JOHANNA ALCANTARA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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JOHANNA ALCANTARA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

WE'D CHOOSE BULGARIA

Johanna Alcantara is 36 and moved from the Dominican Republic to Sofia six years ago, with her husband who was relocated by the multinational company he is working for. She is a housewife and decided to pose with an icon she painted herself.

Have you experienced special treatment because you are a foreigner?

Bulgarians are proud people and if you don't try to get to them through the language, you might feel pushed away. But when you try to speak Bulgarian, you are welcomed. Here I feel like in my own country.

Have you experienced sexism?

No way!

Is there anything typically Bulgarian in the national character?

Bulgaria is rich in history and it is sad that everyone knows about Greece and Rome, and not about Bulgaria.

How did Bulgaria surprise you?

The alphabet is totally different and it was difficult in the beginning. And the infrastructure. We lived in India before Bulgaria, and there everything is full of colour, and here you have these square buildings that look so colourless. So, my first impression was that the city was breaking down. But as time goes by I've seen many changes.

Do you celebrate any Bulgarian holidays?

All of them, we try. My boy was born here, his name is Ivan Aleksandar, so we celebrate his name day on 7 January.

Can you describe Bulgaria in three words?

Culture, family, flavours.

Do you plan to stay in Bulgaria?

It is not up for us to decide. If we are to choose, we would raise the kids in Bulgaria. The country is safe and we can do many things here – going to the opera, the movies, to the seaside.

What does it take to be Bulgarian?

Bulgarians have so many hurdles in their history, going through Communism and then so many changes in such a short time. I think Bulgarians are very brave. They have experienced these changes, yet they are still open.

Do you feel Bulgarian?

Yes. I like the food, and the Chubritsa spice. We love going out, on Sundays, to feel like the real Bulgarians and we are proud of the art in the Boyana Church.