Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Leave a comment

Utah Winters

If you are new around these parts you may not know that I am from Utah, which boasts “The Greatest Snow on Earth.” The winters in the Beehive state range from “Snow-pocalypse” type affairs with so much snow (I remember a storm where when I was in Elementary where we got close to 5 feet in a day) that schools and businesses shut down and there are mass power outages, to more mild winters that result in drought conditions in the spring and summer (like what happened last year).

But in winters like the one the state is experiencing this year, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Utah is a desert. It makes for great skiing at the many ski resorts but not-so-great times for commuters.

My cousin just posted on her blog about the recent freezing rain that Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas have been experiencing. Here’s a video that was taken on the BYU campus yesterday morning:

That’s just crazy right there. I am extremely uncoordinated, so I KNOW I would be the girl face planting into the asphalt and being taken away by paramedics. I am not steady on slick surfaces whatsoever!

It’s in times like these – where I am hearing crazy stories from family and friends back home about Utah’s winter conditions – that I am so thankful to be here in overcast and chilly (but not snowy) Sofia. Winter here in the capital hasn’t packed much of a punch; at least so far. We’ve had a few snow flurries, but they seem to melt pretty quickly. It has rained a bit the past few days, but Tuesday was downright balmy and people were out in the city in full force enjoying the sunshine and warmer temps. Here’s a video I shot that day during the Free Sofia Tour (post to come) that shows how lovely the weather was:

I absolutely hate driving in snowy and icy conditions, so I am really glad to be here in Bulgaria (w/ my husband as chauffeur) rather than driving up icy hills everyday like I would be if I were still in SLC and working at the University of Utah. I think those years of my life have shortened my overall lifespan. *shudder*

So, to all my friends and family back in Utah…keep your head up! Spring will be here soon enough!

W.

: : :

RSS feed | Facebook | TwitterTumblr | Pinterest | Flickr | Goodreads


1 Comment

Fun Times Ahead

Whew! It feels like my mom just left and we already have another guest arriving from the states!

K, my friend/boss (and fellow Utah girl) flies into Sofia tomorrow afternoon. We’ve got some fun things planned for her 2-week visit.

On Saturday Vince, K, and myself are heading down to spend the night in Plovdiv. A group of about 20 Denali peeps are getting together for food, drinks, and good company. I am sure the horo will be danced at some point as well; most likely post-drinks! I haven’t seen everyone since leaving Alaska at the end of September, so it should be a good time.

Then Sunday Vince will head back to Sofia while K. and I catch a night bus (slightly scary prospect) to Istanbul. We’re meeting another friend in the city for 4 days of adventures, including consuming a ridiculous amount of baklava and Turkish coffee! I’ve been to Istanbul before but only for a day on our first Med. cruise. It was actually one of the biggest surprises of the trip; completely different than I had envisioned. And the Grand Bazaar? I am still trying to wrap my mind around it!

I am really excited to be able to see some things I missed last time around; such as the cisterns, spice market, and maybe even a whirling dervish show!

After that it’s exploring Sofia and maybe a weekend trip to Rila or Koprivshtitsa (if we can talk Vince into being our chauffeur!).

It’ll probably be a little quiet around these parts for the next few weeks as I play hostess, but I’ll be back soon enough!

W.

: : :

RSS feed | Facebook | TwitterTumblr | Pinterest | Flickr | Goodreads


1 Comment

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:

Continue reading


2 Comments

2012 Fall Firsts

Sunday night family dinners are pretty important to my family. It’s especially nice for me when we get together because I am so rarely in Utah these days. My grandmother passed away at the end of July , so our dinners are definitely not the same anymore, but I enjoy them nonetheless.

Tonight we had a casual dinner out to celebrate my uncle’s birthday. After dinner we headed back to my grandpa’s house to have some pie and just spend some time together.

We (well, my cousin, M. to be specific) took this opportunity to carve our first pumpkin of the season. The second the top was removed and the seeds and ‘guts’ we pulled out, I knew it was officially fall. That smell is irresistible!

For my cousin’s birthday party next weekend we are carving pumpkins as well. I bought a knife kit from Target a few shopping trips ago (ah, there have been so many since being home), so I’m all set to get my carvin’ on!

I’m not generally a pie person, but I did have a bite of pumpkin pie tonight and it was delicious.

All in all it was a fun night with the fam. I only have a few more weeks left to spend time with everyone and top enjoy autumn in Salt Lake City.

Autumn in Sofia awaits my arrival!

W.

