Are you a bilingual? I am bilingual. I speak both Bulgarian and English. Which language do you speak primarily at home? English or Bulgarian? The language I primarily speak at home would be English because once we all come home from either school or work we’ve just been so caught up in our English world we forget to speak in our native tongue. My parents really try to keep us speaking it.
Polina (Lora's mother), why do you think cultural awareness is important? We live on one tiny planet, Earth, in the whole universe. Us, "so-called", humans are unique creatures with beautiful languages, ancient traditions, strange customs , and cultures. There is so much to see and if we open our eyes we could learn so much from one another. We could enjoy our differences and feel appreciated when we share our beliefs and stories. Why deny others or demand that only our way is right for all.
Have you found a community here on the island? By my definition of community, I would have to say yes. The Island has everything I want right now. It’s very safe, has great schools and all my friends. Even the small things like your neighbors giving you cookies on Christmas can make your home feel even more special.
Do you have a multinational group of friends? If, “yes”, then from what different counties are your friends from? Yes, I have found a group of multicultural friends. In fact all of my friends come from different countries. Kayla is Mexican, Alana is Jewish, Isabelle is Brazilian, Sydney is Polish, Katherine is French, Faith is Cuban, and Joey is Italian.
You are currently attending Tisbury School on the island and Bulgarian School as well which is located on Cape Cod. Could you please tell us more about Bulgarian School? How many times do you travel off-island? Which subjects are you studying there? Which one is your favorite? Why did your parents decide to add additional school education? Yes, I am currently attending Tisbury school. What I learn at Bulgarian school is how to read and write better. We also study history and geography. Whenever I go to Bulgarian school it’s always on a Saturday. I think my parents added extra education because if you had a child and you spoke a different language wouldn’t you want to engage them in their native roots. It’s also great because makes you unique and that is great!
Polina, why do you think it is important for your children to know the language and history of their Bulgarian roots? I believe in knowledge. Whether my children learn Bulgarian, Spanish or any language, they would only benefit from it. It is also important to know and understand your roots and cultural differences, to be able to communicate with your relatives. Bulgaria is a country with many traditions and incredible history. The First Bulgarian Kingdom was found 681bc.
Would you tell us more about your traditional costume? Why is a rose part of it? How did this costume end up in your house? My grandmother and my great grandmother were part of a music ensemble in their home town. Often I would join them in the performance of folklore songs and traditional dance “horo” and “ruchenitsa”. This is where I have my costume from, although different regions of Bulgaria have different “nosii”. Bulgaria is famous for the Rose valley and for its rose-growing industry which have been cultivated there for centuries, and which produces 85% of the world's rose oil.
Does your family celebrate any traditional Bulgarian holidays? My favorite upcoming custom is March 1 (baba Marta). A Martenitsa is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and usually in the form of two dolls, a male and a female, (Pijo and Penda) Martenitsi are worn from Baba Marta Day (March 1) until the wearer first sees a stork, swallow, or blossoming tree (or until late March). The name of the holiday means "Grandma March" in Bulgarian and the holiday and the wearing of Martenitsi are a Bulgarian tradition related to welcoming the spring, which according to Bulgarian folklore begins in March. We also have name days, which originally started as religious holidays celebrating and honoring saints. I love an opportunity to talk about and describe the way we celebrate them nowadays. Christmas Eve has a special place in my heart, and brings nostalgia for the past and times with my family. I prepare an odd number, (for good luck), of vegan meals such as stuffed cabbage leafs, bean and potato salads, oshaf, a boiled dry fruit compote, roasted peppers salad, tikvenik a phyllo dough with pumpkin, walnuts and cinnamon, and home-made bread with a hidden “silver” coin. when we sit at the table the oldest member of the family turns the bread three times and gives a piece to each one of us, and someone gets the coin. We also leave one peice aside for the prosperity of the home. At the end of the dinner we leave the table set with all the food on it, so if Mary comes down with her son, she should feel welcome to try our food.
Do you think there should be a day to celebrate the International Day of Tolerance on November 16t h in schools on Martha’s Vineyard? Yes
International Day for Tolerance is celebrated on November 16th. The United Nations is committed to strengthening tolerance by fostering mutual understanding among cultures and peoples. This imperative lies at the core of the United Nations Charter, as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is more important than ever in this era of rising and violent extremism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life.
"The United Nations promotes tolerance as a matter of its fundamental identity. When tolerance is upheld, we encourage the world to emulate those fine examples. When tolerance is threatened, we must speak out." — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
Tolerance is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.