Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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Random 5 Friday

Yes. I am still alive.

Yes. I am LOVING being back in Alaska, my job, and all the adventures that both provide.

Yes. I still blog (albeit very infrequently these day).

Hoping to change that soon.

(don’t know why I am answering questions that no one is asking…)

I figured I’d jump back in to the blogging world with a short, fun post. Just my style!

I almost forgot I had a husband. That's how busy I've been! ;)
Welcome to my first Random 5 Friday.

1. I haven’t picked up my “Big Girl” camera (Nikon D90) in weeks. My iPhone 5 is now my go-to camera of choice; mostly because of its convenience (read: SO much easier to carry around than my huge DSLR!).

2. The lodge opened a little over two weeks ago to snow and freezing temps. Flash forward to today and we are in the low 80’s. Overnight the trees started to sprout leaves and there are even hints of the famous Alaska wildflowers showing here and there.

Holy moly... It's hot outside! And to think, it was snowing just a few weeks ago!

3. We are beyond excited to be getting a new car. We won’t be buying anything until July, but I can already feel the wind in my hair; hear the blasting radio (well…not too loud. I hate loud music), and see the stunning scenery along Alaska’s Parks Highway. I won’t like having a car payment again, but living in the sticks demands transportation in order to maintain some semblance of sanity!

4. So far this season I have met a Snowy Own, Great Gray Owl, and a Bald Eagle. The bird program at the lodge is awesome!

Petra the Bald Eagle joined us today. She is beautiful!My co-workers are pretty cool!This is my kind of display table... Frozen rats and all!

5. I’ve never been a big coffee drinker, but living in Bulgaria and now having access to barista-made coffee drinks daily (at our espresso bar) have made me a convert.

 Feel free to link up your own R5F post below.

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First Week

I’ve been back in Alaska for a week now and what a week it has been!

A nice note outside my office. #newjob #awarmwelcome

Over the past seven days I:

-traveled from Utah to Alaska

-moved into our summer room at the lodge

-started my new year round job with Princess

-delighted in the fact that I now have a “big kid” job (and even my own office!)

-ventured into Trapper Creek for a mail run and coffee treat

-breathed a sigh of relief when Vince passed through immigration at Salt Lake City International – my man is now a permanent U.S. resident!

and just generally reveled in being back in one of my favorite places on earth

Never going to get sick of seeing this beautiful mountain! Can't believe I live here! #mckinley #alaskaA quiet Friday night. #tgif #silent #alaska #sorelaxing

The only thing missing is my sweet hubs.

Thank goodness he gets here in just a few days!

W.

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On Food

I love Bulgarian food, don’t get me wrong. But this time around, I got a little sick of the same things over and over and I longed for the variety that America provides.

(this variety and the enormous American portions are precisely why I am less than svelte!)

Since being back in Utah, I have eaten pretty much everything I craved while in Bulgaria. This, of course, means that I have had pizza (more than once), Mexican, Italian, Thai, and random junk food and candy.Lunch date with mom and Sher. #deliciousthai #yum #welikeitspicyBeer and a pie at Flat Bread Neapolitan PizzaThe BEST lemonade in the world!Cafe Rio pork burrito

The novelty is quickly wearing off and I find myself wanting my mother-in-law’s bean soup, baklava, mekitsi, and…well… pretty much everything she makes!

Alaska poses some challenges when it comes to food. Vince and I will not have our own full kitchen in our room in employee housing at the lodge. We will have a mini-fridge and microwave. During the summer not having a kitchen isn’t much of a concern as we will be eating in the employee dining room and there are TONS of options. When winter rolls around, however, and the lodge is closed…making all our meals college dorm-style is going to be interesting!

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Spring in Salt Lake

Happy to be back amongst these gorgeous mountains! #saltlake #utah #rockies #mountainloverUtah weather is fickle. It can be sunny and beautiful one day and then snowy any gray the next. I’ve lived in Salt Lake City (err… a suburb of the city, anyway) all my life, but I am still not used to sudden weather changes.

#supposedtobespring #utahweatherTrees in my brother's backyard. #trees #sky #isthisspring?

When I got back to SLC about a week and a half ago, the weather was gorgeous. The first day of spring brought rain and snow. After such a mild winter in Bulgaria this year, I was actually a little glad to get to experience some real Utah snow. Even with the cold snap, spring is still making an appearance.
#beautiful #spring #flowersEven with the recent snowfall, Spring is still making a show! #utah #saltlake #springflowersDespite the cold, Spring is making an appearance!While the weather is sure to warm up quickly here, I can’t say the same for Alaska – where I am headed this weekend.

