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11 Signs You Were Born and Raised in Sofia

by Anna Pelova Aug 29, 2015

You call yourself korenyak sofianets with great pride.

Even someone who has lived in Sofia for half their life must not call himself a Sofianite. This is a privilege only for those who have cried here as newborns. The longer your pure bloodline goes back in Sofia, the more superior you deserve to feel. Ancestral Sofianites are scarce and have unlimited bragging rights for life within Bulgarian culture.

You can’t stand other dialects and you can’t help but correct them.

It is not nie, it is pronounced ne [nɛ]. The same applies to dobrie, dovizhdanie and obicham tie. Every time people from the country stress the last verb syllable it sounds like nails scratching a blackboard next to your ear. And please don’t say “Отидо́х на Софията!” You somewhat hypocritically feel that the pure Bulgarian language is endangered and should be saved, while it is not important if you mix English words in your speech like “това е малко disappointing.”

You adore Christmas just because all non-Sofianites go back to their home towns.

The best thing about Christmas and New Year’s Eve is not that you get to spend time with your family, exchange presents and have a feast. No. You appreciate the winter holidays mainly because you and your city are finally left alone. Every 1st of January, you take a walk on the empty streets, fill your lungs with the chilling post-firework air and wish you had a very specific superpower — to close the roads that lead to Sofia before the crowds come back.

You believe Sofia residency should be returned.

You think that the only good thing about pre-communist and communist times was that out-of-towners had to obtain permission and residency to live in the capital. New settlement in Sofia used to be prohibited with an ordinance from 1942 to 1990. Social media initiatives to return this practice already exist and you are almost tempted to join one. The fact that this is unconstitutional is just a tiny detail to you.

You know too many Pernik jokes.

You love to joke with the Bulgarian version of Chuck Norris, the Pernik resident. Those living in the nearby small town have the stereotype image in these jokes as tough people who like to fight. They have a Volkswagen Golf, track suit, thick gold chain around their neck and an inability to say “L”. Pernichani’s favorite snack is Vinkel waffle (V-shaped steel). When the man throws his slipper and his wife returns with rakiya and salad, you know that this is called pernishki boomerang. It is only in Pernik where Chuck Norris walks with security guards.

Many people from the countryside think you are arrogant and smug.

And they are probably right. You often hear your country friends say how dirty, dull and overwhelming Sofia is and it makes you question them, “Why are you here then? There is no space for all Bulgarians in the capital.” You walk around Studentski Grad, shaking (or nodding) your head as you once again note how intruders have completely taken over the area. But some days you want to just let them have it – it has too many chalga clubs and broken sidewalks anyway.

…but those villagers are selyani and will never understand your lifestyle anyway.

There are only two types of Bulgarians for you: Sofianites and seliyani. It doesn’t matter if there are 256 other cities, they are still villages compared to the great Bulgarian capital.

You are immune to the broken sidewalks.

Your legs skillfully jump uneven surfaces and floating tiles that splash you when it rains and pole leftovers that aren’t removed. Your foreign friends always trip and wonder how the hell you can walk so smoothly in this city. But you know Sofia has bigger problems like asshole-drivers who park their cars on the sidewalks, making it impossible for mothers with strollers to pass. Wheelchair users are forced to stay indoors because of these cars, the high curbs and the horrible pedestrian infrastructure.

If you live in the city centre, all neighborhoods outside yours are na mainata si.

You have a meeting in Levski G district you cannot postpone. As your fingers Google “how the hell do I get there,” you open Sofia’s map, roll your eyes, sigh and decide to call a cab. The taxi driver is glad because it costs you a fortune, but you are too grumpy to leave a tip. As you get out, you start cursing the person who dragged you to this far away place and question your relationship. Ovcha Kupel, Orlandovtsi, Bukston and pretty much everything outside the inner central circle sounds like another city where you can get lost.

Vitoshka street’s vanity allures you.

It is enticing to drink elderberry juice while reading a book at Greenwich bookshop, to dine at Raffy Bar, window shop at the ridiculously expensive boutiques or to just take an evening walk to enjoy the beauty and international buzz of Sofia’s most commercial street. You can’t resist this area’s charm and you always find yourself coming back.

You enjoy the weekend getaways to Vitosha Mountain.

Your ideal weekend plans would include hiking from Bistrica or taking a lift from Dragalevtsi. You most likely have a view to the mountain from where you live or work, look at it every day and make a note to yourself, “I should go there more often.” Yet you don’t.

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