If you've followed this blog at all, you know I enjoy living in Bulgaria and that I feel forever indebted to the people here who have made my life in Bulgaria so interesting and enjoyable. One thing, however, which I've yet to come to terms with are all the long faces I encounter day in and day out. I wrote about these sad faces almost a year ago to the day, and most of what I wrote then is still true today. I do see more smiles now but most of them come from my students, many of whom I'm quite certain are smiling only because they think I'm crazy.
To the untrained eye, far too many Bulgarians appear to be in a perpetual state of misery. And as someone who enjoys living here, I just don't understand all the gloom and doom. There are far "worse" places to live. Indeed, not too long ago, after a brief trip to Germany for Oktoberfest, I wrote about some of the differences between Bulgaria and Germany. My blog entry generated a response with a question I’ve been mulling and losing sleep over ever since I read it. Broken down to its simplest form, the question is rather straightforward: how could you possibly prefer life in Bulgaria over life in Germany?
At some point I’ll try to answer that question. In the meantime, I’d like an answer to this question: Why is Bulgaria, relative to its income per person, the saddest place in the world?