The young Emiliyana Blagoeva left Bulgaria to settle with her family in Toronto in 2000. It was not because they needed to, as she and her husband worked in Bulgaria and had a stable income. The reason for leaving was their strong desire to make their way in life without the protection of influential parents. Today, the couple are happy parents of three children, and each has found happiness in the sector that interests them. Emiliyana is a physical therapist and yoga teacher, as she always wanted to be.
“Since Bulgaria, when I was a young physiotherapist, I realized that one treatment method was not enough. I chose this profession because I had always connected people’s health with herbal medicine, natural methods of treatment and not antibiotics and surgery, – says Emy as her friends call her. – I have been involved in yoga since I was 12 when I read the first book about it, and I strongly believe that prophylaxis is the best treatment.”
She believes that even today, despite the dizzying pace of life, yoga has its place reserved. “I have been leading yoga classes since Bulgaria, starting in 1990. I have to say that in the 90s it was just a defined circle of people with special interests. And now I get calls from old friends who say: ‘Teach me to meditate'”, adds Emy, but at the same time explains: “Yoga, however, is not a system of physical exercises but a whole way of life. The word itself means connection, relationship. In particular, it is the merging of our individual energy with the cosmic energy.”
When she arrived in Canada in 2000, it seemed like a dream country – with a stable middle class and a very good education. As the years go by, she begins to feel more and more strongly that she misses Bulgaria and dreams with her husband to retire sooner to return to Bulgarian soil:
“Bulgaria is an excellent country. If I have to describe it in two words, I would say – it is indeed paradise as they sing in the national anthem. But I became aware of this only after long years of emigration.”
Emiliyana is also keen for her children to keep ties with their roots. The family goes back to Bulgaria every summer, they tour the country, the children make new friends. Emy is adamant that mastering Bulgarian is something very important to them:
“We have unspoken rules that all of us follow – we all speak Bulgarian at home. If my children ask me questions in English, I tell them that I don’t understand them. So they feel obliged to speak Bulgarian. The children also attend the Bulgarian Sunday School in Toronto, which has a very professional teaching staff. So my children also get to know the Bulgarian spirit.”
“The Bulgarian Community in Toronto is very active and all of us like Bulgaria very much. There is also a very large Jewish community in Toronto. The grandson of King Boris III, Hermann Leiningen who gives lectures in synagogues and talks about the role of Bulgaria during the Second World War when Bulgarian Jews had been saved.”