A “not final” final post

Hello dear readers,

Even though this was supposed to be the final post, I want to continue this Breakfast Stories experience next semester (yeah, I am one of the few lucky Erasmus who stays in AUBG also in spring semester).

It has been an amazing semester for me. I love being here, don’t mind the more than 2,000 kilometres of distance which separate Blagoevgrad from Madrid. I have met fantastic people here and I have open my mind like never before I did it.

cropped-floris_gerritsz-_van_schooten_-_breakfast_-_wga210441.jpg

In relation with this blog I cannot say anything else than I said before in my halfway post. I am so glad of having chosen this topic at first in my Multimedia Journalism Class and I am also glad I had the courage enough of interviewing people I didn’t know before.

I don’t have only learned about journalism but also about human beings, which I think it’s more important actually. I have developed my story-listening capacity  and I have also learned a lot about life interviewing such amazing people.
Croissant coffee and conserve 2
And I am also really happy because The Breakfast Stories doesn’t finish here. I will continue the blog until the end of the semester, trying to bring every week a different moving and exciting story served, of course, with a delicious and tasty breakfast.

I have a lot of ideas in mind which unfortunately I am not revealing you in this post. However I can say you next semester I will interview some of the main characters of the stories my interviewees told me so far.

See you soon and merry Christmas! 🙂

Advertisements

Seventh Breakfast Story: María

10799549_628341907275839_1190881412_nTwo slices of toasted bread with tomato, olive oil and melted goat cheese. And of course, a cup of hot milk with Cola Cao. That’s María’s favorite breakfast. Unfortunately she is now in Bulgaria and there is no opportunity to eat such an amazing meal. Olive oil is too expensive here and Bulgarian sirene cheese is good but it not the same as Spanish one.

“Here my only breakfast is an expresso from the vending machine in Skapto 2 or a Nescafé cappuccino in ABF cafeteria. I think in comparison with my Spanish breakfast, the preference is clear” María laughs.

She doesn’t need so much time to finish her cappuccino – this morning María has overcome laziness and she has gone to ABF cafe to have breakfast. Once done, María starts talking me about Panchis, her 9 years old brother.

“My brother is the most important person in my life. He was born in a very hard moment for my family. We only knew about it when my mother was two months pregnant. I had always wanted to have a little brother and I was very lucky because he was born when I was 12.”

10408984_623843154392381_6988817901030846480_n

Maria with Panchis in her profile Facebook picture.

With an enormous smile, María tells me about the mystery of life. “I cried the first time I knew I was going to have a brother. He’s the best thing has happened to me in my life. There is nothing else more beautiful than life in its own. I was astonished when I realized my mother, the person I most loved in the world, suddenly she gave birth a little baby. And since that moment, I perfectly knew he was going to turn into my new most favorite person.”

María loves her brother because she can teach him all the things she has not been taught by her parents. “The thing I enjoy the most is watch how he is growing up, and how he tells proudly his friends all the things I have told him before.”

“We are always playing, pretending fighting with each other, shooting us with my mum’s smartphone, kissing each other…”

About the future, María doesn’t like so much his brother is going to grow up more and more with the years. “But that is also a really important part of the game of life. Time never stops. And I am completely sure he will love me all his life the same way I will love him.”


In the following link you can also enjoy several examples of Spanish breakfast:

Curating content: first Storify and Thinglink

Untitled

https://storify.com/BreakfastStorie/sixth-breakfast-story-alexander#publicize

Here you have the result of what i have learned today in Multimedia Journalism class. We have used two different social media tools to curate different content.

First of all, we have learned how to use Storify, a very useful and cool website that lets you to create stories putting together content from different social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Then, we have made a Thinglink image. This consist in putting different content linked to a picture you choose.

By this way, you can make unique stories with a lot of different content on it.

thinglinkhttp://www.thinglink.com/scene/588732000471351297

I hope you like and enjoy both of the stories! 🙂

Sixth Breakfast Story: Alexander

Alexander

It was Wednesday morning. Belgrade welcomed me with a shocking cold and a thick fog.

After leaving our luggage in the hostel, and while my trip mates were sleeping, I went alone for a walk to Kalemegdan Park.

As if God would have painted with grey the whole city, all the streets were flooded by the fog. And also the park was. The mix between that grey and the blue green of the grass was beautiful enough to give my walk an interesting morning color.

I started to take pictures around me and suddenly an old man came to me to ask me something. He was holding a cup of coffee and a kind of pastry in the other hand. At first he spoke to me in Serbian, but after my poker face he started to speak English.