: : :

RSS feed | Facebook | TwitterTumblr | Pinterest | Flickr


5 Comments

Field Trip to Tracy Aviary

I’ve been back in Utah for just over 2 weeks now and so far it’s been a fairly productive visit. First the zoo and now the aviary; I’m on an animal kick, apparently! Now I just have to hit up the aquarium to round the visit out!

: : :

Tracy Aviary

Earlier this week I helped chaperone a field trip to Tracy Aviary for my cousin, A., who is in the 1st grade. Luckily, I only had 3 kids with me and there was another parent in our group, so definitely manageable!

Riding on the school bus with all the excited kiddies sure took me back to my elementary field trip days.

I haven’t been to the aviary in years (I was probably a 1st grader myself), so it was pretty much an all new experience for me!

Swan? Duck? I don't remember!

Continue reading


2 Comments

…Lately…

In case you couldn’t tell from my last few posts, I have left my beloved Alaska and ventured back to my home state of Utah.

I made a brief (and super stressful) stop in Los Angeles for one night to visit the Bulgarian Consulate to apply for my long-stay visa (detailed post to come).

I cannot believe how fast the summer went by. Denali, as always, was a blur of fun times, stress, and craziness; and I am sure going to miss it.

I’ll be slummin’ it at my mom’s house (sleeping on an air mattress in my bedroom) for the next month before jet setting back to Bulgaria.

A certain handsome Bulgarian man is eagerly awaiting my arrival, and I his amazing hugs and sweet smell.

In other news..

Lately I have been:

Watching: You name it. After nearly 5 months of little to no internet (which meant no Hulu, YouTube, etc.), I am more than catching up on my fair share of mindless entertainment. I only have a short time to watch everything before going back to Bulgaria, land of crappy website access. Specific favorites include New Girl (love me some Zooey Deschanel), The Office (it’s the last season, *tear*), House Hunters International (did I ever mention that I was contacted by the casting director for this show about Vince and I doing an episode? HA! All I could do was laugh and politely decline. As much as I love watching the show, I am not the type to be on the show) , and of course, hours of beauty gurus, music videos, and vlogs on ‘The Tube’ (YouTube).

Listening to: Similar to my round-the-clock catch-up on TV and the internet, I have also been listening to music like crazy. It’s awesome having Spotify back regularly. A few specific artists/bands that I have been enjoying lately are Mumford and Sons (sorry if you are tired of hearing me talk about them!), Foster the People, The Decemberists, Bon Iver, Of Monsters and Men, and Augustana. I’m working on another ‘On Rotation’ post, so stay tuned for that!

Eating: I actually haven’t gone as nuts as I thought I would in the food department since being back in UT. That will likely change as my departure to Bulgaria gets closer. As much as I adore Bulgarian food, there are just some things from home that I dearly miss when I am away.

Wishing: OK, it’s more like PRAYING that my long-stay Bulgarian visa arrives before my flight in November. I think I may have booked my departure date too soon. The consulate said the visa will take about 30 business days; my flight is on the 31st business day. Holy. Schnikies. Please send good vibes my way! Paying to change my flight is the last thing that I need right now!

Anticipating: AH! SO many things! I am really anticipating getting back to Bulgaria and my hubs, of course. I am also extremely excited for my upcoming travels (a post coming soon), living and adventuring in Sofia, my 27th birthday, my first Christmas abroad, my MIL’s cooking, and making new friends (on that note, if you live in Sofia, or anywhere in BG for that matter, please send me an email–I’d love to meet up!)

Well. That’s all for now, folks!

As always, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere.

W.

: : :

RSS feed | Facebook | TwitterTumblr | Pinterest | Flickr


4 Comments

An Afternoon at the Zoo

Utah's Hogle Zoo

On Sunday, my 6-year-old cousin, A,, and I headed to Hogle Zoo, located in Salt Lake City.

I haven’t been to the zoo since last year, so the changes were a bit of a shock.

The iconic mini-train ride of my childhood is no more. In its place is a mass of fencing, mounds of dirt, and signs for the upcoming ‘African Savanna’ opening in 2014. I’m glad we’re getting the African cats back (they’ve been gone for a few years now as the zoo is doing its exhibits by geographic region rather than just a mix of everything), but I’m going to miss the random assortment of animals visible from the train ride: buffalo, sheep, etc.

**Update! After scoping out the zoo’s website, I am happy to report that the train will reopen in 2014 and feature a longer ride around the new African Savanna exhibit! We’re talkin’ free-roamin’ giraffes, zebras, and ostriches. Nice!**

Baby Zuri
Baby Zuri

Elephants

Continue reading