Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


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…Lately…

I thought I would forgo the picture and travel madness that have consumed my blogging lately and instead update you all on the recent happenings in my little corner of the world… 

-Vince is away on a business trip to Stara Zagora. Not having him around to pester and giggle with is getting to me (and it’s only been one day!) His work said I could go with him but I’ve been there already and I figured I should stay home and get some packing and cleaning done.

-We are moving out of our apartment this week. We’re saying goodbye to Sofia and moving back to Smolyan for a bit.

-Having to give up my apartment on the whim of our landlord and real estate agency for showings is really starting to grate my nerves. I finished reading Maze Runner on my Kindle in the span of two days when I had to go out and sit in the car while our landlord showed our apt. to prospective tenants. It’s just too darn cold to sit out on a bench and read!

-I’ve managed to keep a plant alive since December! We bought this little beauty at Carrefour before Christmas and it’s still hanging in there.

My cute plant

No idea what kind of plant it is, but it’s cute!

-I found a new favorite cookie. These suckers are DE-LISH! They vaguely remind me of Paradise Bakery’s sugar cookies. Yum!

Butter cookies--Mmm!!

Butter cookies. Mmm!

-I spotted the first of the martenitsi stands last week and boy am I excited! Baba Marta is on Friday! I love this time of year in Bulgaria!

-We are hoping to attend this year’s Pesponedelnik/Kukeri festival in Shiroka Laka this weekend. We went last year and it was awesome! We’ve been invited back by the town’s mayor so we are really going to try and make it, even though we will be tired from moving and driving.

-Vince and I went out to dinner at Made in Home over the weekend. While the service was horrendous, the food was yummy and it was a fitting end to our time in Sofia as it was the first restaurant we ate at after moving to the city.

-The strikes and demonstrations continue in downtown Sofia. Bulgaria is without a government and things look like they will get worse before they get better.

-For Valentines’s Day, we went out to dinner at Pizza Niagara (some of the best pizza I’ve eaten in BG) and to a movie; Identity Thief. I needed a good comedy! Movie popcorn in Bulgaria is SO much better than in the states. I don’t quite know what it is!

-Lauren’s post on pancakes made me laugh because Vince is a pancake (crepe?) making machine–it must be a Bulgarian thing! I wake up to a delicious breakfast every weekend. He specializes in Nutella (or whatever knockoff we happen to have at the moment) and banana. They are amazing!

Rollin' up the banana and crepe (pancake?)

Ventsi: The Great Crepe Maker!

Nutella and banana crepes

Reddit. That is all.

I know I’ve been alluding to big changes for Vince and I in the very near future. I apologize for the vagueness; it will all be revealed very soon!

What have you been up to lately?!

W.

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Me=Tattoo Free

Every so often I mull over the idea of getting a tattoo. No roses, butterflies, or horrible tribal design for me. No, I know exactly what I would get and why.

Even with this certainty, it never fails that the second I start seriously considering the idea of getting inked, I have horrible nightmares of getting some huge monstrosity that cannot be removed. I wake up from these dreams and immediately swear off ever considering the idea again. Too permanent. Not for me.

Slowly the fears fade away and the idea comes back.

So what would I get if I did decide to go through with it?

A compass. A nautical or Mariner’s compass, to be exact.

"Tuvieron mucha mar y más que en todo el viaje habían tenido"Back tattooTattoo additionsArt Nouveau Styled Compass Rose

None of these are exactly what I would choose, but they are in the ballpark.

If I were SUPER daring, I might even add an excerpt from one of my favorite quotes by Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.”

I love the design and how it would symbolize my passion for exploring the world and taking grand adventures, both in travels and life in general.

Alas, Vince doesn’t like tattoos and because I have such doubts, I am pretty sure I’ll never go under the needle, but it’s still fun to look at designs now and then!

For all you tattoo-free peeps, do you ever consider getting something done? If so, what?! For those of who do have them, do you ever regret it?

W.

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Iced Tea and Kidney Stones

Iced tea for me

You know that feeling when something you thought was good for you actually turns out to be the opposite?

Yeah, that’s what happened to me recently when I read some articles that were published late last summer detailing the links between drinking iced tea and developing kidney stones (oh, the joys of browsing Reddit!). Contrary to what many of the articles say, there was no study done on the issue. Rather, a Urologist at Loyola University hypothesized that because iced tea (all tea, really) is high in oxalate (what the majority of kidney stones are made of), it can increase development of stones.

