Girl Meets Bulgaria

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


Celebrating 27 in Sofia

Yesterday was my 27th birthday.

Side note-I don’t feel any older, but I am acutely aware now just how close 30 is. Society tells me that I should fear that number; the big 3-0. Yet, somehow, I foresee my 30’s being just as awesome, if not more so, than my 20’s. I suppose I’ll find out in 3 short years!

My day yesterday was calm, quiet, and rather uneventful. Vince and I ate breakfast together before he left for work (a trend that I think will continue as I can’t sleep in here for the life of me). I read a few chapters of my current book before starting work for the day.

We had plans to go into the city for dinner so I asked a few people for restaurant ideas. We eventually settled on Carolyn’s suggestion of Made in Home.

But let me back up a little…

We caught the Metro at the shiny new stop by our apartment. I am really quite impressed with Sofia’s subway lines. Sure, it was my first time riding on the system, but the trains were clean, the stations {mostly} modern and sparkling, tickets were easy to buy, and the stops are conveniently placed.

We were short on cash and definitely did not have enough to cover dinner, so upon exiting the Metro at the Sofia University stop, we wandered around looking for an ATM–Bulgaria is largely a cash economy. ATM’s are everywhere in Sofia, so we didn’t have to walk very far to find one. Unfortunately, I had forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to use my debit card to get cash out in Bulgaria. Both times I have been here before, I had a hell of a time finding an ATM that would work for me. I usually get the “card temporarily refused,”or “balance insufficient” errors. After trying about 4 machines, I remembered what my bank told me when I frantically called them last winter: ATMs in Bulgaria don’t usually have the option to choose to withdraw from checking OR savings. Apparently, when it comes to my debit card, they default to withdraw from savings. As much as I’d love be have lots of money in my savings account, I don’t generally transfer anything there from my checking.

After trying (and failing) at probably 15 ATMs along our walk to the restaurant, we eventually made it and asked if  they took credit cards.

No dice. Not surprised.

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Birthday Roses

I have, quite possibly, the sweetest  fiancé on the planet!

They are lovely!

Vince had these roses delivered to me at work on my birthday. Everyone was asking me if they were Bulgarian roses. Alas, they aren’t. They probably wouldn’t have been in very good shape if he had them shipped from BG!

What a stud.

Thanks, honey!



Quarter-Life Crisis

Today is my 25th birthday!

I haven’t been giving it much thought really, other than to use it to my advantage and beg for a Kindle (which I got! It’s awesome!).

After 16, birthdays have just been another day to me. However, this one seems to be a little more important.

Maybe it’s all the huge life changes over the past year as well as those looming on the horizon.

In 2010 I  graduated from college and  got engaged be married (still sounds weird to say). For 2011 I am planning a wedding and a move to Bulgaria (sounds beyond weird to say).

I am feeling a little more “adult” these days and coming face-to-face with the struggles and responsibilities that go along with it.

Maybe there is something to the “quarter-life crisis” theory.

Reading through the “Characteristics a quarter-life crisis may include”, I found that I have experienced a few-some which are a little embarrassing to admit:

  • nostalgia for university, college, high school, middle school or elementary school life
  • boredom with social interactions
  • financially-rooted stress (overwhelming college loans, unanticipatedly high cost of living, etc.)
  • desire to have children (this one has been particularly prominent as of late)
  • a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than oneself

While I am feeling a little insecure and unsure of the future, I also feel a sense of great hope and excitement. V. and I have a plan in place. And I-the ultimate list-maker and planner-am pretty stoked about that.

I think 25 is shaping up to be my best year yet!

I’ll close with this: 

I rent a room and I fill the spaces with

wood in places to make it feel like home
but all I feel’s alone
It might be a quarter life crisis
or just the stirring in my soul

Either way, I wonder sometimes
about the outcome
of a still verdictless life

Am I living it right?

Why Georgia-John Mayer


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Holy Cow

It’s November!

I love this month for many reasons: crunchy leaves on the ground, crisp fall air, Thanksgiving (and the yummy foods and treats that accompany it), and my birthday!

Fall is my favorite season by far. Utah is really beautiful this time of year. It is beautiful in every season, but especially in the fall.

Beautiful Salt Lake City

We had some crazy early snow fall in October, but nothing yet in November, thank goodness!

But not everything is pumpkin pie and whipped cream…

This month has brought more uncertainty to my move to Bulgaria.

Originally, the plan was to work in Alaska from May-September, get married in the U.S. in September, apply for a long stay Type-D Bulgarian visa, and move. End of story.

Now, however, V. has got a good job prospect in BG and we are rethinking working in Alaska. Good jobs are especially hard to come by in the town where he lives, so the news that he may be hired for a supervisor position with advancement potential  is great news.

Our situation is tough and we are having a hard time deciding what the best path is.

We have discussed applying for a fiancée visa for V. It’s the easiest option and he would be here in the U.S. not long after applying (and being approved, obviously).  But… I truly want to live in Bulgaria for at least a year. I want to get to know V’s family and friends. I want to learn the language. I want to travel the country and experience what Bulgaria is really like.

Ideally, I would like to stay there a couple of years, maybe even long enough to get citizenship.


I won’t ramble on anymore. I am working on a post about what I’ve learned so far about the different visas and the immigration process, watch for that.

For now, however, I am just going to enjoy November and send good vibes out into the universe and ask that things turn out how they are supposed to turn out.


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Kindle Envy

My 25th (gasp!) birthday is coming up next month and I have been thinking about what I may want as a present.

Kindle 3G

I’m not a kid anymore (HUGE revelation, right!), so obviously I don’t get lots of gifts (nor do I expect any). However, my Mom and other family members usually, and very generously, give me some cash.

More and more I have mulled over the idea of getting a Kindle. At first the thought of not having an actual book turned me off. I love the smell, the weight, the texture of the paper. I really thought that there was no way a flat, cold, plastic, rectangle could match the allure of a good old-fashioned hard back.

Now, after hearing only great things about the Kindle (e-readers in general, but particularly Amazon’s Kindle), I am almost convinced that I need one.

With the big move overseas rapidly approaching, I am thinking more and more about the things that I will want to pack and take with me. I have hundreds of books in my room and hundreds more in boxes in my basement. Obviously I can’t and don’t want to pack a bunch of book to Bulgaria. But I still want to be able to read when and where I want to. And because I don’t know yet where I will be living-Sofia has bookstores with English language books, however the smaller villages probably won’t-I think the Kindle is a great idea. Plus, most books downloads are $9.99 or less, you really can’t beat that!

Today I was comparing the two models I am considering, the Kindle Wi-Fi and the Kindle 3G. I would love to go with the cheaper model (the $139 Wi-Fi version), but the $189 version boasts free 3G and global wireless coverage.

Another great thing about the Kindle (and other e-readers) is that I can download over 1 million, out-of-copyright, pre 1923 titles for FREE! How awesome would it be to have access to all of Jane Austen’s works in one place?

Ok, so I think I have officially talked myself into one! Guess I’ll have to wait until next month to what the Birthday Fairies bring me!