Sunday, January 24, 2010


The project was a very valuable and interesting experience for me. I liked the idea to communicate with students from USA, because it is always beneficial to get in touch with people with a different cultural background. However, I was a little disappointed that my partner didn’t participate very actively in the project.
I never showed any of my writings to a wider audience, so this was something new for me. It made me feel good, because I knew that my work would be read and valued. It is different when you write something not only because of the grade, but because you want to share it. I find it very thoughtful that we had to write essays on topics chosen by us. Most assignments limit the student’s creativity, so it is a great idea to allow students to choose the themes and structures of their essays. It was also very interesting to see the works of other people. Thus, you could see their writing styles and abilities and compare them to yours.
In conclusion, the project was very valuable for me, because I could share my work and see what responses it arouses, I could also read other people’s work and explore their opinions on different issues. The best part of the assignment were the topic- free essays which I enjoyed writing.

The Alchemist: Book Review

The Alchemist, written by Paulo Coelho is one of the most influencing books in the modern literature. It tells the story of a young shepherd boy who decides to pursue his dreams and ambitions. He goes through many obstacles and adventures and at the end reaches his dream.
The main themes of the book are faith and the pursuit of dreams. If you believe in yourself and in your dreams and dare to follow your ambitions, the result will always be success. The boy’s wandering and the things he goes through during his travel represent the human life and the obstacles that could arise in the way of any person. The boy never gave up, and here lies one of the most powerful messages in the book- never give up. No matter what situation you get in, keep your eyes on the future and be focused on what you want to achieve.
The book is filled with symbolic figures and events. The boy’s books and the way he exchanges his old one for a new one symbolize the seeking for knowledge. You should always seek for new knowledge and be open to new things. Another symbol in the book are the two little stones the little boy uses when making a decision. They represent the human conscience and the way it helps people distinguish between good and evil; right or wrong.
The settings change constantly, which makes the book very dynamic and interesting. The boy travels and reaches different places, each of which offering new environment and adventures. Another thing that makes the book dynamic is the fast change of actions. Each interesting situation fuses with the next one, there are no ‘gaps’. Thus, the reader is always engaged and eager to see what would come next.
The unexpected ending is actually what gives the sense of the entire book. The boy finds out that everything he was searching for was at the place he started his travel from. However, the fact itself that he decided to follow his dreams and went through so many obstacles and problematic situations to see his dream unveil at the very same place he began his pursuit contains a very deep message. The message is that dreams are actually quite close to reality, every dream can become reality and all that a person has to do is dare to follow it.

Muhammad Ali- the Legend

There are a lot of people who left their mark in history and many individuals worth remembering and mentioning. However, among this group of people, there are some “special” ones, that have achieved everything naturally, just by being themselves and following their ambition. For me, one of the special figures from the near past is one of the greatest boxers of all time – Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior, or Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali was born on January 17th , 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He came from a poor family, his father Cassius Marcellus Clay Senior was a billboard and sign painter, and his mother Odessa Grady Clay was a maid. It is ironic that such a great career began accidentally- the police officer and boxing coach Joe Martin saw him expressing his anger after his bike was stolen and offered him to begin boxing. Ali won his first title when he was 22, beating Sonny Liston, a heavyweight champion at that time. He went on to become the first boxer to win the heavyweight championship three times. Some of his fights like the “Rumble in the Jungle” on October 30, 1974, reached record interest and remained legendary in the history of boxing.
Besides being one of the greatest boxers of all time, Ali is also a great person, who is also notable and impressive outside the boxing stage. Cassius Clay became a Muslim because he felt he was in some way oppressed by white people and wanted to alienate himself from them. He rejected his name, and changed it to Muhammad Ali. He is a man with a very strong character and will. He has always done and said what he considered to be right, no matter the consequences. In 1966, Ali refused to join the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War. There is a famous quote: “ I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. They never called me nigger”. As a result of his refusal, he lost his title. Muhammad Ali is very socially active person. In the past, he talked about issues of the black people society in the USA in numerous interviews. Nowadays, long after the times of his boxing excellence, Ali participates in humanitarian missions all around the globe.
Muhammad Ali is an ambitious, brave and confident person, whose personality and way of thinking are very inspiring and thought- provoking. His energy is felt in each interview he gives, his words are strong and accurate. He is worthy of being considered one of these “special” people in history, who had left their mark not only with their achievements, but with the way they accomplished them, with their character and approach they demonstrated.

