!

Sitting, waiting patiently I asked the lady about the opening times of the following few days as I was expecting some reading material. I knew that there were the celebrations for the Bulgarian Independence day on 22 September, which obviously means a day off work and school for majority of the country. She did not appear to know, but guessed it would be closed for the holiday and offered to exchange phone numbers to inform me. Gratefully I thanked her but thought I would struggle more with the language over the phone, so instead told her I had work to do at home and would visit again later that afternoon.

It is strange how cultures clash, and simply trying to collect post can take about an hour instead of a delivery to the door!

Furthermore it enables you to practise some language skills, celebrate a birthday and meet new friends.

I had to return later and it was open this time, to collect the post and also find out what the next few days opening hours were.