Journeys of Discovery: From Templeton to Bulgaria—a Californian’s search for cultural roots

Apr 9, 2021

Correspondent Randi Hair reports from Templeton, California where she visits with Eric Alexiev who spent his formative years on the central coast. His father was born and raised in Bulgaria and Eric was immersed as a kid with the cuisine, culture, and stories shared by his father, Alex Alexiev, and Bulgarian friends at the dinner table. The capital city of Sophia and Bulgaria were ingrained in Eric’s thoughts as he grew up.

Two years after leaving Templeton High School, Alexiev first visited Bulgaria in 2013. He says, “it felt as familiar as any unknown place could feel. I decided to try living in Bulgaria and I moved to the capital city of Sofia in early 2019”.

Join the conversation with Ms. Hair and Eric Alexiev about why he moved to Bulgaria and tales about what a native Californian might experience--the good and bad—relative to living in Eastern Europe. Eric works for Bulgarian Analytica a socio-political website based in Sophia, Bulgaria.

Eric’s grandfather, Rayko Nikolov Aleksiev (Bulgarian: Райко Николов Алексиев) was born in 1893. Rayko was a revered Bulgarian, painter, caricaturist, and created the hugely popular satirical Bulgarian newspaper, Shturets in 1932.


Known for his uncompromising satire, Aleksiev was especially despised by Bulgarian communists due to his legendary caricatures of Joseph Stalin. After the Bulgarian coup d'état of 1944 he was arrested by the newly formed people's militia and severely beaten over the course of several days. He died from his wounds, Rayko Aleksiev was posthumously sentenced to death by the People's Court.


Underwriting support provided by Nashville's Big Back Yard economic initiative focused on rural communities in the southwest quarter of Tennessee and the Shoals Region of Northern Alabama.


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