Historical Bulgarian Of The Week - Hristo Stoichkov:

If you are wondering why out of thousands of years of history that this country and this land has to its credit why I choose to write this weeks blog on a footballer then you have never been to Europe.

Football, or soccer to our American readers, is the biggest game in the world and if you live in any country other than America you are surrounded by it daily. In my case I think I talk more football than politics with Bulgarians. For that reason, here is one of Bulgarias most famous and historical figures, Hristo Stoitchkov.Hristo Stoitchkov ("Христо Стоичков Стоичков" in Bulgarian), also known as "Itso", was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in February of 1966 where he "was born with a ball between his feet." His father played goalie for a local team by the name of Maritsa, Hristo would play Forward during his entire professional career.

Stoitchkovs love for football (футбол) like most Europeans, began at a very young age when he was ball boy for his fathers team. By 1977, at the young age of 10 he began playing for the same team as his father! Shortly thereafter he attracted CSKA, one of Bulgarias best teams, where he played from 1986-1989.In his first full season they won the Championship Cup of Bulgaria. In 1989 he won the Golden Boot for Top Goal Scorer in Bulgaria with 23 goals, helping CSKA reached the semifinals of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (also known as the European Cup Winners' Cup).

In their semifinal game they lost to Barcelona, however, Barcelona Coach Johan Cruyff was signed Hristo to a five-year contract worth $4.5 million!From 1990 until 1994, Stoitchkov scored over 100 goals for Barcelona helping them win the Championship of the Primera Division in everyone of those four years. In international competitions he was playing for the Bulgarian National Team where they qualified for their first World Cup!

In 1994, Parma from Italy paid $15 million for his rights from Barcelona. He played for them for only one year. I was unable, despite intense research, to find out why so if anyone knows I would love to hear why. Returning in 1997 to Barcelona they won many titles; the Spanish Championship, Spanish Super Cup, Spanish King's Cup and the European Cup.
Five times he was voted Bulgarian Football Player of the Year, and from all accounts he became a national hero! The big awards were in 1992 and 1994 where he won the Golden Ball for "Best Football Player in Europe" once, the Golden Onze for "Best Football Player in the World" once, finishing second another time and FIFA awarded him the Silver Globe for the "Second Best Football Player in the World" in 1992 and 1994.
Stoitchkov, like many Bulgarians, moved to Chicago to join the Major League Soccer team the Chicago Fire in 2000. He has helped the Fire win the MLS Cup Finals and to a two US Open Cup title in three years being named to Soccer America's Team of the Week 6 times!All this while only standing 1.78 meters (5'9" for our American readers) and weighing in at 165 lbs. I think, however, Hristo, despite all his success would have meet his match had he faced the PCV team that assembled in Chirpan recently named in Bulgarian "I AM MAN":

"Soccer is simple…. Your movement on the field is important, and you have to have the right mentality, fighting in every game, in every practice, for every ball." - Hristo Stoichkov.-Kashkaval Pane

For more information you can go to Hristo Stoichkovs Official Web-site LOCATED HERE
For highlight video of Hristo CLICK HERE

Posted byPavel at 8:11 PM 2 comments Links to this post  

Rocky Heart Your Ultimate Fighting Bulgarian Food/Drink Critic Pacifist: “singing Bye Bye Bulgarian Mandarin”


This post was going to be about a different food until I got some very sad news Monday, but before I deliver that lets back up a bit. Think about your favorite fruit and then think about your next favorite fruit. Well my second favorite fruit is the Mandarin orange.

When I was younger, I always looked forward to going to the grocery store to get the latest, most freshest can of mandarin oranges in syrup. (It was North Dakota and although the cold climate is what made this man into a warrior, it is still not conducive to growing citrus). I would devour them, unless of course it was the off brand (flavorite, our family, etc.) because they did not taste well umm….good.

In fact, I just always assumed that mandarin oranges came in a can that was until I arrived in Bulgaria. I do not recall when I had my first one, but I would say it was sometime around November. Then weekly, I would buy a bag full of these little guys and enjoy them to no end. As the weeks turned in to months and winter started to give way too spring, one by one my normal fruit stands stopped having mandarins. So this drove me to go look at other fruit stands.

After the mid point in March I had become resigned to the fact that all the mandarins had simply disappeared. That was until, I found a gem of a fruit stand that still had them. Elated was the only to describe how I felt. But on Monday this elation gave way too despair as my new found fruit stand friend informed me, after I informed him that he was the only game in town that still had this delightful fruits from heaven, that I was picking from his last box of the season. Sad was me when I heard this news. He then quickly told me that since April that I was the only one that was still buying them.

In fact, I should have seen this coming, but I put on the blinders because I did not want to believe it. The signs were there. Everyday the box would lose two more mandarins without two more mandarins being add, the bright orange color was getting distorted,

and the taste, as much as I tried to fighting it was slowly starting to not be good. Much like the end of a relationship sometimes you just want to turn a blind eye to the writing that is on the wall and believe that there will always be a mandarin to great you everyday, but that is not reality.

Writing this post was more of a way for me to come to terms with what will be a difficult break up. Although the ultimate fighter in me though wants to round house kick all the lesser fruits in the face right now. Such is grief.

Peace and Love

Rocky Heart
Your Ultimate Fighting Bulgarian Food/Drink Critic Pacifist

Posted byKellen Utecht at 4:26 PM 1 comments Links to this post  

pop! of the week: artmospheric

Artmospheric not only kicks ass at web design, but also seems to have a completely awesome program of minimal electronic music, outdoor art, workshops, yoga, drum circles and more all located in the beautiful Bulgarian countryside. (The countryside, by the way, is absolutely popping green and beautiful right about now) 

Check it out!

Thanks Barb!

Posted byshizzaun at 11:40 PM 0 comments Links to this post