Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving jokes

Since I am the only American teacher at school, I have been talking about Thanksgiving a lot lately. So much so that I almost can't wait for it to finally be over, already! But it has also reminded me how much I like this holiday. I love the food, good company, being thoughtful and thankful. This year, like last year, I'll be celebrating the holiday with other Fulbrighters in Sofia. But this time we are attending a big reception at the Deputy Chief of Mission's house, so it will be more of a formal embassy event. I have a few friends coming into town to stay with me, and we will get together with some of my other new friends in Sofia after the dinner. Every Thursday there is a cocktail party at a Spanish bar with lots of expats and Bulgarians, and we will probably head there later. Much to my own amusement, I have become a "regular" at this bar (having gone to this expat party 3 or 4 times now), to the extent that when making plans with friends they often say "I'll just see you on Thursday night, anyway." I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, though, and I usually meet some interesting people there.

Anyway, to get back to Thanksgiving, I've learned a couple of funny things from talking about the holiday with my students this week. One is that gravy, when you describe how it's made, actually sounds pretty disgusting. One girl exclaimed "Yuck! I can't believe I ate that!" although I've only ever seen it at KFC here. Another is that the Bulgarian word for turkey, or puika, has another meaning: a person who is flashy, pompous and smug (the male form would be puiak). But that doesn't account for the highly suspicious level of snickering in one of my tenth grade classes. My friend K. has a theory that they might have been substituting one letter to make it into another word, which is much nastier. And I think he might be right. Oh, teenagers... And my favorite thing that I learned is about the Bulgarian version of pumpkin pie, which is more of a flaky pastry filled with pumpkin and sugar, called tikvenik. If you call someone a tikvenik, you are calling them an idiot. Kind of like saying "you pumpkin-head!" but sounding less like a character from Peanuts.


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