Moving to America at five years old, JHS senior PJ Tenev has taught himself how to make America “home”.
PJ moved from Bulgaria in 2004 with his mother, Yanna, reuniting with his father, Georgi, who had left for America years before. For most of PJ’s life, he had grown up without his father due to him leaving in search of a stable job.
However the time eventually came for the family to be together again.
Once the family reunited in Jeffersonville, the Tenev’s searched to find a better economically-stable lifestyle for their whole family. When living in Bulgaria, the country was still suffering from the effects of Socialism which made things more difficult on their family.
“Moving to America was very stressful and culturally different, but has enhanced our family’s viewpoint on life,” said Yanna.
Yanna and Georgi, had to study for new occupations and figure out what could support them best in America. Because of the many different rules and regulations in the U.S, they had to leave their occupations behind.
His mother was once a lawyer in Bulgaria, but because of practice requirements in the U.S., she instead started to study nursing. His father did little mechanic work in his native country, but kept learning and now has made it a living.
Difficulty, though, came with the learning in language. Bulgarian was spoken the most in Bulgaria, and neighboring countries spoke Russian.
However PJ had to use a unique way to learn his English.
“I learned the majority of my English through TV primarily,” PJ says.
Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, two Disney Channel shows, helped him most. English had always been a tough concept to grasp for Tenev, but living in an English-speaking country and going to school everyday with people who only speak English, he had to adapt quickly.
“He is a very goal-oriented person that rubs off onto everyone around him and I’m lucky to have him as a friend,” senior William Griffey says of Tenev.
PJ has been a part of many things around school and the city of Jeffersonville, but something he has focused on is soccer. For 10 years now Tenev has played soccer. He just recently finished his last season of playing at Jeff High.
“My favorite part about soccer was the brotherhood between all the players. I think it’s a really exciting game and way more physical than any bystander may think,” PJ says.
He has been a starter all four years at Jeffersonville High School, and played as a midfielder. Soccer is one of the most common and well-known sports in Bulgaria, but Tenev never gained interest or even learned until he moved to America.
Moving to another country, PJ had to begin a whole new lifestyle. He, and his family, have had to succumb to many new circumstances and obstacles when they moved.
Tenev is now a senior at Jeffersonville High School, speaks English fluently, and regularly. He considers America home and has never looked back.
“Living in America has been amazing because I have been introduced to so many new cultures and ideals,” Tenev says. “It has given me a chance to have everything I have and everything I have wanted in life for myself and my family.”