BULGARIANS ARE SIMILAR TO SYRIANS
The family of Amer Tarek Atassi, 53, PR specialist, and Eshrak Al Bairuti, 33, is from Damask, Syria. They arrived in Bulgaria in the end of 2014, after Amer's contract with a company in Dubai expired and returning to a war zone was unthinkable. They are applying for asylum and live at the Ovcha Kupel Sofia camp of the State Agency for Refugees.
Have you experienced special treatment because you are foreigners?
Amer: They have always been very good to us. The Bulgarians are good people, our children study at the 66th school. Sometimes in the bus ladies give their seats to my boys.
Eshrak: Sometimes people are taken aback when they see me because I look different.
Can you single out a typical Bulgarian character trait?
Amer: Bulgarian society is close to the Syrian, I don't think I can point to something typically Bulgarian. The treatment of foreigners is very good, no one says: "You are a foreigner, I won't eat your food."
Has Bulgaria surprised you?
Amer: With the similarity to Syria and our live there. The nature, the food, the vegetables are similar. Even the buildings and urban planning are close.
Do you know of any Bulgarian holidays?
Amer: The kids put on Martenitsa. But we are still not much into the culture.
Describe Bulgaria in three words?
Eshrak: Nice country. Good, peaceful people.
What does it take to be Bulgarian?
Amer: In Dubai, I met people from all over the world, including Bulgarians. Unlike the West Europeans, the Bulgarians are not so haughty in their social contacts, it is easier to communicate with them.
Do you plan to stay in Bulgaria?
Amer: I would like to. The Bulgarian people is close to the Syrian people and we can easy adapt here. Besides, the standard of living is not that high and even the start-up of a business here would be easier than in Western Europe.