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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…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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…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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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 Eleven | 10 Day You Challenge

Up today: five foods

Thought I’d do a bit of a love/hate combo for this one…

–Loves–

1) Pizza–Yum! I’m not into the pies with a huge number of toppings or gourmet ingredients, I am a plain ol’ pepperoni and cheese kind of girl. When I visited Chicago last fall, I made sure to hit up some of the city’s most famous pizzerias. My opinion? Chicago deep dish doesn’t hold a candle to New York thin crust.

2) Seafood–Crab legs are a particular favorite. When I sit and think about it, crabs and lobsters are a bit gross, but they sure do taste delicious!

3) Veggies–There really isn’t a vegetable that I don’t like. I am much more a veggie person than a fruit person. Thankfully, the salad bars offered in Princess employee dining are well stocked. This will come in handy next month when I attempt to become vegetarian for 30 days (one of my 30 before 30 goals).

–Hates–

4) Cheese–OK, not all cheese, but most. I like real cheddar and mozzarella. That’s about it. Anything that smells like feet, comes from a goat, or  has visible mold? NO THANKS!

5) Veal–I am not a big red meat eater in general, but I will eat steak and hamburger. I have never eaten veal and I don’t think I ever will. I know it’s hypocritical not to eat it because of the way the calfs (or is it calves?) are treated when the adults are treated poorly as well, but mentally I just can’t do it.

***

There you have it. A bit of a boring blurb on my eating habits.

I think four books will be a bit more interesting!

W.

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Want to see previous posts in this series?

Randomly Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

10 Day You Challenge: ten secrets, nine loves, eight fears, seven wants, six places

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Please support my blog through following, subscribing to my RSS feed, connecting with me on Twitter, or liking GMB on Facebook.

I truly appreciate it!


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Randomly Me Monday: Volume Eight | 10 Day You Challenge

Hey, ya’ll!

I made it to Healy (Alaska) on Thursday and I think I have finally settled in.

The past few days have been a blur of training, unpacking, organizing, and just plain lazing about.

I don’t have any internet yet in my housing, so blog posts will be few and far between for the time being, unfortunately.

But, I thought I’d walk my butt across the road for some internet so I could get this post up.

Aren’t you thrilled?! 😉

Carrying on this week with the 10 Day You Challenge.

ten secrets, nine loves

Eight fears:

First off, I should say that I am not an overly fearful person. I try to have an optimistic view on life and see fear mostly as a waste of precious time. That being said, there are a few things that came to mind for this prompt…

1) Creepy crawlies–I have mentioned it before, but I have a huge fear of bugs. Spiders are especially scream inducing. I just think they are gross and don’t want them anywhere near me.

2) Heights–As long as I am strapped into/onto something, heights don’t really bother me; but if I am not…no thank you!

3) Being accused or convicted of a crime I didn’t commit–I can’t imagine anything worse than being thrown into jail for a crime I did not do. The thought freaks me out to no end. This is why the death penalty doesn’t sit so well with me. There have been cases of inmates on death row being exonerated of their crimes after years spent behind bars. It’s definitely something that gets me thinking.

4) Car accidents–This may sound morbid, but I think I would rather die of a disease or sickness than in a car crash. I know it may often be a quicker way to go, but the fear associated with it just scares me. I am fanatic about wearing a seat belt and I make any passengers in a car I am driving buckle up.

5) Being away from home if something happens–As a nomad at heart, being away from “home” (family and friends) for extended periods of time always makes my worrisome nature intensify. I fear that something major will happen and I won’t be able to get back quick enough. I am sure this is a fear that many expats and travelers have, but it’s something that is always in the back of my mind when I am away from Utah (and now Bulgaria).

6) Failure–I have a competitive nature and I hate failing. I think the fear comes in when I think about my long term future. I want to be successful in whatever it is that I choose to do. Right now these fears involve my career plans, family plans, and the big question of where Vince and I will find ourselves settled.

7) Hippos–Alright. Go ahead and laugh. But I think hippos are terrifying. Did you know they kill more people in Africa than any other wild animal?

8) I fear that I am out of things to say for this prompt! Kudos to you if you read this far. 🙂

***

Hope to be back in action with more posts and updates as soon as the internet is up.

Keep in touch!

W.

Check out previous Randomly Me posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7


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Randomly Me Monday: Volume Seven | 10 Day You Challenge

ten secrets

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Continuing the 10 Day You Challenge today with nine loves

1) Travel–Honestly, when I think of the one overriding love or passion in my life, traveling and exploring the world is the first thing to come to mind. There really isn’t anywhere on earth I wouldn’t love to explore. I am forever planning my next trip and dreaming about the new experiences I will encounter. It really doesn’t matter if it’s a road trip somewhere close or a trip halfway around the world: I am in! To get really specific, out of everywhere I have been, Scotland takes the cake as my favorite destination. I was only there a few days, but the breathtaking countryside and genuinely warm people burrowed their way deep into my heart and soul. I would love to live there one day.

2) Photography–I can still remember my first camera, a cheapo 110 film Kodak given to me by my grandparents when I was a young child. People have often told me how good my photographs are, but until a few years ago I never really saw it. Now I feel like my personal photography style and unique way of seeing the world is coming through in the photos I take. I still have a HUGE amount to learn about the art itself (and using my camera in manual mode), but I feel that this is what makes photography great–there is always room for learning and growing.

3) Arts and crafts–Ever since I was little I have loved making things with my hands. I cannot draw or paint for the life of me, but I love making jewelry, scrapbooking, and doing needlework. Now by no means am I fantastic at any of them (although I am pretty proud of some of my jewelry pieces), but I sure try! My dream job would be to work out of a home studio making something beautiful for the world to enjoy. And while it may not be an art or craft, I enjoy cooking and am looking forward to improving my talents (with my husband as guinea pig, of course!).

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