In August 1997, Rali and I were the kumove ("best couple") at the wedding of our friends Alex and Svetla in Plovdiv. You'll see more about the wedding below. On January 22, 1999, they had their first child, Nicoletta Alexandrova Dancheva. This meant that I became a krustnik ("godfather") for the first time. We went to visit Alex, Svetla, and Nicki on February 20, 1999. Nicki's just 29 days old in this photo. The grown-ups, left to right, are Svetla, me, and Alex.
Nicki was about 3 kilograms at the time, which is about the size of our smaller cat. But this was a real living human being I was holding. Can you tell I don't spend much time around infants? Boy, was I nervous.
Alex and Svetla let me hold Nicki for quite a long time. Although my extreme nervousness eventually turned into a mild state of worry, I couldn't help sweating like crazy. Rali was greatly enjoying this, of course.
Check out that big thick head of black hair. Alex and Svetla assured us that she'd be blonde within a month.
Despite my nervousness, despite my sweating, I didn't want to hand Nicki back. But eventually Rali got a turn to hold her.
I expect there will be lots more photos of Nicki here over time. I've never been a krustnik before, so indulge me this time!
Back to Alex and Svetla's wedding. In Bulgaria, the married couple usually chooses a best couple, rather than a separate best man and maid/matron of honor. Here's the kuma (Rali) with the bulka (Svetla) before the whole party arrived at Svetla's parents' apartment to pick her up.
A wedding normally includes two ceremonies. First is the civil ceremony, where a municipal official marries the couple in the eyes of the law, then is the church ceremony, where a priest marries the couple in the eyes of God. Here we are at the civil ceremony. Alex had just been asked whether he understood what he was doing, etc., and he replied with a quiet da ("yes"). Since it wasn't very loud, he tried again, but it still wasn't very loud, so he barked a strong and distinctive DA the third time. That one did the trick.
After we came outside after the church wedding, Alex and I weren't above a little silliness. You'd have to ask Svetla how safe she felt with us guarding her.
After the church wedding, we headed to an attractive restaurant for the reception. Somebody sneaked over to the head table and got a candid shot of the lovely bride. It wasn't me!
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