The presence of the past

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


My grandmother has a favorite saying: “Don’t dig up the past. Dwell on the past and you’ll lose an eye.�? But then the saying goes on: “Forget the past and you’ll lose both eyes.�? Since I came to study in the United States, two urges have been struggling inside me. The first is the urge to cast off the past, to defy it, erase it completely, like a nightmare that was real and terrifying, but which by morning has all but vanished from conscious memory. I could make a clean break, start a new life as different and distant from my past as one’s waking hours are from the sleeping hours. Indeed, what is the sense of waking from the nightmare if only to spend the rest of the day cowering before its images? Why leave Bulgaria if only to go through life recounting, rethinking, revisiting my difficult and often miserable experiences there? The second urge is the all too human desire to unload what I have been forced to keep hidden inside me, to speak of my unspeakable past, to allow to flow freely in my life the effects of the painful and dehumanizing circumstances of growing up in my native country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCrossing Customs
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Students Write on U.S. College Life and Culture
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781135688103
ISBN (Print)0815333951, 9780815333951
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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