I had an interesting, albeit semi-unsettling, talk with my Bulgarian friend, B., tonight,
(Just in case he reads this and takes offense-I should clarify that he is actually Macedonian, born in Serbia and holds Croatian citizenship. He only lives in Bulgaria. Yeah. It’s confusing! )
Anyway, I came away from our conversation a bit nervous about moving to Bulgaria.
A few times this summer I have been asked if I will be moving to Bulgaria with Vince. When I respond yes, I am met with puzzled looks and sometimes-snide comments, especially from Bulgarians (okay, pretty much exclusively from Bulgarians).
Why, they ask, would I be moving to Bulgaria when most other young people there are moving out of Bulgaria? Am I crazy?
I can’t say that I don’t get it. I do. Bulgaria isn’t exactly flourishing right now. Vince and I fully expect to have our struggles, just like most every other person living in BG. But until tonight, I suppose I never really fully imagined myself facing specific challenges.
B. recounted stories of greed and corruption. He said to be prepared to be gossiped about and judged. Any success that Vince and I achieve will be begrudged by others, even friends, he says. Although, we shouldn’t really expect much success in Bulgaria, right? 😉
Of course, I had heard about some of the things he mentioned. Vince did pass an exam at school by giving the professor some candy and alcohol. I guess I just never put it into a more personal context. Those things happen to other people! Not Vince and I!
The more I think about it, though, the more determined I become. Maybe I am naïve, but I want the adventure. I want the struggles. I am not moving there expecting to live a cushy life. If I wanted things “easy,” I would stay put in Utah, working the same old job and doing the same old things.
Every place has it weaknesses and strengths. Sometimes it just takes a little appreciation of the good things to help overshadow the bad.
Maybe I am giving Bulgaria a silver lining too early in the game. I know it will take actually being there for a good amount of time before I am able to say whether I can hack it. It may just be too difficult and we will head back to the United States long before we thought we would. Who knows.
So, while talking to B. put me a little on edge, I still feel that moving to BG, at least for a few years, is the best decision for Vince and I.
Maybe all it will take to improve things in Bulgaria are a few more people like us. People willing to stick around and try our hardest to make things better. I hope so anyway!