Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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2012: A Year in Review

2012_blog

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is coming to a close. This year has been very eventful indeed and saw me moving from America to Bulgaria, confronting life (and a fair amount of culture shock) as a new expat, exploring my new home, venturing back to Denali, Alaska for a third summer working for Princess Cruises; time spent at home in Utah with friends and family, another leap across the pond to Bulgaria, and reveling in a ridiculous amount of incredible travels.

While part of me is sad to see such a jam-packed year pass, the rest of me is looking forward to the BIG changes and adventures that 2013 holds. There is already a lot in the works and Vince and I are excited for everything to come.

As I reflect back on 2012 and all that I have experienced, I wanted to share some of the highlights from this year that made their way into blog posts.

(It’s a long one guys!)

January:

February:

March:

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The Eagle Has Landed… But is Taking Off Again Shortly!

She’s here!

My mom made it to Sofia in one piece.

We’ve just spent the last few hours catching up and unpacking her stuff.

We don’t have much time to relax, however, because we’re all off to Vienna in a few hours to kick off the holidays by wandering Christmas Markets, drinking mulled wine, buying festive gifts, and eating Sacher Torte!

Next week our Bulgarian adventures begin. I can’t wait to show her around my new home and introduce her to the in-laws.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend and are spending it with the ones you love.

W.

: : :

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GMB’s Chocolate Chip & Walnut Cookies

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

Spending your first Christmas away from is home hard. Spending that Christmas overseas is even harder.

But I’m doing my best to enjoy the season and get into the holiday spirit. And nothing says holidays like a big plate of cookies!

Baking is one of my favorite things to do, and while the kitchen may look like a tornado hit it when I’m through, the results are worth it.

I hope the hubs and my mom (who arrives in Sofia tomorrow! EEK!) enjoy them. And if you make them, I hope you do too!

Without further ado…

GMB’s Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ c white sugar
  • ½ c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ c all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ c chopped walnuts

: : :

Preheat oven to 300F (174C)

Cream together white sugar, brown sugar, and softened butter. Stir in vanilla. Beat in egg until smooth. Add salt and baking soda, stir. Combine flour, chocolate chips, and walnuts until well mixed.

Drop large spoonfuls onto ungreased backing pan

Cook for 10 min. or until golden brown around edges

Makes: 2 dozen

*I usually double this recipe, but while we’d love to devour 48 cookies, 2 dozen is much more manageable!

Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Happy baking!

W.

: : :

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The Hobbit, Shopping, and a Visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market

I spend a lot of time indoors by myself these days, so when the weekends roll around I am more than ready to head out into the city for some fun.

This week was even more solitary than usual as Vince was out of town on business for a few days and then had to work on Saturday to make up for a day off awhile back (I will never understand this weird Bulgarian obligation to make up days off. How is it a day off if it has to be made up?). Anyway, by yesterday (Sunday) morning, I was dying to get outside and do something. Anything! 

On the agenda: shopping, The Hobbit, a visit to Sofia’s Christmas Market, and dinner.

Giant Christmas Tree in downtown SofiaMy mom is flying into Sofia on Friday to spend Christmas with us, so we had to go out and buy an extra pillow and a few other things. We hit up The Mall (yep, one of the malls in Sofia is named The Mall–clever or lazy? I can’t decide.) because we could do all our shopping and see the movie in one place. I usually avoid malls like the plague this time of year, but we braved the packed parking lots and masses of people to get what we needed at Carrefour.

After dropping everything off at our car, we headed back into the mall to the movie theater. I am a huge LOTR fan, so I knew I had to see The Hobbit on the big screen. I usually hate seeing movies in 3D, but apparently it was the only way they were showing the movie, so we donned our attractive glasses and settled in. I didn’t tell Vince that it was a 3-hour movie until it was too late for him to back out. He wasn’t too happy about the length but he ended up really enjoying the film. I did too.

Gandalf--The Hobbit

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving cheer distributed for men in service. New York City turned host to the boys in service today and cared for every man in uniform. Underwood and Underwood: ca. 1918

Today Vince and I are celebrating Thanksgiving at sea. We are somewhere between Italy and Greece, soakin’ up the Mediterranean sun.

Well, I’m thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving. Vince doesn’t have a clue what the holiday is (yet), so he’s just providing moral support.

This is the first Thanksgiving that I have ever spent away from my family back home in Utah.

Hmph.

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