One by one we all returned from our Christmas holidays and resumed life in Shipka. January was a month of new energy and motivation, as 2020 had given way to 2021. Unfortunately, though, it was also a month of goodbyes.
The month started with one of us leaving the team: Cécile. We had a nice last evening together (unfortunately Hugo was missing, being stuck in the snowy chaos of Madrid…), with some traditional Bulgarian good health and fortune wishes using the beautiful ‘survacki’ that we made in December.
We will miss Cécile and her creative personality, her many workshops (bread, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, embroidery, toothpaste, …), her inspiring motivation, her unique art and stunning photography. We wish her all the best, and will try to keep the art alive in this household!
As there were not many events or activities outside the house this month, we were stuck behind our laptop screens some days. We worked on projects like translating sustainability articles from our website to Bulgarian and turning them into videos for both English and Bulgarian audiences.
Besides this, we made our regular visits to the Golden Apple school. The last week of January was especially important for them because some of the kids had their first exams of second grade. Maya prepared them very well for the music exam: the teacher was happy!
A more active job of this month was the construction of the fourth compost area in the village. After winning a war against metres and metres of ivy and clearing the area, we assembled the prepared pallets and hammered them together.
Last but not least, Petr gave us an interesting lesson about his passion: bugs. He explained to us the difference between insects and bugs (synonym for beetles) and made us familiar with some of the most common and rarest species around us.
This month we were able to enjoy some days of contrasting but wonderful weather. One day we were working outside without coats and Maya spotted the first snowdrops in our garden, feeling like spring had come early, and another day we woke up to 50 cm of snow on the doorstep and were shivering inside, sitting around the fire to keep warm.
Later this month, we paid a visit to Buzludza monument, the communist monument from 1981 only a 20-minute drive away from us. We watched as the sun disappeared below the snowy mountain tops, colouring the sky orange, pink and purple. Magical.
As the month started, so did it end: with a farewell party. This time, the party was for our Czech volunteer Petr, who stayed with us for five months. His project, too, has come to an end.
We will miss him and his great knowledge and love of bugs, his Czech humour (‘wunderbar!’), his adventurous spirit, his love of nature and working outside (cutting our wood), his very original (weird) pet names for dogs and cats and, finally, one of his favourite phrases, very relevant today and a good way to end the update: ‘I’ll go now. Ciao!’.