Saturday, June 25, 2016

Georgi Alexiev

My Father and Mother in law

Throughout my life there have been many people I have looked up to.  There was something about them that I wanted to have in my life.  Over the years the number of such people has shrunk significantly either because I achieved the attribute in the person I looked up to or (as was more often the case) because they turned out to not be as amazing as I once believed.  My father in law was a person I looked up to until the day he died; a day that sadly was today.

Georgi Alexiev was born in 1949 to Boris and Stefka.  He was born 4 years after communism was forced upon his home country of Bulgaria.  He never liked it, and he was happy when it ended.  He would often tell me how much he admired Ronald Reagan for helping to end communism and restore freedom.  He loved his country and was a true patriot.  One day as I was driving with him over the mountains I mentioned how beautiful Bulgaria is.  He responded by telling me that it is a piece of heaven.

Georgi was a hard-working man who contributed much to society.  He was an engineer who helped developed many infrastructure improvements in Bulgaria.  My favorite is the Yastrebets lift that carries passengers from Borovets resort to the Yastrebets peak on Mount Rila several thousand feet up.  Every time I ride it I think of him.

He worked hard and in sometimes dangerous conditions.  This allowed him to retire early, but it did not keep him from working.  He continued to have side jobs working on other projects in and around his home town of Kosenets where he was loved by everyone.  He was not one to just sit around and do nothing.

Yet for all his accomplishments, the one he was most proud of was his family.  When he passed away late this morning he did so surrounded by pictures of his 4 grandchildren in the house his grandfather built and in the room where his father died.  Family was very important to Georgi.  He loved his wife Maria, and two daughters Stefka and Sasha dearly.  It is my hope that I can be as loving of a husband and father to Sasha and my daughters as he was a father and a grandfather to them.

The young Alexievi family:  Maria, Sasha, Stefka, and Georgi

He was a great man, and I can’t think of the best words to send him off, so I will borrow from Rich Mullins:

“This life has shown me how we’re mended and how we’re torn
How it’s ok to be lonely as long as you’re free
Sometimes my ground was stony
And sometimes covered up with thorns
And only you can make it what it had to be
And now that it’s done . . .
When I leave I want to go out like Elijah
With a whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire
And when I look back on the stars
It’ll be like a candle light in central park
And it won’t break my heart to say 

Сбогом тъст ми.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


The Nessebar land bridge leading to the Old Town
Last weekend Sasha and I left the kids with some friends in Sofia and took a trip to the Black Sea in celebration of 15 years of marriage.  We went to our favorite Black Sea city, Nessebar.  There we enjoyed hours of long walks on the golden beaches thinking back on the decade and a half of marriage we have both enjoyed, as well as engaged in a healthy bit of tourism in town.

Nessebar is a pretty cool place.  Being on the Black Sea makes anything better, but in the case of Nessebar, that's just the icing on the cake.  The Old Town part of the city is located on a peninsula that used to be an island.  (A man made land bridge now connects it to the mainland.)

Old Town was originally a Greek village.  Later it became Roman and then Byzantium and then Bulgarian and then Ottoman and then back to Bulgarian again.  Throughout its long history, it has remained quite a remarkable city.  It is a small island, but it is covered with ancient sites and churches.

Yet despite being a historian's paradise, it is also a vibrant tourist town full of shops, restaurants, and all kinds of aquatic activities.  It is also the year round home to many people.  (Not to mention cats.)

History, swimming, boating, and all around fun; Bulgaria's coast is a great place for an inexpensive and relaxing vacation, and we happen to live less than 4 hours away!  Yet another reason I love living in Bulgaria.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

End of the School Year

At the beginning of the school year I took a position teaching Bible at the school where my girls attend.  I have enjoyed 9 months of teaching some wonderful kids from around the world.  They are all very smart and did an amazing job handling some deep concepts including bibliology, soteriology, pneumatology, anthropology, christology, and theology proper.  (Although I did not use these terms with them.  They are grade schoolers after all.)

For most of the students, this was their first year in Bulgaria, so as they were going through culture shock and language learning they also had to deal with me.  Yet they all did exceedingly well.

Today, I gave them their final test.  They are a great group of kids and I hope they all have a wonderful summer.  They enjoy it after all the hard work they put in.

I will miss teaching them.