I've started language class this month. It is good, but intense. Monday through Friday, from 9:30 - 12:30. That is a lot of language lesson. I somehow tested into the high intermediate level, and I am struggling. I am definitely the worst student in the class of three. My vocabulary is so limited! The class has been focusing on grammar, but I really need to practice listening and speaking. We'll see how it turns out.
Following our class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we have a Bulgarian history lesson. It is conducted in Bulgarian, so I have been attending to practice my listening skills. I had a Bulgarian history class in English a couple years ago in Veliko Turnovo, and the teacher's lecture was so full of nationalism and anti-Turkism that I stopped attending. This time, the teacher has been pretty balanced, but I'll keep my ears open to make sure she keeps this balance.
The first lesson was just about ancient Bulgaria. The original inhabitants were the Thracians. In the sixth century, the Slavs spread out from central Europe and some of them settled in the Danubian plain. There was also a tribe (the Bulgars) that came from Asia, either the Altaic Plain or the Hindu Kush, and settled in the Caucasus and around the Volga in the 2nd century. These three peoples are the ancestors of modern day Bulgarians. The one thing that I found a little suspect was her mentioning that the Thracians may have had an influence on Egyptian hieroglyphics. I had previously learned that the Thracians had no written language, but apparently some runes or scraps have been found that bear resemblance to Egyptian hieroglyphics. A Bulgarian American scholar has proposed that the Thracians language was adopted by the Egyptians. I've tried to find some more information, but for now, no luck.