I LOVE tea and iced tea especially. In fact, I rarely drink soda and over the summer I drank iced tea all day every day. I practically mainlined the stuff. Employee dining at the lodge where I work in Alaska has a soda machine that has tea and rather than drink soda or the odd-tasting tap water, I drank the unsweetened iced tea. I thought I was being all healthy and whatnot.

Ice Tea at Borough Market

So how does all this apply to me?

You see, I suffer from kidney stones. Err, stone. Luckily, I’ve only had one so far and I try to do all that I can to prevent more. They are horrid little beasts!

Now I am heartbroken that I can’t drink my weight in iced deliciousness everyday like I once did.

#firstworldproblems

Do any of you suffer from devil kidney stones? Are you as devastated by this news as I am? Discuss! 

W.

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Oh, The Things People Google

Already technically posted for today but I thought I’d live on the edge and put up another incredibly random post.

Us bloggers know a few things to be true:

  • Some people leave rude/crude/crazy comments
  • Sometimes our tone and meaning is completely misconstrued and people feel personally wounded/slighted and freak out
  • When you are inspired to post and have plenty of material you never seem to have the time; however, when you have plenty of time you have no inspiration and can’t come up with any material.
  • There will always be a better blogger out there. Relax.
  • People search for the weirdest stuff and somehow end up on your blog, which totally creeps you out some of the time.

A few examples from the past few months:

  • pick up girls on road in Bulgaria
  • paper marriage with Bulgarian girl
  • Bulgarian girls everything do for money
  • i wish i’d never moved to Bulgaria
  • i am looking for Bulgarian husband
  • Bulgarian feet girls
  • picking up young hookers in sofia, bulgaria
  • call girls Bulgaria
  • fat police girl

Yeah. What? Feet girls?

I am clearly somewhat regretting putting both “girl” and “Bulgaria” in my blog title.

Thankfully, from going through my statistics, it looks as if the vast majority of creepy men people who search weird things and end up here almost immediately leave my site.

What are some of the weirdest search terms people have entered to end up on your blog?

W.

P.S. Yesterday, a commenter accused me of stealing my ‘European alleyway’ photos. Um. Huh? All I could do was laugh and trash the comment. I mean really? They are watermarked, copyrighted with a comment embedded into the EXIF data through my camera, posted on my Flickr, etc. I don’t know what else I could possibly do to prove I took them. Ugh. Some people!

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12-12-12 (a day late…whoops!)

Alright, so it’s 3am now on the 13th, but I figure the rather awesome date of 12-12-12 was just too important to go unrecognized.

Important how? Well, I guess because it’s a so called “last of our lifetime” date.

I would have to live to be 116 years old to see it a date like like this again. Yowza!

(Side note: the world’s oldest woman, an American, just died a few days ago at the age of 116. So I suppose it’s actually possible!)

So on this date (or rather a teensy bit after) I figured I would list 12 {completely} random observations I have had since arriving back in Bulgaria and moving into our apartment in Sofia (many of which will feature in their own dedicated posts in the future, I am sure).

Here we go…

  1. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to use our European-style washer and oven. The dials and buttons are pure gibberish and merely jabbing a few and hoping for the best has led to some near catastrophes.
  2. I missed wearing slippers all day, everyday (in the house, of course). It’s been great practically living in them again.
  3. No microwave? What? Turns out I barely miss it.
  4. Oh lyutenitsa…how did I manage to survive without you for so many months? How do American not know about you yet? What is wrong with the world?!
  5. Internet in BG sucks and you throw many little girl tantrums, but then you get it fixed and have wireless again and it’s SO MUCH FASTER than what the rest of you American saps live with. <insert evil laugh here>
  6. Can watching too many episodes of Dexter in a row increase one’s chances of becoming a serial killer?
  7. Bulgarian pizza still {mostly} stinks. But oh! We tried Domino’s tonight and it was almost like pizza at home! Huzzah! (note: I would NEVER eat Domino’s in America. Blech.)
  8. It’s about damn time I learned some Bulgarian.
  9. Can my apartment neighbors see me strutting (not really, more like making a mad dash from the bathroom to our bedroom post-shower) around naked through our sheer curtains? Eff. I sure hope nope–for all our sakes!
  10. I need to take immediate steps to: leave the apartment more, eat less delicious Bulgarian bread, start exercising, and put up vacation blog posts.
  11. MY MOM! VIENNA! ONE WEEK! ahhhhhhhh! 🙂
  12. My husband is a turd sometimes but he’s sweet, charming, and adorable all the time.
  13. (Eh. One more can’t hurt as it’s really 12-13) It’s great to be home.