How I Made My Decision

In the last year of high school every student faces a very important choice, which would determine his life for the next few years, and in some cases, probably more than that. This is the time when you have to decide where to continue your education and what area of study to sign up for. It is a hard decision to make and it should be given much thought and attention.
Some months ago I didn’t know where I want to go or what I want to study. However, I said to myself that there is enough time to figure it out. The time flew away, and the moment to make a choice came. I thought about what I want to do, what area of study would give me the most possibilities and the best start. I thought about what are the important issues in the world today. The world we live in is based on and functions with the help of money. Money can change and divide people, cause wars and conflicts, but nevertheless it is also the basis for the world as we know it today. It's the decisive factor for the development of mankind at the moment. It was clear to me that a course in that area would give me a lot of possibilities and this was how I chose what I want to study – Business.
After making that decision, I had to make the next one – where. I chose the UK. It’s the country in Europe which offers the best education and is also one of the economical giants in the world. I see it as the perfect place to begin my study at university. I say begin, because I plan to complete my Master’s degree in the USA. The universities there have worldwide authority and recognition, and are clearly the best in the world.

Hip Hop is Not Dead

Rap is a music style with deep roots, unique traditions and cultural background. Emerging on the commercial scene less than thirty years ago, it hasn’t taken long for it to take over a big part of the music business. Nowadays, rap has its listeners, fans and performers all around the globe. People with different cultural understandings, religious beliefs, ethnical heritage listen to or perform rap music, live according to the hip hop culture. However, through the years, the hip hop culture and rap music in particular has reached very high levels of commercialism. As a result, rap has began to change in order to keep up with the immense rates of public interest. Many rap fans and artists claim that some of the new popular rap artists have “killed” hip hop, changing its content and sound, thus taking away its uniqueness. However, there is still a significant amount of new artists, who produce quality songs and help for the development and conservation of the essence of rap music.
What makes rap music so unique and popular? There are a lot of reasons for that. Rap is an extremely flexible music style, which allows a lot of space for improvisation and innovation. It is also one of the few music styles that can successfully use samples from songs of totally different styles and sounding. Based on the power of the words, rap is extremely expressive and covers a huge range of various themes, issues, emotions. This is why many people find rap music so close to themselves. A rap song can be socially directed, aggressive, relaxing, provoking; it can really be anything that the artist decides it to be.
However, there are some artists who exploit rap music and use it only as a product to sell. There is no emphasis on the sense of the lyrics, they are focused only on completely material things like money, cars, shiny watches, rims etc. There is also no emphasis on the quality of the musical part, which should only be appealing to the masses and be easy to remember. This results in the production of similar songs, with no contribution to the real rap music, which flood the radios and television. They dominate the commercial area and thus other hip hop artists who produce quality and diverse rap music receive less attention and recognition.
However, there is a positive side of the things, because there are many artists who stick to the real rap music and manage to produce quality songs and albums with significant commercial success. Some of the older rappers, the pioneers are still active and continue to produce the kind of rap, which so many people feel with their hearts and live with. So I guess that as long as there are the real artists, who preserve the real essence of rap music and hip hop culture, hip hop will never die.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Lost Soul