“What’s the time?” he asked me with a tired smile. “Ten o’clock.”

I just looked to the pastry and he answered my non-formulated question: “It is typical Serbian burek. Do you want to try it?”

After sharing a few words about the weather, the city and also about the burek, he suggested showing me the city.

“It is crazy because most of the tourists here don’t trust in Belgrade locals. They think we, Serbian people, are almost criminals. But I only want to show them the city.”

I realized since the very beginning he was a very proud Serbian. He told me about his life. His name was Alexander and he was 61. No wife, no children, no living relatives.

“Of course I don’t have so much money. However I am too proud to telling people I need it. I am only used to show the city to tourists and helping them. Then if they want to give me money, it is okay. But I never ask for it.”

1932203_686760631420700_8556430518243296498_n

Belgrade landscape in a foggy morning.

We were walking across the whole city and he showed me a lot of interesting touristic places. We drank a glass of holy and miraculous water in Saint Petka Orthodox Church, we were in a photograph exhibition about Serbian Army in the First World War, and we visited the Serbian National Assembly and the huge Post Office building.

However, since I told him I was studying Journalism, he was very interested in showing me the “real Belgrade”, because he wanted me to write about it.

“Belgrade is not what you can see in the center. Rich people drinking coffee, buying art in some gallery, going to the bank… That is not Belgrade. I will show you the real city.”

In few minutes, we found a group of young people drinking beer sitting on a bench in the street. He told me about the high level of youth unemployment and how the corruption of Serbian government blocks any trace of progress in the country.

Alexander also told me about his life before and after his retirement. He worked many years in a bank in London. That is why he could speak a surprising fluent English (of course better than mine).

After a lot of time talking about many different topics, I realized he hadn’t even finished his breakfast. Once he was done, I ask him about the most important person in his life.

“I will answer you, but before I will show you one place.”

We walk together until St. Mark’s Church, where is buried the first king of Serbia. He took me behind the church and I saw suddenly a destroyed building. It was shocking and surprising at the same time, because the ruined building was placed between two modern ones.

Damaged RTS Headquarters

RTS (Radio and Televison of Serbia) damaged headquarters.

“This is the building NATO bombed in 1999.”

(There are a lot of historical and political controversies about this event, so let’s judge the story by yourselves).

Just after that, he showed me a commemorative plaque titled За што? (Why?), with the name of the people dead in the bombing. He also fingered a name: M. J. “He was a friend of mine” he told me.

"Why?" Monument

“That night, before the bombing, we were playing chess together in my house, near here. We didn’t finish the game but he had to go to work. Two or three hours later I heard an explosion and all the furniture in my house started to tremble. The bombing killed 16 innocent people. My friend, who worked as a safeguard there, he died that night. He was 47 and he had wife and two children.”

I was looking at him and at the building completely shocked and moved by the story.

“We will never rebuild this place” he continued. “We want our young people don’t forget.”

I will remember all my life that immediate moment’s silence. It was such a soulful silence.

He looked at me after few seconds. “And yes. I perfectly know what you are thinking about. He was the most important person in my life.”


Story: Roberto Herranz.

Fotographies: María Teresa López Cerdán.


You can also check out my Storify story about Belgrade.


If you enjoyed the story, follow me on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/BreakfastStories?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/BreakfastStorie

In the half of the way

I started this blog with the purpose of telling human stories; I think this is the basis of journalism. Now I am in the middle of the way, very close to the fall break , and I have realized that I have achieved my goal by the moment.

My first post was very risky for me because I interview Mrs. Spasova, an old Bulgarian woman, with no idea of speaking Bulgarian. I just go to one of the Blagoevgrad city park, next to AUBG Main Building, with a Bulgarian friend of mine. I remember the smile of the lady when my friend told her that I wanted to interview her. She was so proud and despite of her silence at first, she started to talk a lot soon.

In my second post I interview Deya, one of my Multimedia Journalism classmates. I asked her the main blog question and i was expected the typical answer (“my mum”, “my dad”, “my brother/sister”…), but suddenly she surprised me with a very kind and warm-hearted story about the most important person in her life.

The third, fourth and breakfast stories were about Erasmus and Exchange students in AUBG, but not very similar one with another. Fortunately I found so interesting and emotional stories to tell, since the inspiring story about Elena’s mum, through the shocking and sad but moving tale about Deborah’s great grandmother, to the story about Maria Teresa’s father.

