Hristo Penev, Teacher at Maria Theresia
Our time at Maria Theresia would have been a lot more difficult had it not been for our wonderful translator Hristo, who works at the home. He helped us with anything we needed, from grocery shopping to press conferences, Hristo was our man! Here’s our interview with him:
Teresa (RTW): What is your name?
Hristo (H): Hristo Penev
RTW: Why did you decide to work at Maria Theresia?
H: Because I had the time and I wanted to do something decent.
RTW: What is your favorite part of the job?
H: My favorite part is the contact with the children.
RTW: What about your least favorite?
H: My least favorite part is some rumors that are around the staff.
RTW: What are your hopes for the children here?
H: I hope that the kids learn to understand that all the kids are the same no matter the color of their skin. There is still a problem of segregation here, like the US in the 70’s.
RTW: What do you think of the system of care for children without parents in Bulgaria?
H: It is starting to get better since the EU became aware of the problems here- like stealing money and trying to hide problems.
RTW: What do you think of the education system in Bulgaria?
H: I think it is not bad. I like the education system.
RTW: What are your hopes for the future?
H: That what goes around comes around.
RTW: What is your astrological sign?
H: I am an Aries.
RTW: Does that mean anything to you?
H: I believe that when you are a child the sign can do something to you, because you are natural and innocent. When you grow up, you pay more attention to other influences.
RTW: Do you work here all year long?
H: No. I work here six months of the year here. The other six months I do different jobs in different countries. I hide myself. It feels good to be hid away.
RTW: How many languages do you speak?
H: Four- English, Bulgarian, Russian, and Turkish.
RTW: What countries have you traveled to/lived in?
H: When I was 16 I lived in the United States for 6 months. Then I spent 6 months in the Check Republic. I spent 1 year in Amsterdam in 1999, and since then I have spent 1 year in Vienna, 1 year in Istanbul, 2 ½ years in London, and 1 year in Greece.
RTW: What were your impressions of some of those countries?
H: My experience in the United States was not very good. I stayed in Kansas and the host family was paid for me to stay there and they weren’t very nice. A lot of my impressions about America come from movies though. It’s great that they have freedom to express themselves! Greece has very good business men. And the Turks are very friendly!
RTW: What are some of the most important things you can share about other cultures with people who have not been able to travel personally?
H: To love people is a universal language. Friendliness and kindness is universal
Words of wisdom! Thank you Hristo for all your help- our stay at Maria Theresia wouldn’t have been the same without you!