Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering the fall: Maria Vassileva, Cambridge, USA

This week we are remembering the fall. If you would like to share a story, please send me an email at petya.kirilova [at] gmail [dot] com. Life in the Trenches will be back next Wednesday.

I am twenty months old in that picture, and this is my dad holding a sign that says "Nov. 11, 1989, The next, please!"; my mom is probably behind the camera. We're all in a little rented apartment in either Mladost-3 or Druzhba-2.

I am twenty-one now, and it's really embarrassing how little I know about everything that happened before I was born, and then before I learned to read and remember. I know I should work on getting my questions answered. I could address them to the library next door instead of my parents, since my parents always change the topic. (One upside of going to school so far away from them is that I don't have to see how they ignore this anniversary that is none.)

A few days ago, on the 9th, I was talking to a friend from Estonia about the power outages that seemed like so much fun when we were five or six years old. And about the times when there was no hot water, or no water, period. (But that's the mid-nineties already, and those anniversaries are yet to come.) We were waiting for our friends - one Czech, one German - with whom we wanted to grab a beer and celebrate the fall of the Berlin wall. The plan fell through because we all had
too much work to do, but it still felt nice and festive, and important to all of us. It didn't occur to me to celebrate the next day, except to upload this picture and scratch my head a little.

Writing this, I'm tempted to veer off and talk about all the things that gnaw at me in Cambridge, MA, because I miss Mladost-4, but dread going back in December when it will be at its darkest and dirtiest. So I'll just end here - look, cute baby picture! Babies are so happily oblivious. And my dad had to go and ruin it all.

Maria Vassileva, Cambridge, MA.


  1. I miss "Mladost," too. It may be dirty and dreary but it will always belong to me.

  2. Alex:
    I noticed you spoke fondly of Mladost yesterday and now after Maria brought it up... I just have to ask you: What EXACTLY do you guys miss about it?! I am not being snarky, I am just really curious!!!

    Kyle loves Bulgarian public spaces: the playgrounds between the big apartment buildings, the parks, the major bus stations... where people wait, play, eat, hang out. He says Bulgarians are very relaxed and not-self-conscious in those spaces and he really likes that. While we were in Sofia, he would go on little photo trips almost every day and take tons of pictures of just... being.

    Say more please!

  3. I miss the dogs chasing me all the way to the bus stop, I miss the 76 bus, all the rust and all the plastic bags floating around. And oops, I wrote Nov 11 in the post, even though we're obviously not celebrating Veteran's day. Someone here needs coffee.