Theirs was an extraordinary experience, shared masterfully... Intense relationships and cultural discoveries abound in this well told story. Their PCV narrative transcends the predictable.... A Breeze in Bulgaria
plumbs the Bulgarian culture, finding its richness and beauty plus a dark corner or two. A lovely bonus of the book is the adoring relationship between Bruce and Stormy: "Sometimes we dance!"
... A Breeze in Bulgaria
is a page-turner, navigating twists and turns, capturing characters and challenges. Its style is personal, but engaging. Not only Peace Corps people will love this book, it's that good.
-- Reviewed by Ken Hill (Turkey 1965-67) Ken later was Country Director in the Russian Far East, Bulgaria & Macedonia. He was Chief of Operations for Europe and Asia, and then Chief of Staff of Peace Corps in 2001.
From books.google.com:A Breeze in Bulgaria
is a compelling memoir and genuine love story at the deepest levels. Beautifully written and heartfelt (with dashes of creative humor in unexpected places), it reminds us that our innate human connections go beyond culture and circumstance.... You will come away with a greater appreciation for life, love, community, and the many joys and wonders that are easy to overlook on a daily basis.
-- Reviewed by Alexi.
From the Back Cover
Bulgarians say that when God made the world, He made places for all the people, or at least He meant to. The Bulgarians tugged at His sleeve and asked, "Did You forget us?" God actually had overlooked them but did not want to admit it. He gave them a piece of heaven He had been saving for Himself, a piece of heaven to love. He said it had been made for them.
Bulgaria. A country with beautiful mountains, fertile fields, dusty roads and old Soviet-era apartment bloks. Ancient ruins, tired cities, intricate music and folk dances. Scattered remnants of the old industry struggle for survival, glimmers of hope among rusty abandoned factories. School hallways ring with the laughter and shrieks of bright-eyed, eager children, and young people go to discos and wear fashionable clothes, drinking coffee in sidewalk cafés for hours.
Bruce McDonald and his wife Stormy worked in Bulgaria as Peace Corps Volunteers, and fell in love with it all. They tell of meeting people who loved their country and its proud heritage, people who knew how to live very well with very little. The hardy and resilient way of life came down through the centuries from the warlike Slavs who swept in from the north and east, pushing aside the powerful Thracians and the Romans and the Greeks. Then there was the civilizing influence of literature and learning brought by holy monks. Five hundred years "Under the Turkish Yoke" were ended by Heroes of the Revolution, reverently remembered.
In modern times, tumult, change. Entrepreneurs in a newly free society with apples and cabbages for sale at a table by the sidewalk. Democracy too, with whatever that will bring. Determination and hard work define what is needed in everyday life.
The volunteers' own story had a turn of events too, one that took determination and hard work to overcome. The heroes of this story are many, and courage is proved in adversity.