PresentThis section addresses how identity is imagined and negotiated as Bulgarian youth relate themselves to their surroundings. While these clips are marked by a subtle awareness of or comparison to the outside world, they also highlight the differences in opportunities that exist within Bulgaria.

In several clips, students referred to a genre of Bulgarian pop music called "Chalga".This style of music is commonly criticized for its provocative themes of money and sex. It exploded in popularity after the fall of Communism, and remains a dynamic and evolving genre.

As these high school students worked out their emerging senses of selves, their voices reflect the particularities and universalities of being a teenager.

"Well, the Truth Is..."

Maria explained that five days a week, she lives at a boarding house next to her school. Many students in Bulgarian Foreign Language High Schools move or commute from surrounding villages to attend school. Maria described how she feels in this environment, as well as how her family’s life in the village influenced their decision to send her away to school.

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"We Have Too Much Fun"

Preslava and friends considered the balance between work and fun, and located imbalance as a problem of their generation.

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"Like Dolls"

Jordana and Mikaela passed their opinions on a kind of femininity they attributed to Chalga.

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"I Prefer Ordinary Boys"

Jordana and Mikaela passed their opinions on a kind of masculinity they do not prefer.

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"The Disco is an Institution Where..."

Miroslav and friends recounted an incident when the fashion norms of the disco were broken.

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"My Most Exciting Story"

Petya described her brief encounter with a Bulgarian celebrity in a small Bulgarian town.

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"You Have a Background"

Ralitsa interviewed over coffee. This clip captures a Bulgarian café setting, as the background dance music contrasts the smooth jazz typical of Western-style coffee shops. The seriousness of Ralitsa’s words was juxtaposed with the upbeat music as she worked out the “strangeness” of being from a small country.

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"Bring Skittles"

Pamela told a story about a misunderstanding of language that happened when she attended school for a year in the United States.

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"So They Applauded"

Elle remembered a moment of error during a big performance.

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"Nowhere"

Dimitar drew out the consequences of living in a small town for youth activities.

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"A Pool Party, but Without Water"

Mihail recounted a party he threw when his parents were out of town.

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"Where is the Difference?"

Ivana recalled her experiences with gypsy classmates in her childhood and mused on the relationship between stereotypes and behavior. In her first anecdote, she talked about the tradition of "Name Days", when Bulgarians bring chocolates or treats to friends and colleagues on the holiday of the saint they are named after. She and a classmate share the same Name Day.

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"The Grass on the Sidewalk"

This clip touches on several issues in Bulgaria—economic hardship, social tensions, and general depopulation of villages and smaller towns. Luben presented the complicated, interrelated nature of these problems, and therein the difficulty of addressing them.

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