GUSTAVO VELAZQUEZ, VENEZUELA

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GUSTAVO VELAZQUEZ, VENEZUELA

GETTING OUT FOR A BEER

Five years ago, Gustavo Velazquez graduated film and TV in Spain and arrived in Bulgaria for a two-month practice. After it ended, he stayed and started working for a medicine clinical research company. At the moment the 35-year-old Venezuelan is unemployed.

Have you noticed any special treatment because you are a foreigner?

Most people help me and are happy when they see that I am trying to speak their language. And Bulgarians are very similar to the South American people. We are very emotional. The good people are very good, and the bad people are very bad.

Is there a typical Bulgarian character trait?

Whatever happens, people always go out for a beer.

Did Bulgaria surprise you?

Yes. The nature. The mountains. The Rhodope is my favourite, with its geography, music and people. My first impressions from there are Gela and Shiroka Laka, and the people... words fail me. Although back then I didn't understand the dialect. I was thinking then that I spoke Bulgarian, but apparently I was wrong.

Do you have Bulgarian friends?

All of my friends are Bulgarian.

Do you celebrate Bulgarian festivals?

I do because everyone does, but most of these are religious, and I am not religious.

Describe Bulgaria in three words.

Friendship. Nature. Freedom. The Bulgarians don't understand how free they are. There are fewer regulations here. For example, you can go camping wherever you want. And the good people, the true mountaineers, protect nature.

Do you plan to stay in Bulgaria?

I have a child, I married. Apparently, yes.

What is to be Bulgarian?

To be proud with your past, traditions, folklore. Here everyone dances the horo, while in Venezuela the young are not interested. My friends use to say: "I remember when you were still a foreigner." But I will never become a Bulgarian. I have lived in three countries, and I feel that I am from... the planet. And Bulgarians are just unique.