Без съмнение всички сте чували за подвизите на крал Артур и неговият верен магьосник – Мерлин. Те са вдъхновение за много хора, включително и за Мишел – незаменима част от екипа ни, която не спира да учи и търси приключения. Годините на странстване я превръщат в страхотен преподавател, защото има възможността да се докосне до различни езици и култури. Москва е нейн дом за повече от 15 години и въпреки топлите чувства, които храни към града и страната, напуска, защото търси нещо различно. Намира го във Варна. Влюбва се в България от пръв поглед и започва своите нови приключения, които са не по-малко увлекателни от тези на крал Артур. Сега нашата академия е нейният втори дом. Тук тя, поради обширния си опит и високото ниво на квалификация, преподава общ английски, бизнес английски и подготовка за изпит за международен сетификат. Повече за Мишел ще намерите в редовете по-долу.
Who are you?
My name is Michelle and I was born in the picturesque town of Carmarthen in Wales, which loosely translates as “Merlin’s Castle”. Legend has it that the Arthurian wizard Merlin was born in the area around Carmarthen. Perhaps more intriguing is the fact that the house where I grew up was called “Merville” (Merlin’s Villa) and I lived there until I left at the age of eighteen to study history and archaeology at university, no doubt inspired by local tales of magic, dragons and gallant knights, in search of the historical King Arthur.
Why did you decide to become an English teacher?
Having grown-up in a bi-lingual home, being fluent in both Welsh and English, which are by the way extremely different, and having studied Latin, French and Russian, I am fascinated with the mechanics of language and especially with how words and sentences are put together in different tongues. What’s more, I have always had the desire to teach and to travel the world. So, when the opportunity came up after university to combine these three things in the form of teaching English in Russia, I jumped at the chance. More than 25 years later, I continue to do the things I love the most: teaching, travelling, learning different languages and getting acquainted with local histories and archaeology. There’s plenty of the latter here in Bulgaria to indulge in.
What made you decide to come to Bulgaria?
I came to Bulgaria on a whim. I had been living in Moscow for a little over fifteen years and for ten of those years I had a highly successful career and a much sought-after job at a New-York based multi-national law firm as Regional Training Director. While I still very much loved Russia, I had become very jaded with corporate life. My existence had become one dizzy merry-go-round of getting up early, grabbing a coffee on my way out of the house, slurping down my breakfast on my morning commute to the office on an over-crowded train with every wagon sardine-packed to the roof with people of every creed, tongue and colour, slogging it out from early morning until the early hours of the next morning, arriving home exhausted and crashing out on the bed only to wake up each day to pretty much the same. Seven days a week. Three-hundred-sixty-five days a year with the exception of a few short trips home each year to visit family and friends. My life had been violently swept away and sucked up into the black hole of big corporation. I hated it. I yearned for a calmer existence and longed to get back to nature. After all, I was at heart a country girl. I dreamt about strolling along a moon-lit beach in the evenings listening to the waves gently crashing against the rocks next to a harbour where the fishermen’s boats bobbed up and down in bible black waters waiting for the break of dawn. Fortunately, Varna more than satisfies that yearning.
What was your first impression of Bulgaria?
It was love at first sight. Bulgaria reminds me a lot of home, with her vast rolling hills, green meadows, breath-taking mountains and wild beaches. And of course, her hospitality is as welcoming as you would find in any Welsh hillside. Her inhabitants’ love of music and poetry also creates a sense of belonging.
What’s it like teaching in Bulgaria?
Bulgarians are a warm and hospitable people who are very proud of their rich history and culture and are known for being friendly to expats. Since joining the EU in 2007, there is no doubt that the demand for English language lessons in Bulgaria has grown. Students are both smart and eager to learn. They are great students.
What do you do in your free time?
As the saying goes, to be born Welsh is to be born with music in your blood and poetry in your soul. Singing and music are a big part of Welsh identity and tradition and I could not live without them. As soon as I arrived in Bulgaria, I made sure that I got acquainted with the local culture and educated myself on Balkan folk music. Today, I sing and play the pipes and frame-drums in a small folk band named Бълхи ( The Fleas ). The music we create is a fusion of Balkan, Persian and Celtic sounds. We occasionally perform live although we’re under no illusion that we are the next Beatles.
Bulgaria offers lots of attractions crammed into one little country so I am never bored here. Also, as travel costs are relatively low, I love exploring Bulgaria’s historic cities and rustic villages, dotted with Ancient Roman ruins and monasteries. I also enjoy sampling Bulgaria’s rich and delicious cuisine and its world-famous Balkan wine – perhaps far more than I really should.
To sum up …
Bulgaria has left a great impression on me. It’s clearly European, yet so uniquely different from many other European countries that I know.
While I may not have, as I had initially set out to do, succeeded in finding the elusive King Arthur, my journey so far has taken me far and wide to magical lands filled with as much adventure, wonder and excitement as any Arthurian legend.