Happy New Year! And welcome to the E.U, Bulgaria!

For a variety of reasons, there was a gi-normous party out on the streets of Sofia on New Year’s Eve. Firstly, New Year’s is THE holiday here. Since there was no Christmas during the 50 years of Communism, the big celebration around here was New Year’s (it was also when people surreptitiously celebrated Christmas—sneaky little devils!!) Secondly, well….it was New Year’s….and isn’t that just reason enough??? And finally, Bulgaria and Romania officially joined the European Union on January 1st. This was HUGE for them here (to be discussed in another post, though).

So what did we do?

Well, at around 10:00pm, we headed to a restaurant/club to meet up with some American and Bulgarian friends. I must admit that I was a bit nervous. It seriously sounded like a war zone outside. People had firecrackers and small explosive devices that they were just shooting in the air. And you physicists know that what goes up must come down! And to scare us a bit more, while we were walking, someone threw a firecracker out the window and the girl walking a few feet in front of us had to dance around it. All around us, it sounded like bombs were exploding!!

Here’s a picture of the restaurant we went to:


Lucky for us, this place was just a few blocks from the raging street party. We hung out there for a while, then bundled up and headed outside for the celebration. There was a stage with people performing and making speeches.


The president pre-recorded a message that was played via video. Small problem, though, the sound didn’t work for the whole first half of the speech. Then we he could finally be heard, a lot of people were booing. I guess politics are the same the world over. (Anyways….what was he doing that he couldn’t make a live speech in the capital city of his country on the eve of such an historic event??????)

Then there was the countdown, and then……this!!!

Fireworks, balloons, torches, green lasers, all shooting out of the old Communist Party headquarters (ironic, no?). So much so, that at one point, we could not even see the fireworks because the sky was too smoky. They were so close that the debris fell on our heads. There was loud music, singing, screaming, and kissing (I know, soooooo gross!!) The mood was infectious, truly!

Once the excitement died down, we returned to the restaurant and hung out with our friends some more. Then we headed to a place where we could play pool. Have I told you how horrible I am at this game? I know, you would think someone who LOVES math would do well with a game that is all about angles. But…I can’t explain it….I really am terrible at it. No matter. I played anyways.

When we finally made it home, at 4:30 in the morning, we had sore throats and no voices. And we were starving!!!!!! So I made some eggs and tortillas and we ate them with our salsa brought from home. See? I told you that food would come in handy 😉