by Emiliya V.
Name/pseudonym: Veska U.
Date of birth: 07.02.1942
Place of birth: Chereshovo village, Municipality Slivo Pole, citizen of the town of Ruse, Bulgaria
Place of residence: Chereshovo village
Her past life
Please describe briefly the life circumstances of your childhood.
I am a single child in the family, raised with a lot of love, a lot of respect and a lot of attention. Two of my cousins, quite naughty, lived with me. I graduated from the primary school in my native village and later I completed my secondary education in "N. J. Vaptsarov” school in the town of Ruse. I graduated from the University of Ruse with a degree in Pedagogics with an excellent diploma.
Please describe the life circumstances in the period from your adolescence to your retirement. Was everything satisfactory, difficult, dynamic?
At first, I worked as a kindergarten teacher for 15 years in the village of Borisovo. Then I moved to the city of Ruse, where I became a Director of a kindergarten, and a year later - Director of United Kindergartens - Ruse. Some of the kindergartens were basic branches of the University of Ruse. And that went on until I retired.
I was attracted by the novelties and I worked for the introduction of new technologies and methods of educational work. For example, we were the first in the city of Ruse to introduce computer games with educational and upbringing character in the kindergartens, which children liked a lot. The games were often competitive and ended with prizes.
As a Bulgarian, I was very excited about the issues related to our historical and cultural heritage. We worked with the older children on the presentation of Christian customs as a major part of the educational process. Other interesting teaching methods, such as mathematics, were comparison, spatial orientation, origami making, and more.
For better work with the pedagogical and administrative staff, I completed a master's course in Management of Education at the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski ”.
At the time of my retirement, I had 15 years of work experience as a teacher and 28 years of experience as a director of United Kindergartens. This experience helped me in my work as a deputy mayor in my native village Chereshovo. In 2004 I became Chairman of the Municipal Council of Pensioners at the Municipality of Slivo Pole. This activity gave me great satisfaction. I worked with great willingness, but I also encountered great difficulties, because so far, no common activities had been organized for pensioners in the municipality. There were only 7 clubs, the members of which only met, but had no planned educational and social activities. Over the years we have gradually opened new clubs - now they are 21. Financial resources have been provided by the Municipality - premises, consumables, and more.
Since 2015, when Mr. Atanasov became Mayor of the Municipality, the activity of pensioners has become even richer, more diverse, aimed at improving the social status of the elderly and preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the region.
What was the situation of the elderly when you were young?
My parents worked on a cooperative farm in my home village. They were respected and hardworking people. My father was a driver on the cooperative farm until his retirement. My grandmother (my grandfather died a long time ago) and my great-grandmother, whose husband was killed in World War II, lived with us. My father took care of this large family with many women so that we would not feel the lack of anything.
We all lived together.
Her present life
Please compare what you thought about aging when you were young, your expectations for your retirement life, and how things really are now. What does retirement mean to you?
As a young woman, in my prime, aimed at implementing new and interesting things into my job, I did not think much about my retirement years. I took care of my parents when they retired, and I tried to bring them joy through my success in my job and through caring for them.
I have two sons. One of them graduated in human medicine in Leningrad, Russia and the other in Economics in Svishtov, here in Bulgaria. Each of my sons has 2 children, who my husband and me took care for from their birth, because their parents were full-time students at that time. Now my grandchildren have grown up and I have no big commitments with them.
When the time came for my retirement, I thought I would indulge in my hobbies - books (I have a very large library) and tapestries.
After I retired, I did the accounting in my two sons' company for a few years, but then I had to leave because I had to take care of my mother in Chereshovo. At that time my father had already died.
Some representatives of the village of Chereshovo invited me to run for mayor of the village. I was elected and worked for 6 years. During that time, I was also Chairman of the Municipal Organization of Pensioners.
In 2013, my husband died and I had to leave the town hall, but I continue my work with retirees until today.
Please briefly describe your current life circumstances.
I live alone. The nature that surrounds me is the main means of my satisfaction - I take care of many flowers, trees. My only income is my pension that is enough for me. I am also satisfied with the work with retirement clubs by improving and diversifying the lives of retirees, involving them in various activities such as afforestation, nature conservation, site cleaning, theatre organization, participation in international projects under the leadership of the University of Ruse.
Which media do you consume in everyday life? What new technologies do you use? Have you noticed if your generation uses them and how?
I use TV, computers, Internet and a smartphone a bit.
My generation don't use a lot of new technology.
What motivates you or can motivate you?
I am motivated through my contacts with children, grandchildren, members of retirement clubs. These social contacts help me not to feel lonely.
In your opinion, what are the major roles of retired persons?
From us the younger generation can learn many things, for example, to work, without asking what they will get for the work done.
Let us not forget that we are also learning from the younger generation - the use of new technologies and a new understanding of the world.
Young people are a little more irritable and do not have time to deal with us. They think that we should know everything they know, or if we don’t, we ought to learn it very quickly.
Having in mind representations of elderly persons in media, what would be your message for the younger generations?
My message to the next generations is to preserve Bulgaria as an European country and as an European society by preserving the cultural values and historical heritage that we have received from our parents - language, traditions, customs, attitude towards the elderly!