I have been learning a lot during these weeks about talking with people. I have learned to listen, to move myself inside other people’s stories… I have learned how to make people comfortable and how to make people tell more about themselves.

I think human smiles are the best gift for journalists. When people can see in your face that you are listening them and paying attention to their stories (and many times that you are so deeply inside their stories), they are very thankful with you.

Life is communication, and that’s what journalists work in. Communication is not only news, is not only reporting different stories of your hometown. Communication is not only very shocking political news. Communication is smiling, looking at people with curiosity and just wait for their different stories, because everyone has a story to tell.

Midterm Story Exam (Sweet Blaze)

Hello everybody! This is not a new breakfast story, but one part of my Multimedia Journalism midterm exam. I am supposed to write a blog post about a story in relation with my blog subject, and also to make a news package video and some interviews in only 3 hours!

10721314_677605575669539_1577321221_n

I have decided to talk about one new amazing place to have breakfast in Blagoevgrad. Its name is Sweet Blaze and it is a cafe/restaurant that opened on 28th September, two weeks ago, very close to AUBG campus.

You can find there a lot of delicious food and sweets, like Turkish baklava, chocolate cakes, apple pies… The different coffees and chocolates are so tasty. Also, you can go there to have lunch or dinner, because they also sell different kinds of salads and different styles of pizzas.

Blaze new place

But that is not the only reason why Sweet Blaze is one of the best places to have breakfast in Blagoevgrad. It is also for its decorations. All the furniture, chairs in blue and white and tables in white, is very beautiful. The bar has also an inside terrace with very big windows through you can see a little garden with grass and flowers of different colors. It also has a very huge white piano in the main dining room.

blaze ee

I was there one week ago with some friends having dinner and there was a man playing the piano while the people were eating. Suddenly, the light went out, the man kept on playing the piano and the waitress start to putting candles in all the tables. That situation, with also the delicious food, made a very memorable dinner.

Also, a lot of AUBG students love Sweet Blaze. You can listen in the following Soundcloud link the different opinions of Jessica, Lyndsey and Maria, three different exchange students staying in AUBG this semester.

And about the news package, you can watch it here…

Fifth Breakfast Story: Maria Teresa

She is Spanish, 20 years old girl, studying during this year in Bulgaria. In that way, she share a lot of things with the two previous interviewees (Deborah and Elena). However, Maria Teresa has another different breakfast story to share with us.
I interviewed her in the morning in PolCa, a new really delicious Cafe & Deli in Blagoevgrad, very close to the AUBG campus. She was drinking a cappuccino: “I love cappuccino here, it is a really amazing coffee”.

Despite of Maria Teresa’s cappuccino, she is used to have “a glass of milk with cacao and about four biscuits”, here in Blago. Now she is taking only cappuccino because she is in a diet “for a documentary for one of my courses here”, she stated. She has lost a lot of weight with a really hard -but also funny- experience of diet and exercise, but this is another issue that soon all AUBG students will be able to watch.

teresa's breakfast

“Breakfast in Spain are very different”, Maria Teresa says. “In my home, I usually have orange juice, with two toasted slices of bread with olive oil, tomato and jamon serrano over it”. About breakfast -and answering the blog main question, Maria Teresa says that anyone cooks breakfasts as good as her father.

“If I weren’t his daughter, I will fall in love with him”, Maria Teresa says frequently about his dad. “It’s admiration what I feel about him”, Maria Teresa starts, “I love him with all my life because he is a very good person. And I also think that everybody should be like him”. One of the things Maria Teresa most admires about her father is that “he has a really sense of justice”.

“I think I am a daddy girl, so I love him”.

If you enjoyed the story, follow me on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/BreakfastStories?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/BreakfastStorie

Fourth Breakfast Story: Deborah

Her name is Deborah Remerscheid. She is American -from Austin, Texas-, she is 20 years old and she is studying this whole year in Bulgaria as an Exchange Student. However, she actually doesn’t know why she specifically chose Bulgaria. “My English teacher told me that I needed a school like in ‘tongue English’, and I saw there was an American University in Bulgaria and I also thought the country looked very cool”, Deborah says.

One of the things Deborah feels more proud about being here is that these kind of Exchange experiences open your mind a lot. About the different cultures, she thinks that living in Bulgaria “confuses you, but it excites you at the same time; it’s such a great and weird experience.”