Pencho woke up earlier than usual this day. It was a rainy and foggy Monday morning. He was all wet and was shivering under the thorn blanket he was covered with. He had lived in the streets for more than 10 years and was used to it, but this morning he felt a strong feeling of anger and helplessness that he has managed to keep quiet in the last years.
He has been wandering around the dirty and hostile streets of Sofia year after year, moving from one neighborhood to the other, surviving day after day. It would be inaccurate if his existence was called life, it was rather a struggle. He tried to keep his memories from entering his mind, because he knew they would bring him only pain and anger. However, sometimes he couldn’t do anything and the images of his previous life invaded his whole being. He had a wonderful family back in the time, two kids and a beautiful wife. They were still there, somewhere far away from him. He didn’t know what had happened to them.
This morning, he woke up in a dirty corner in Nadezhda, a dark, spooky neighborhood in Sofia. The name means hope, which was painfully ironic in the situation Pencho was in. He knew he had to stand up and go search the garbage-cans for some food, because he hadn’t eaten for more than two days. However, he was sinking in a sea of memories and couldn’t do anything about it. He remembered how he used to go home from work to see his two little daughters and his wife waiting for him, cooking something delicious to surprise their favorite dad and husband. As he remembered it he could feel the warmth of their hugs and the smell of the food coming from the kitchen. He remembered how he and his wife used to stay until late at night just talking about everything. The time was moving so fast in these wonderful moments. He remembered the Christmas cards his daughters made for him, saying “ We love you dad!”. He has been a good father, no matter what situation he was in he treated his daughters with love and gave everything he could to secure their happiness.
At this moment a group of teenagers walked past him talking loudly, and he came back to reality. He kept lying in the corner, wet, hungry and helpless. He closed his eyes and waited for the memories to come back and fill his mind. They came back, but they weren’t the same memories. He saw his two little daughters again, but this time they weren’t happy and cheerful. They were crying in their room quietly, squeezing each other’s hands. The pleasant smell from the kitchen was gone and the lamps all around the house were switched off. Then he saw an image that made his breathing stop for a few seconds. His wife was sitting in the living room holding her head with both hands and crying. She was trembling and whispering something to herself. Pencho tried hard to remember what was the reason for this situation, but he couldn’t. His memories kept projecting in his mind. His wife raised her head and he saw her face. Her left eye was swollen and dark blue, there was blood leaking from the corner of her mouth. Pencho’s heart was filled with anger. “Who did this to my wonderful wife?!” he asked himself and his memories answered as if the question was directed to them. He saw himself coming home late at night, drunk and not able to walk straight. His wife was still awake waiting for him. However, this time he didn’t hug her. Instead, they started arguing and shouting. She slapped him on the cheek and he punched her in the face. He hit her two more times. By that time his two little daughters were woken up by the noise and were screaming:
“Stop, daddy, please stop!”.
Pencho opened his eyes. He didn’t feel anything now. He didn’t feel hungry, cold or wet. He made an attempt to rise, but he didn’t have the strength to do so. He felt tired and sleepy. His eyes began to close and he couldn’t stop them.
“I’m sorry…” - he whispered and a tear slid out of one of his eyes. He took one last breath.
Two men passed by, talking, walking fast with their hands in their pockets; a dog’s barking fused with the noise of the traffic… Another lost soul left this world.

The Best Things in Life

What are the best things in life? Are there universal best things or is that question absolutely individual? It might not sound serious, but I would say that both suggestions are right. However, there is a catch – there are universal best things but it depends on each person’s personal view which of these he sees and in what form.
There is a saying “the best things in life are free”, which is rather optimistic in the world we live in. However, it is very interesting to look at the situation from this point of view. It is not only interesting, this is the real, the humane way of looking at the world. Which are these free things that are so good? That is a basic question, with a basic answer, which is so hard to understand. These free things are actually within us – dreams, love, faith, friendship, honor, trust, sympathy; it’s a long list. Every person develops these virtues ever since he is born. These things can give people pure happiness, a totally non-material happiness. However, in the world we live in, there is not much space, not much time for these beautiful human abilities to develop. Nowadays the material part of the human existence prevails over the spiritual one.
This is the moment where the best things in life aren’t free no more. A common belief among people is that the best things in life can be bought with money. It may sound disturbing to some and normal to others but it is true. Ever since money have become the main source of happiness and a powerful tool for getting the best things in life, the “free” things within us were no longer seen as best. We know they exist but we don’t pay that much attention to them. Many people dedicate their lives on earning and spending money, which is not wrong; the wrong part is that most of these people forget about the virtues within them. Once a person starts finding more happiness in the material part of the world than in the spiritual, humane part, he is lost. There are no best things, there are just material substitutes which offer a temporary relief.
Surely, the purpose of the statements above is not to promote a monk-like living style and approach. In our world, money and material things in general are a source of great pleasure and joy. It is impossible to refuse them or evade them. However, we must never forget about the other side of life, the spiritual one, because it is the source of a type of happiness that is impossible to reach even with all the money in the world. There are many good things you can buy with money, many pleasurable moments you can live through with money, but what you should never forget is that the best things in life are free.