Will You Be My Baba? Remote Team Adventures in Bulgaria
Post hackathon (and the fact that it was Christie’s first weekend in Bansko) called for some tourist action. Maybe even something Bulgarian. You need some background.
This is Irina.
She runs Coworking Bansko and she’s awesome. She adopted us during our meetup and now she’s our new best friend forever. Over a beer in the park one evening (I swear it was just one), after the traditional Bulgarian dance class at the local school, Irina suggested becoming Bulgarian for a few hours over the weekend.
In a small mountain town, about a 15 minute drive from Bansko, lies a beautiful village. In the village there is a house. In the house are the Entrepreneurial Babi (grannies). In their retirement, Baba Janna and Baba Elena share their stories of growing up in the not modern world. They want to pass on the traditions to the younger generations who are losing their heritage (and maybe their ability to drink copious amounts of rakia before lunch. And probably breakfast). They usually cater to a Bulgarian audience but if you have an awesome new best friend forever like Irina, then they are happy to entertain the tourist crowd. Well, they would be happy to share anyway but without a translator you might not know what was going on.
Christie looked as excited as a bug(fix) in a wormhole [surely you guys can do better than that?]. She championed the cause to the geek dudes. It was decided. Mostly because it was supposed to be raining all day and hiking was out.
So, on Sunday we squeezed the six of us into our ‘hire car’ (we’ve been here long enough that we have a transport fixer and don’t need to go through Hertz) and drove off into the sunset.
No, that didn’t happen. We drove off to a mountain village. It was late on a Sunday morning. We arrived at a house. Out of the house shuffled the Babi wearing traditional Bulgarian clothing, red slippers and big smiles. They greeted us with flowers for our hair. Right for the marrieds, left for the singles.
They took us inside. We toasted our arrival with a jug of Rakia (I’m pretty sure Baba Janna can drink us all under the table). We were led to a room with a low ceiling and a weaving loom. The walls were decked with bright red waistcoats. It didn’t take long before we were decked out in traditional garb.
Girls first - first a white underdress. Then a red overdress. Then an apron. Then a headscarf. Sweet.
Boys next. Shirts, waistcoats and hats. And guns. Basics.