Saturday, May 16, 2009

Arts and Crafts Fair at the American Embassy

Today we went to the annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the parking lot of the American Embassy. The fair is organized by the Community Liaison Office of the American Embassy in Bulgaria. The Embassy isn’t far from where we live – a 15 min walk - uphill. We could tell we were in the right place when we saw the striped tent tops and heard a lot of English being spoken.

Inside, there were two areas set up with goods – the first, where we came in, was more of the “garage sale” variety – used clothes, children’s toys etc. Proceeds were going to a charity for children. There wasn’t anything here that actually interested us.


On the other side, there were tables of arts and crafts of local Bulgarian artists. There were tables showing local pottery- both traditional and modern. Another table sold embroidered cloths, while still another table showed off beautiful lacquered boxes and “Babushka” dolls. There were a couple of artists showing their paintings and photography. There was also a table with scented natural soaps and candles – I bought a bar of sandalwood peeling soap.

In addition, there was a table for donations to the local Bulgarian Society for Animal Protection. Ellis has been saying that he wants to “rent” a dog for the day during the weekend, so that he could take the dog for a walk in the park like all the locals, but give it back at the end of the day – we’re in no position to actually get a dog here. SO – after talking to the people at this table, he found out that he can sign up as a volunteer, and, when he’s available, come take out a dog from the pound for a walk, as they need human contact!

But, being “Ex-pats” here in Bulgaria, the table that ended up getting some of our money, was the one with the imported foods that you can’t get here in Bulgaria. Although a lot of the food offered (and in their shop, which we checked out on their website) caters to the British in Sofia, we were still happy to indulge in real Maple syrup, some pancake mix (too lazy to prepare from scratch!), Paul Newman’s Ranch salad dressing and some cheddar cheese.


After wandering around and making our purchases, we decided to partake of the American style BBQ that was being prepared by the Marines – hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, brownies for dessert and, of course, beer! The price was right, the food was good, and it was fun.

We saw a few people that we know, and sat at a table with a nice young family –she’s British, he’s Italian, they have 3 kids and have also lived in the States. They’ve been here for almost four years and are going back to the States soon. There are people here from all over, and you never know who you’re going to meet. They gave us a couple tips on where we might be able to meet more people, and learn more about Sofia, which is another advantage to talking to new people –you never know where it will lead to!


So, we’ve been to the Israeli Embassy for a piece of Israel here in Sofia, and today, we took advantage of our American roots to enjoy a bit of “Americana” in Bulgaria. All in all, an enjoyable time!

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