Over the weekend, Trapper Creek (my new home!) got over 3 feet of snow. With winter weather advisories still in place for parts of the state, it looks like Spring is still a glimmer in the distance for the 49th state!

I’m a little stressed because my winter boots and wool coat are in Bulgaria. It looks like I will have to make do with whatever I can scrounge up at my mom’s house for a few weeks!

How is Spring doing where you are? 

W.

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Approved!

Vince went to his visa interview at the U.S. Embassy today and was approved! He said it only took about an hour total and they’ll be sending his visa to him in a few days. I didn’t mind him waking me up from a dead sleep at 6am this morning to tell me because I had been stressing about it a little bit even though I knew he would do fine.

He didn’t get the Bulgarian & American flag combo that some applicants get. Bummer!

It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we are done with his immigration. It’s been a long 10 months full of paperwork, fees, and stress; but we are thrilled to have come through it all relatively unscathed and are really looking forward to starting our life together in the U.S.

The only hurdles left are adjusting his status in a few months (90 days before our second wedding anniversary) and then his citizenship in a few years. After going through the Bulgarian D-visa process and then the Green Card process…I am pretty sure we can handle anything!

I contemplated writing up a wiki or post on our experiences and how we did his CR1 visa for those also going through it, but now that we are done I just want to put it behind us. If you happen upon this post and have any questions, I will do my best to help you out. Just email me at whitney @ girlmeetsbulgaria.com

A Very Happy Wife,

W.

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…Lately…

Hey all!

I’m alive! I survived an especially awful trip back to the U.S. in {mostly} one piece.

I hate airports and flying more and more each time I travel. The Delta terminal at JFK is as disgusting as ever. I had an overnight layover there and it was a long night, to say the least. Thankfully, I haven’t had much jet lag this time around – I always find it easier to adjust when returning to the states.

After a big to-do over my second suitcase with Polish Airlines at the airport in Sofia, I decided to leave ALL of my clothing in Bulgaria to avoid paying their ridiculous €150 fee. Luckily, I still had some clothes at my mom’s house, so I am not entirely desperate! Vince will be bringing my things over with him when he comes over next month.Happy to be home with my favorite little lady. #firstinstagram #cousins #rockingthesouvenirvenetianmask

It’s been a whirlwind of family and friend time (especially with my little lady), shopping, and sleeping since I got home on Friday morning. Yesterday I went to the Mummies of the World Exhibit in Salt Lake with my family and a friend. It was awesome! I love mummies!

Mummies rock! #mummiesexhibition #historynerd

My biggest time suck (and reason I have been neglecting this here blog) is my new iPhone 5! Yep. I finally took the plunge into the world of smartphones and joined the Apple masses. So far…I LOVE IT! I bought one for Vince as well and as much as he wouldn’t like to admit it, he’s excited as well. As you all probably know, I am a photography freak, so having a phone with a nice camera and access to apps like Instagram is awesome! Oh, and don’t even get me started on my growing obsession with the game Hay Day (shameless plug, if you play the game, add me as a friend: WhitneyPBG); who knew I would be into farming?! 😉

On that note, if you’d like to follow me on Instagram my name is whitneydimova.Out the window. #viewfromhere #Murray #almostspring

Hope you are all doing well! Talk to you soon!

W.

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Saying Goodbye & Moving On

goodbyeBG(did I just call myself a cow with that photo? Meh. It’s a cute cow. I’ll take it!)

Thanks to the magic of post scheduling, as you read this I am on a plane bound for America. My first stop before touching down on U.S. soil–at the ever-lovely and non bird-infested (*note the sarcasm) JFK–is Warsaw, Poland. Oh how I wish I had a loooong layover there so I could go out and explore!

While leaving Bulgaria is hard and a big part of me regrets making the decision, I know that there are so many more adventures ahead for Vince and I. Alaska is amazing and we can’t wait to start our lives there.

I’m not generally a sappy person, so I won’t go on and on. Suffice it to say that this is a difficult thing for us to do but we are happy to be moving forward. We’ll be visiting Bulgaria whenever we get the chance, so BG posts will continue–never fear!

I may no longer be an “official” expat, but I think I’ll always be one at heart!

(If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here)

Thanks for following along with us on this crazy journey of ours! Stick around. There is a lot more to come!

W.

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