Hope you all had a great twelve twelve twelve!

Next up: end of the world. 12-21-12. 😉

W.

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Tell Me About Yourself Award

I know I do a lot of these “About Me” types of posts, but I can’t resist adding another to the pile when I am nominated for a blogging award!

A big thanks to Sara over on The Daily Visual Inspiration for the shout out.

Sara, like myself, is a recent Bulgarian transplant. Check out her blog for lots of great posts on Veliko Tarnovo, her love of the Samoyed dog breed, fashion finds, music, and much more!

Here are the “rules”:

1. Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog. (check!)

2. Tell the world 7 things about yourself that you have not shared, yet. (below)

3. Nominate 7 fellow bloggers and let them know.

(I may be a rule follower but I’m going to break this one… I nominate everyone! If you are reading this and have a blog you want me and others to check out, please “tell me about yourself” and post a link to your post in the comments). 

So… 7 things no one knows about me. Hmm. I am not a super private person (hence the blog), and I’m not about to go Post Secret on ya’ll, so these are 7 things about me  that are not well known to those outside my close friends and family.

1. I am mildly allergic to bananas and avocados. I eat both, but often regret it. Bananas cause me to have a little trouble breathing and give me headaches. Avocados give me Angelina Jolie lips.

2. I already have names, first and middle, picked out for my future children. I am wondering how to go about the Bulgarian tradition of using the father’s first name as the children’s middle. So our kids’ middle names should be Ventsislavov (boy) and Ventsislavova (girl). Yeaaaah. I don’t know about that! Sorry, hun! 😉

3. I can’t stand Beyonce. No idea why. It started back in her Destiny’s Child days and continues on. She makes my skin crawl.

4. My biggest attraction in a male is nice hands. I love ’em. For the record, Ventsi’s are perfect!

5. I found my first gray hair when I was 16. I haven’t had many since, but I get one every so often and it completely freaks me out. I have heard that redheads don’t actually “go gray” they go white. AWESOME.

6. I don’t not believe in aliens and ghosts. Maybe it’s too much reality TV (Paranormal State is a particular favorite), but I find that adamantly refusing to believe they exist is a little short sighted, especially when it comes to aliens (I mean, how can humans be the only lifeforms in the entire universe??).

7. I have very little sense of direction. Years before I could drive, I remember asking my mom how people could remember different streets and addresses. She assured me that once I started driving it would be easy. She lied. I totally suck at driving somewhere based on an address. I am awesome with landmarks (tell me what businesses are nearby and I can easily get there), but give me coordinates and it will make me break out in a sweat.

***

There you have it. 7 more things you didn’t really want (or care) to know about me!

Again, please feel free to link up your own “Tell Me About Yourself” post in the comments section.

Later, friends!

W.


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Randomly Me Monday: Volume Nine | 10 Day You Challenge

Heyo!

I’m back again with a Randomly Me post and the 10 Day You Challenge.

This one is going to be short and sweet {probably}.

Seven wants:

1) A baby— Yep. I am baby hungry and not ashamed to admit it! Soon… Soon…

2) A return trip to Scotland–I visited in 2004 when I was 18 years old and it has embedded itself deep into my heart. I look forward to visiting with my hubby and experiencing more of that famous Scottish charm (and sexy as hell accent!).

3) A successful career–Ideally, when I have kids I would love to stay home until they are older. But if that isn’t in the cards, I hope to have a fulfilling career in some sort of tourism, hospitality, or recreation capacity. I would love to stay with Princess in a year round position, whether it be in California, Seattle, or Alaska. I would also love to have my own business selling my handmade jewelry or something else I handcraft. I have also contemplated returning to school to get my Masters degree. Oh! And maybe work as a photographer. Clearly I have not narrowed down my plans!

4) Visit every continent–I once had this as a goal for before I got married, but obviously that didn’t work out!

5) Better my health–AKA lose weight and become more active! I want to be the best me possible.

6) Accomplish all my 30 Before 30 goals–I am slowing making progress and have about 3.5 years to go!

7) Stay passionate–I think having passions in life, whatever they may be, keeps us young, interesting, and happy. I have mine and I am sure I will develop more as I get older.

***

Up next week: six places (SO hard to nail down for a travel bum like me!)

Check out previous weeks’ Randomly Me posts:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

10 Day You Challenge posts:

ten secrets, nine loves, eight fears

Loves!

W.