Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Home Is Wherever I’m With You


I’ve had that song (by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) stuck in my head all day.

Seems highly fitting, I think!

This girl is officially an expat! Holla!

I won’t recap my entire day.5 travel adventure in-depth, but suffice it to say that I still hate Air France, my luggage made it in one piece, and I was one very happy girl to land in Sofia and walk out to my waiting husband.

The 4-hour drive from Sofia to Smolyan started out pretty well. But once it got dark (around 5 pm) I started to fade fast. The roads become treacherous after Asenovgrad, turning from fairly normal and well maintained, to narrow, icy, and pothole ridden death traps. There is nothing that gets my heart racing faster than having to pass on these tiny roads (good thing Vince is driving, I’d be too scared to even try). I was beyond exhausted and simply couldn’t keep my eyes open. I would wake up every so often to make sure Vince wasn’t falling asleep, but other than that I was out for the last 100km of our journey home.

We arrived in Smolyan around 8pm. The night is a bit of a sleep-deprived blur, but I do remember being greeted by my in-laws with hugs and kisses, filling up on a bowl of bean soup (my fav), and digging my pjs out of my suitcase so I could fall into bed. I don’t think I have ever slept so deeply.

Unfortunately, going to bed so early has its disadvantages; I woke up at 6am this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. Oh well, it’s better than the hellacious jet lag I suffered last time I was here!

The rest of our day was spent eating (I feel like all my mother-in-law does is feed me! I am never going to lose any weight here!), unpacking my suitcases (yes, I brought a ridiculous amount of unnecessary stuff, as usual), and shopping for food for tomorrow night.

We drove around town for a bit after shopping so that I could take some photos. Smolyan has quite a bit more snow that it did last time I was here, which was exactly 3 years ago.

In addition to the amazing food they’ve been providing, my in-laws also gave me some amazing gifts tonight: 18k gold necklace and earrings and 2 hand-knit sweaters that my MIL made herself. I am such a lucky girl!

Not going to lie though… I did cry today. Between how tired I still am and falling up some icy steps, I just couldn’t help myself and let the tears flows. They stopped soon enough, however, and I carried on. This will not be my first meltdown in BG. I am sure there are many more to come, but that’s just how I roll!

Like the song says, home to me is wherever I am with the man I love. We are in this together, Vince and I, and I can deal with a few cuts and bruises along the way.

Now for your enjoyment, some photos from my first day back in Bulgaria:


Sunrise over Smolyan

Breakfast: Patatnik and tea. YUM!


Waiting for Vince to pull the car out of the garage, I spotted these two roadies.


Driving down onto the main street


Cathedral of Saint Vissarion of Smolyan


The main street that runs through town


Views from our drive around town


Views from our drive around town




Gotta throw in some artsy shots!


And another...


And one more


Martenitsi in the snow


The colorful houses are a break from all the gray and brown


Showing off my lovely new jewelry and sweater


I love my little Christmas tree!




14 thoughts on “Home Is Wherever I’m With You

  1. I love your photos! You two are so freaking cute!!!

  2. Bulgaria looks AWESOME. I love to travel, but I hate the actual traveling part. Glad that you are settling in!

    • I am not a huge fan of the actual traveling part either. I am beginning to dread flying. Bulgaria is awesome! If you are ever in Eastern Europe I highly recommend you stop here!

  3. So glad to see those pictures!You look fantastic!Have a nice New Year celebration!

  4. W. Glad you made it safe and sound, relax and enjoy! Happy new Year!

  5. Welcome to BUL-GAH-RRRIAAAAH!
    (It’s how the Miss Universe/World contestants declare the names of their countries. I’m assuming this version of Bulgaria.)

    >Like the song says, home to me is wherever I am with the man I love.
    – Right. So ‘Welcome home!”, too.

    With all these photographs, I’m off to a good start in my ‘Learn all about Bulgaria from the inside’ venture. Nice work, Whitney!


  6. Glad you had a safe trip. Those photos are lovely. I especially love the first one, a dark silhouette mixed with color.

  7. You look so happy!!! Congrats on finally getting there. 🙂

  8. So awesome! Hey I want to see some pictures of Vince’s family and where you’re living and all that. 🙂

  9. I came across your blog only a few weeks ago. I have loved your attitude and have an amazing time on your adventure with your husband. Happy New Year!

  10. Great pics Whit! It’s nice to be able to see where you’re living. Looks like Vince’s Mom and Dad spoiled you! Miss you! Hey, please get me your physical and mailing addresses ASAP k?

  11. Beautiful pictures! Hope the jet lag isn’t too bad!

  12. Ahh I love it already! I am so happy that you made it in one piece and that your luggage didn’t get lost. I want to hear how the flights were.. Just think that in 3 months you’ll be back in Utah!

    • I am happy too! I was really worried about my bags, they were stuffed so full! And yep, back in 3 months, then it’s off to Alaska then back to Bulgaria. I have a lot of traveling in my future! Miss you already.

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