Deborah is Major in English Literature and Minor in Music. She loves jazz music, this music relaxes her a lot. And the reason that she’s minor in Music is because she also plays tenor saxophone. And I can feel while I am interviewing her that she loves feel relaxed playing jazz -and also she told me about it at the end of the interview.

“I am not a really morning person”, Deborah admited, “and that’s why I need a really huge coffee for being able to function”. Here in Bulgaria, Deborah is not so used to waking up early, she only has two classes per week at 9.00 a.m. That’s why she told me that mostly of the days she doesn’t have breakfast, but a kind of lunch or brunch. “However, when I wake up early I also eat one of those croissants with chocolate or one of the Bulgarian banitsas with cheese.”

Deborah also told me about typical Texan breakfast. “I like so much breakfast tacos, it’s a so delicious meal. It’s like a taco but instead of chili meat you have sausages, meat, eggs, also potatoes… There are also cheese ones with fired beans.” When she is in Texas, she normally gets one with bacon, potatoes and cheese, and she puts a lot of salsa on it. “It’s one of the most magical things of Texas, I miss it a lot.”

I waited for her to finish the breakfast in order to make her stomach be ready for the big question. She took about six minutes and then she started to talk my about her great-grandmother’s story. “I think the most important person in my life was my great-grandmother, who all my family called Grandma Marie”, Deborah started. “I have a lot of memories being in her house, like taking naps or playing that kind of old games and toys, that we hadn’t anywhere else but in her house.”

Deborah and her family were used to stay in her great-grandmother house for Thanksgiving dinner. “She was very calmed and gentle woman and she was kind of matriarch of the family, because her husband actually died when she was 40, so she spent like 50 years by herself.”

“I remember when she passed, it was so sad for me”, Deborah remembered. “She was really sick for 10 years, and she was 91 at the time. She was so old that it was no point in replacing her kidneys (…) It’s so weird and really hard seeing somebody you’ve known your entire life and that you’ve grown up with lying on the bed, with a mask over her face.”

First Edited Video

Hello, readers! This post is not in relation with the subject of my blog. However, I want to share with you the things I have learned in Multimedia Journalism today. We have recorded one video with blog cameras, following the “BBC 5 Shot Rule” and we have edited it on Youtube Editor.

Particularly, my team has been recording two Bulgarian guys playing backgammon 🙂

You can see the result bellow!

Third Breakfast Story: Elena

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Elena Samalytė is the main character of my third breakfast story. She is an 18 years old Lithuanian student, from Vilnius, and she is staying in AUBG the whole year as an Erasmus student.

“When I was in Lithuania, I decided to study abroad with the Erasmus+ program and I could choose for 66 universities. But I wanted to study in an American university and there were only two options: Romania and Bulgaria. I chose Bulgaria because it’s warmer and I know more things about it.”

In Lithuania, Elena is used to eat some sandwiches, muesli or fruits with a cup of tea for breakfast. “We don’t have anything like a typical Lithuanian breakfast. We have a kind of sweet cake but it’s only for celebrations such as birthdays” she explained me.

However, in Bulgaria she wakes up earlier than in Lithuania because she has earlier morning classes. That’s why she needs to eat a lot for be energetic all the day. “I usually eat here English breakfast with bacon, fries, bread toasted, eggs, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms.”

Elena also loves drawing in the mornings. “Drawing relaxes me”, she said, “That’s why I draw very often in the mornings. I am used to draw some little things like flowers or birds.”

For the main question of the blog, Elena suddenly stopped to think about it. “It is kind a hard question. I mean not to choose a person but to speak about that person.” She took her time and then she continued talking.

“The most important person in my life is my mum”, Elena started. “I have only two best friends. One of them is my neighbor, who I know very long; and the second one is my mum.”

“She is all the time listening to me, giving me advice, suggesting me…” she continued, “And I am also very proud of her because she’s had a very difficult life and right now she is very happy.”

“She was dreaming all her life to be a nurse. But when she was little she said the dream to her mum and her mum said that she can nothing because she was a stupid girl (…) Then, she dropped off about her dream but when she was 42 years old she finished medicine college. And I am really proud of it”.

Another thing about Elena’s mum is that she is from Belarus, and when she moved to Lithuania, she didn’t know the language at all. “She learned by herself without any professors, she only bought some books and she learned the language with the lectures. I am very proud of her because she was studying four years in college in different languages and she finished with a 9 degree, the maximum was 10″.

If you enjoyed the story, follow me on Facebook and Twitter:

https://www.facebook.com/BreakfastStories?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/BreakfastStorie