Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | September 16, 2011

Lack of urgency

It’s not all seashells and balloons here (to quote, hopefully accurately, one of my favorite Milwaukee sports figures). Sometimes you have to carve out a little extra time to get things done. To wit:

1. When I’m going out to do something, I have to study some Bulgarian so I can communicate with the locals. Today I had to retrieve our debit cards from the bank. Things don’t work simply here. In the States, you open an account, apply for the cards and they mail them to you. No problem. Here, you wait a couple weeks after opening an account (an ordeal in itself), then sit in front of one lady who looks over your passport, retrieves a bulging file folder filled with papers, copies your passport number onto a line of one of those thousands of sheets of paper. You sign it. Then she does it again and you sign again. Then you get the cards. Now you are sent to another lady, who repeats the steps. Passport number. Sign. Sign. And now you’ve got the pin numbers in two other envelopes. Then they tell you: wait 4 hours and then you can use the cards. That was part 1 of my morning.

2. I needed a bike pump. I studied what I needed to say (I wanted a pump, a new helmet and an extra water bottle holder. I forgot bike chain oil, dammit.). Anyway, I get to the store, ask for some of the stuff, pantomime like a lunatic when my meager Bulgarian isn’t enough to communicate what I want. Then leave with a new floor pump and water bottle holder, but no helmet. It seems only kids have helmets here. Only one adult helmet was in the store, a very fancy Lance Armstrong model that was a little more pricey than I was willing to spend.

Then I returned home to take a nap.

That’s the life of the semi-retired in Bulgaria.



  1. You neglected to mention the part about the nap to me….:)

  2. Is that an Al quote?
    Can I send you a helmet from the states?
    Would not want to lose my cousin to a head injury.
    Love reading yours and Melody’s posts!

    • Yup, that’s Al. As far as I remember it.

      I have a helmet, don’t worry. But if I ride off a cliff and fall 250 feet into a tree, I don’t think a helmet is going to do the trick. 🙂

  3. so does the debit card work? or is the next step going back to the bank and pantomiming some more?

    • After all that, and I haven’t even tried to use the card. We go to Macedonia and Kosovo next week, so maybe I’ll break them in there.

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