1. Detect the smell of mekitsi and lipov chai from 100 kilometers away.

It’s 8 am and I clumsily get out from under the 2 rodopski blankets, na selo of course, beckoned to the kitchen by the intoxicating smell of warm, fresh mekitsi with cheese and chai. Good morning, grandma!

2. Stroi se, mirno!

I could never get the ravnis command right, plus my shoelace would always come undone just in time for marsh. To be honest, I never understood how Soviet military exercises were an appropriate gym class exercises. Better go play chess inside, just don’t tell the gospoja I said that!

3. Boryano, Boryanke.

Two steps to the right, elbows up, left leg crosses right, 2 steps to the right and repeat. Easy as banitsa!

4. Fight with eggs…

…and hope not to break the rainbow-colored one!

5. Recite Botev.

О, майко моя, родино мила,
защо тъй жално, тъй милно плачеш?

6. Be extremely patriotic.

Let me tell you about Paisii’s Istoria Slavyanobulgarska, followed by John Atanasoff’s first computer, then how Bulgarian women are the prettiest, banitsa the tastiest and Musala the highest peak on the Balkans.

7. Filling up the kasichka.

I’ve enjoyed a lucrative pretend-doctor career, a Tang juice vendor gig and a ton of recognition (and 10leva) as a grape-stomper. I only wish that Razpeti Petak happened more than once a year because I go through ceramic piggy banks like crazy!

8. Duspi.

Grandpa is about to give up as I score my 9th duspa through his net. Look at me now, Berbatov!

9. Raise a healthy tamagotchi pet.

…and then be heartbroken when you forget to feed your pixelated dinosaur once and it dies!!!

10. Prep a gourmet Maggie soup.

Bag of soup + boiling water and a 6-year-old me is a bona fide chef. Time for my signature ingredient: a few buchki of melted kashkaval.

11. Convert кирилица into latinitsa.

12. Be a fearless patilanets and adopt izlets and picnics as a second nature.

13. Eat maslodaina rose.

In the form of lokum, jam or in bonbon — who said flowers were just for decoration!

14. Play dama.

15. Drink boza.

Ain’t nothing weird about a thick, soupy bottle of boza with your morning mekitsa, buhti or pirojka. Rise and shine, shampione!

16. Spend all our money on the abiturientski ball.

Who knows if I’ll ever get married or have another big life event – let’s ball out at graduation! While we’re at it, we’ve gotta make sure my custom made dress is the most expensive at the entire ball.

17. Cure nasty hangovers with shkembe chorba.

Yes, sweet pork belly, take the pain from last night’s rakiya away!

18. Throwing out our trash in the river, park, at the neighbor’s door step.

Let someone else take care of it.

19. Bargain.

I need a new car, phone, and 60 kilos of grapes to make vino. Let the barters begin!